Circle Jerks - Oddities, Abnormalities, and Curiosities (Cover Artwork)

Circle Jerks

Oddities, Abnormalities, and Curiosities (1995)


Grease Only

Once regarded as hardcore pioneers, in the late 80's the Circle Jerks seemed to fade away along with every other great band from their era. They released 2 albums, 1985's Wonderful and 1987's VI, to poor reviews, and with that seemed to disappear completely off the radar, except for a few 10th anniversary shows that were later released as the live Gig album in 1992. Then came the neo-punk explosion of the mid-90's thanks to bands like Green Day and the Offspring. It is doubtful anyone really knew, or even cared that around this time, the Circle Jerks had been back together working on new material. They were quickly picked up by Mercury records to record their major label debut Oddities, Abnormalities, and Curiosities.

At the time, the record made few waves. Aside from a video for their cover of the Soft Boys' classic "I Want to Destroy You" and a short clip on the cult favorite Beavis and Butthead show, the record made little noise. Many were expecting a return to form for the Circle Jerks; after all, they had 8 years to rest. Instead, fans were offered 12 low-fi slow-tempo rock songs. While the punker-than-thou crowd will dismiss the album as a pathetic attempt to cash in, it should be viewed as a breath of fresh air. It isn't necessarily an original sound, but they managed to bring punk rock full circle with this record, or as I like to say "back to the garage." I'm reminded of other albums like the Stooges 1973 classic Raw Power which is viewed by many as the quintessential garage rock album, and by others as one of the first "true" punk records. Like Raw Power, Oddities... is full of blazing guitars, thundering drums and ear-piercing screams, and while it isn't entirely slam dance worthy like their earlier albums, any real fan should appreciate this as a true punk rock piece of art. Circle Jerks fans, who remembered the band for their short street anthems and sarcastic political songs of the early 80's seem to forget that in 1995 when this record was recorded, Reagan wasn't in the white house. Sure, things weren't perfect politically, but the Circle Jerks weren't known for their political dissent. They sang about everything. They were the party band, and on Oddities it shows.

Mercury dropped the Circle Jerks after this record, and put it out of print, making it nearly impossible to find, even in second hand record stores. Your best bet is to see them live. Yes, in 2001 the Circle Jerks reunited to tour the country again. While most of their set is older material, they jokingly refer to the 2 or 3 songs they play off Oddities... as "new stuff....from 8 years ago." So if you call your self a punk rock fan, do yourself a favor and find a copy of this brand new, 8-year-old record.