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Let It Burn (Because I Don't Live There Anymore)

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Album Review

Let It Burn marked Greg Ginn's third solo release in less than a year, following an extended period away from the spotlight to run his SST, Cruz, and New Alliance labels. (Only figures like Frank Zappa approach such prolific drive.) As is true of his other solo albums (Getting Even, Dick), the emphasis is on raw, angular noise that sneaks up and steps on your expectations. Ginn's songwriting remains preoccupied with personal freedom and the ways people betray each other. A resigned misanthropy hangs over tracks like "Drifting Away" ("If you want the truth, you'll have to wait for that"), and "I Don't Want It" ("I can't stand the waiting anymore/I need you like a hole in the head"). "On a Roll" fires off an edgy declaration of intent, while the guitars sputter and snarl underneath the rhythm ("I don't wanna think I'm wasting away"). There's no love or escapism here. Ginn naturally vents his paint-peeling instrumental side. "Lame Hollywood Cop" is punked-out hip-hop driven by shuddering guitars and ferociously slapped bass. Ginn plays with a similarly percussive slant on "Military Destroys Mind/Body." "Exiled From Lame Street," on the other hand, effectively flicks between low rider-style funk and a stoner's crawl to make its mournful point — with plenty of squawking leads to match. On the minus side, this album's not as distinctive as other Ginn offerings. A nagging sameness dogs the arrangements — "Lame" pops up in three titles — and Ginn's vocals are workmanlike at best (when you can hear them). Students of the rapid-fire, dirty-bottomed guitar chunk that characterized his Black Flag days will probably appreciate Let It Burn most; otherwise, stick with Getting Even.


Born: 08 June 1954 in Tuscon, AZ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Unquestionably the most influential guitarist to emerge from the late-'70s/early-'80s U.S. hardcore/punk movement was Black Flag's Greg Ginn. Never afraid to incorporate other musical styles into his playing (namely jazz fusion and Black Sabbathy heavy metal), as well as squealing feedback from his amplifier, Ginn's guitar also served as a defining ingredient in the Black Flag sound as he was the only member to remain in the group from its formation until its demise. Influenced equally by the Grateful...
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