Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dead Kennedys

Plastic Surgery Disasters (1982)

Alternative Tentacles

There is no doubt that Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables is the go-to classic Dead Kennedy’s record. The album was filled with pure musical and lyrical genius. It was very aggressive, serious and politically aware. While the band’s 1982 follow-up Plastic Surgery Disasters was just as much of a hardcore classic, you can absolutely tell that they decided to have a little more fun and let loose, while still being their politically conscience and sarcastic selves.

The Dead Kennedys took a bit of a different approach to the songs in the album. They mixed and matched different genres into their overall hardcore sound. They started this record out (and ended it) with them making this cacophony behind the voice of what can only be described as this Orwellian robot. And then immediately the fun began with the bluesy introduction to “Government Flu.” Even the bass line in “Forest Fire” seemed to be taken from early jazz. East Bay Rays guitar work truly shined on Plastic Surgery Disasters because of his ability to mash different styes of playing together. In tracks like “Bleed For Me,” “I Am Owl” and the pro-environment anthem “Moon Over Marin” he mastered the ability to incorporate punk/hardcore with surf guitar riffs.

When it came to Jello Biafra’s vocals and lyrics in Plastic Surgery Disasters, he was just as fierce and aggressive as he was in Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables. In this record though, you could tell that he added more histrionics to his vocals whether it be is creepy and sadistic side in “Forest Fire" or his snotty and sarcastic side in “Terminal Preppie,” but this album is also where you heard his signature vibrato. Lyrically Plastic Surgery Disasters covered quite a bit of ground from environmental issues, “social regulations” as the band puts it in “Halloween,” hating on yuppies, distrust of government and a lot more.

Of course later 1981’s In God We Trust Inc. would later be added to Plastic Surgery Disasters making it an even wider-ranging album in general. But even to this day the original 1982 version still stands on its own as one of the greatest hardcore albums of all time by one of the greatest punk bands of all time — a true classic.