10 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Album producer (and future music-biz mogul) David Kahne smoothed over Red Rockers' anarchic riffs and dog-eared edges with airy, reverb-heavy mixes; he took songwriting credits too. In 1983, this got the band on radio and MTV and played in big-city dance clubs. Everything came together on Red Rockers' lone hit, “China”: a strangely invincible and yearning pop tune with a lilting and linear guitar line, soaring vocal, and looming drums. Then “’Til It All Falls Down” hits the funk and comes across like Yankee kids imitating The Clash imitating old-school New York hip-hop acts. The title tune finds the band mocking their own rising fortunes—complete with a faraway spaghetti western whistle—thus revealing the inner conflict. It shows an earnest quartet who could’ve been America’s most important rock band that year (there wasn’t much competition, and listen to “Fanfare for Metropolis”) working toward a hit record while struggling to hold onto their punk rock identity. It’s the kind of conflict that’s rarely this hummable or danceable.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Album producer (and future music-biz mogul) David Kahne smoothed over Red Rockers' anarchic riffs and dog-eared edges with airy, reverb-heavy mixes; he took songwriting credits too. In 1983, this got the band on radio and MTV and played in big-city dance clubs. Everything came together on Red Rockers' lone hit, “China”: a strangely invincible and yearning pop tune with a lilting and linear guitar line, soaring vocal, and looming drums. Then “’Til It All Falls Down” hits the funk and comes across like Yankee kids imitating The Clash imitating old-school New York hip-hop acts. The title tune finds the band mocking their own rising fortunes—complete with a faraway spaghetti western whistle—thus revealing the inner conflict. It shows an earnest quartet who could’ve been America’s most important rock band that year (there wasn’t much competition, and listen to “Fanfare for Metropolis”) working toward a hit record while struggling to hold onto their punk rock identity. It’s the kind of conflict that’s rarely this hummable or danceable.

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