11 Songs, 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The MC5’s second studio album didn’t bulge at the seams with the raw proto-punk power of its 1969 debut, Kick Out the Jams. But there’s a deeper magic working its way throughout 1970’s Back in the USA. Here, the band soaked up the soul, doo-wop, and R&B coming out of its Detroit home and blasted it out from towering amplifiers. It opens with a supercharged cover of “Tutti-Frutti,” giving the tune more muscle than even Little Richard could. The band's own “Tonight” melds '50s jukebox-inspired riffs with lyrics of teen angst. Speaking of teen tension, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rock ‘n’ roll song that better channels the burning urgency of adolescent libidos than “Teenage Lust.” It conveys the palpable yearning for carnal indulgence even better than The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction”—so much, that the only way to follow up the song’s climactic ending was with the smoldering soul ballad “Let Me Try,” where Rob Tyner’s voice serves as a reminder that he was raised on the emotional music coming out of Motown. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The MC5’s second studio album didn’t bulge at the seams with the raw proto-punk power of its 1969 debut, Kick Out the Jams. But there’s a deeper magic working its way throughout 1970’s Back in the USA. Here, the band soaked up the soul, doo-wop, and R&B coming out of its Detroit home and blasted it out from towering amplifiers. It opens with a supercharged cover of “Tutti-Frutti,” giving the tune more muscle than even Little Richard could. The band's own “Tonight” melds '50s jukebox-inspired riffs with lyrics of teen angst. Speaking of teen tension, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rock ‘n’ roll song that better channels the burning urgency of adolescent libidos than “Teenage Lust.” It conveys the palpable yearning for carnal indulgence even better than The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction”—so much, that the only way to follow up the song’s climactic ending was with the smoldering soul ballad “Let Me Try,” where Rob Tyner’s voice serves as a reminder that he was raised on the emotional music coming out of Motown. 

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