Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nailed to the X: five classic straight-edge anthems

Posted By on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 9:47 AM

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Kevin Seconds, frontman for long-running Reno hardcore band 7 Seconds, plays an early matinee the Replay patio this Saturday in Lawrence. He's playing solo acoustic -- which is amazing -- but, it would've been 100 times more fantastic to have gotten to see the hardcore legends, especially since they're celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. In honor of Mr. Seconds being the oldest straight-edge gentleman I've ever met: here are five classic straight edge anthems.

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The first song on any list of songs about living clean has to be Minor Threat's "Straight Edge." "Out of Step" might have laid out the rules of abstaining from drugs, alcohol, smoking, and promiscuous sex. However, "Straight Edge" gave the movement its name and its philosphy: I'm a person just like you / But I've got better things to do / Than sit around and fuck my head / Hang out with the living dead.

We'd also be remiss if we didn't include 7 Seconds' "Young 'Til I Die." It's a song that equates drinking with getting old and losing hope, and for anyone who's ever had to go to work (or, really do anything) with a hangover, I'd rather work from 9 to 5 / Than drink to stay alive sounds an appealing option. Drinking = getting old = no fun.

If there were ever a band to epitomize straight-edge youth crew hardcore, it'd be Youth of Today. Their song, "Thinking Straight," has breakdowns by the score, and rationalizes that they can resist drugs because their minds are clean enough to resist drugs. Circular logic, yes, but a strong point, in that once you start messing around, it's hard to say no.

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While Earth Crisis' "The Discipline" might have lyrics that read like post-graduate work towards a doctorate in philosophy, it's as cogent an argument for clear thinking as ever put to music. The key to self liberation is abstinence from the destructive escapism of

intoxication not only manages to be logical; it also rhymes.

Earth Crisis also went a step beyond the usual "no drugs or drinking or promiscuous fucking" delineation, and included veganism as a trait of straight-edge, arguing that eating meat harms animals and ties you into a corporate profit system. Heady music that you can throw down to.

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Lastly, while most folks consider Good Clean Fun a joke band, "Coll-Edge" sums up a situation I saw over and over when I went to college. There were five or six straight-edge kids in my dorm, all X'd up at every show, but by the time they were 21, they were debating the relative merits of different beers with me. It's easy to be edge when it's illegal to buy beer, but it certainly gets harder once you can walk into any store and pick some up.

To those who've managed to avoid the perils of liquor, our livers salute you. You're a stronger bunch than we.


Home page image via Flickr: Hooligan Abby

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