Black Flag - Slip It In (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Black Flag

Slip It In (1984)


Black Flag's 1984 album Slip It In is the most varied/diverse of their career. It features almost every different style of playing the band experimented with both before and after. It's definitely, like most Black Flag albums, a classic and a landmark for independent music. The band successfully tinkers with everything from sludgy "pre-grunge" metal, hardcore punk, and thrash to blues rock and jazz. The best and only thorough way to sum up an album this diverse would be a "track-by-track" summary of the entire thing.

Opening the album with a blast is the classic title track "Slip It In," a punk metal masterpiece often unfairly seen as sexist, when in reality it's quite the opposite. Greg Ginn's lyrics are raunchy and angry, but the song is more about people and their choices than anything else. One member of the band once described it as something along the lines of "why is it that only guys can openly express their enjoyment of promiscuous sex without being labeled 'sluts?'" It's also important to add that Greg Ginn's guitar playing on this track is incredible; his maturity between this album and their earlier work is very noticeable.

Immediately following "Slip It In" is yet another punk rock classic: "Black Coffee," a brutal hardcore punk anthem about jealousy and paranoia (no, it's about coffee). Next are the Rollins written songs "Wound Up," a depressing and effective song about social alienation and rejection, and "Rat's Eyes," which is played in a creepy style similar to what would later be used on the In My Head album. At the middle point of the album there is an instrumental track called "Obliteration," which again highlights Ginn's impressive musical growth as it mashes sludge and jazz into an ominous hybrid.

Next we have another Rollins written track called "The Bars" in which Henry rages against "...the prison behind my eyes!," the feeling at times of wanting to escape from one's own self. "My Ghetto" is a unique track, completely thrashing at blinding speed from beginning to end like a trainwreck; the lyrics are effective and it's a nice change of pace. Rounding off the album is one of my personal favorites, "You're Not Evil," an incredible song musically. The band plays with wild tempo changes and chilling backing vocals (contributed by both Ginn and Dukowski, who DOES NOT play bass on the album).

With Slip It In, Henry, Greg, Bill and Kira attempted the impossible (create an album that is musically "all over the place" that works) and delivered the goods efficiently.