14 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Hawthorne, Calif.–based Redd Kross, headed by brothers Steve and Jeff McDonald, masterfully jammed a wacky array of cultural obsessions into an ahead-of-its-time confection of joyful pop-glam, ironic sing-song, and backward-gazing hullaballoo. Booming counter-harmonies and bubblegum power chords uphold nods to mutant Afros, sugar cereal brains, and SoCal showbiz kids (Mackenzie Phillips, Tatum O’Neal). And from the hair-flying title song to the beach-punk “Janus, Jeanie, and George Harrison” (picture a mix of The Simpletones and Cheap Trick) to the anti-entropy thrasher “Not a Lot to Say” (“A nose is for snot/And baby it’s not/For a straw or dollar bill”) to the Hollywood trash blast of “Peach Kelli Pop,” there’s not a bum verse or chorus here. The songs are so inescapable that it’s no wonder many ’90s rock stars have gone on record over the years saying this album changed their lives. There wasn’t an album of the era that better celebrated its time and place.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Hawthorne, Calif.–based Redd Kross, headed by brothers Steve and Jeff McDonald, masterfully jammed a wacky array of cultural obsessions into an ahead-of-its-time confection of joyful pop-glam, ironic sing-song, and backward-gazing hullaballoo. Booming counter-harmonies and bubblegum power chords uphold nods to mutant Afros, sugar cereal brains, and SoCal showbiz kids (Mackenzie Phillips, Tatum O’Neal). And from the hair-flying title song to the beach-punk “Janus, Jeanie, and George Harrison” (picture a mix of The Simpletones and Cheap Trick) to the anti-entropy thrasher “Not a Lot to Say” (“A nose is for snot/And baby it’s not/For a straw or dollar bill”) to the Hollywood trash blast of “Peach Kelli Pop,” there’s not a bum verse or chorus here. The songs are so inescapable that it’s no wonder many ’90s rock stars have gone on record over the years saying this album changed their lives. There wasn’t an album of the era that better celebrated its time and place.

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