The Queers - Don't Back Down (Cover Artwork)

The Queers

Don't Back Down (1996)


New Hampshire's own gross-out, dumbed down punk heroes, Joe Queer, B-Face & Hugh O'Neill, a.k.a. the Queers, oddly enough actually reach a musical pinnacle with the release of "Don't Back Down," their seventh with Lookout Records. (On a sad note, "Don't Back Down" marks the Queers' last effort with drummer Hugh O'Neill, who died of brain cancer on January 21, 1999.)

In my humbled opinion (yep, it's gotta be humbled if I must admit that I listen to the Queers) "Don't Back Down" encapsulates everything musically good about the Queers, even if some of these songs sound pretty much the same.

Musically, the Queers are a blend of the Ramones and the Beach Boys, but probably much more ornery, sloppy and banal. Imagine if Green Day got more sloppy with their songs and inserted lyrics like "Shut your stupid fat mouth and hang up those guitars, Quit beating off every night and smoking those cigars." Then you'd be somewhat closer to understanding.

You get the snotty, sardonic, biting, witless humor found on most Queers albums from fast screeds like "No Tit" and "I'm O.K. You're Fucked." Yup, words like "She's flat as a board but I just don't care, No Tit, No Tit..." are self-explanatory. But some of that dark humor could serve some purpose: If you're ever just pissed beyond reason and sarcasm, you might relate to words like: "You go mental and you suck, I'm O.K. You're fucked!" Finally, "Brush Your Teeth" is the Queers at their ornery angiest, bursting with laughable-to-near pathetic vituperatives: "I'd love to punch you in the face, I'd love to beat the brat, I'd really like to fuck you, but your ass is fat."

Aside from the dark humor, "Don't Back Down" also sports some tender moments, to take it down a notch for the ladies. Their fun-in-the-sun cover of Brian Wilson's "Don't Back Down" takes you to the Queers' "happy place." Another musical gem, "I Can't Get Over You," a cute, poppy duet featuring Joe Queer with Lisa Marr, mixes sugarly, "la la la" vocals with toned-down guitars. Also Joe Queer puts out a few more tender love ballads such as "I Always Knew" and Hondells cover "Sidewalk Surfin' Girl."

Nonetheless, the Ramones influence, while noticable pretty much everywhere on "Don't Back Down," reflects most brilliantly on such Queers songs like "I Only Drink Bud," and the cutesy "Punk Rock Girls." "I Only Drink Bud," (a song title seemingly self-explanatory of what you'd expect) churns out a moderately sloppy, clap-along, chug-along, sing-along.

So in summation, you get the dare-to-be-stupid punk songs that make you want to buy and listen to a Queers album, and you get the more musically poppy (and possibly more stylistically pronounced) songs that might actually make you want to continue listening to a Queers album.

Oh, the convenient amalgamation! Or simply "The Shit-acular!" Strongly Recommended.