100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s #63 Fugazi – Waiting Room

Released : 1989

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off”.

Minor Threat’s dissolution in 1983 led to it’s former singer Ian Mackaye searching for an outlet which would match his idea of giving way to no compromise: Fugazi, in which he would eventually share vocal duties with Guy Picciotto, became the vehicle which ensured that hardcore’s values outlasted it’s limited construct.

Fugazi succeeded a number of bands who’d already had this realisation of built in musical obsolescence – Black Flag, Minutemen, Dead Kennedys and Hüsker Dü had also evolved rapidly away from speed and simplicity – but Mackaye’s blank slate had no baggage, no old songs or physical scars to think about and thus less fan and peer pressure to contend with.

Waiting Room had the advantage of utilising the platform made up of college radio, public access TV, tape swapping networks, indie record shops which Fugazi’s predecessors had built through sweat, tears and a fair amount of blood. But it also sounded amazing, the rolling, loose limbed bass of Joe Lally versus the drumskin-tight guitar buzz, the vocals like high school jocks chanting at a kegger, except the words were about conscious rejection of the decade’s obsession with materialism. In blissful ignorance at the time of it’s release, Mackaye couldn’t possibly have known that via this and other songs, his band would become so many people’s lives.




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