Posted by: Andy | April 24, 2008

95% albums: Operation Ivy – Energy

Is there an image better known in punk rock than this one? (Ok, maybe this one – man that reminds me, I have a magazine cover print of that somewhere without the album lettering on it. Man is that awesome! Gotta find it).

Well, the two are 10 years apart (79-89), so they might as well just represent different generations of punk/ska/fuckers, which is all good. Hmm, that begs the question of what would be the ’99 equivalent? Out Come the Wolves is ’98, but that image isn’t nearly as used. I’m not sure what to say here, thoughts from the peanut gallery? What was the *THE* punk cover image of the late 90s? So there has to be some level of popularity involved here, no uber obscure cd that you swear is the second coming.

Anyway, back to the message at hand. An album with a rating of 95% (or more) – Energy (even the bonus tracks added later keep up to the standard of quality). It’s at least 95, maybe higher – the whole thing is surprisingly consistent. Obviously it’s a given that you have to enjoy this kind of music so if you don’t it will probably just sound like shite. Hey, to each its own.

Op Ivy is probably the most influential punk bank of my generation – even though I didn’t get into them until years after they broke up (I think I first heard them and got the CD in ’95 or ’96. Possibly ’94, but I’m leaning towards later), I’m still proud to have them as part of my generation’s musical chunk. Sure, the Clash was still making music in ’86, and the Ramones were going at least until the early 00s, but I count them as the previous chunk.

It doesn’t hurt that two of the members (Tim Armstrong & Matt Freeman) went on to form Rancid, another of my favorite bands. Or that another (Jesse Michaels) went on to form Big Rig (whose ep I still haven’t tracked down) and Common Rider, which I really like. Anyway, here’s three tracks (The Crowd, Healthy Body & Big City) to check out, if you like ’em and somehow haven’t got the cd – track it down.

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Responses

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I would say, however, it’s more like a 99% record. I drew that guy/logo on more things than I can remember during my highschool years.
    They just re-released/remastered the record too- I haven’t heard it, but I doubt there is (or could be) much difference in the mixes.
    I really hate most things ska-related (except OPIV and The Specials), but I will go to my grave loving this record. The first Common Rider record is excellent (haven’t heard the 2nd), and Rancid is, of course, borderline infallible. What are your thoughts on Indestructible?

  2. On Indestructible: It’s a good album, I can listen to it all the way through and enjoy it without skipping any songs.

    BUT – I don’t like “David Courtney”…it sounds like a Lars song – he should keep those to his own albums (I have the first two…I rarely listen to them because I rarely want anything that simple, but sometimes its good). Ok, now that I think about it, I think I’d prefer if Lars just didn’t do lead vocals …keep that to his own band as well. I like the ska/punk/reggae fusion version of Rancid, and all Lars seems to bring is straight punk. Although Brown Derby Jacket (or whatever it was called) off the second self titled was a good song.

    Django is a bit repetitive. Travis Bickle is kinda meh.

  3. I’m not particularly a fan of Indestructible, in fact, it’s the only Rancid record I don’t own. Most of the songs I’ve heard aren’t that bad, to be fair, but the one they played on the radio (“Red Hot Moon” IIRC) bummed me out so much, it dropped off my list. Plus Kelly Osbourne and some Good Charlottes were in the video I think.
    The second self-titled (which I refer to as “RancidRancidRancid”) is fantastic, IMO, and the only one where Lars’ songs don’t sound out of place. “…And Out Come The Wolves” is far and away the sentimental favorite though.
    It’s a bummer their old drummer quit. He wasn’t a great drummer, but at least he wasn’t in The Used.

  4. I did not intend for that emoticon to be there. Sorry.

  5. Hah.
    Live in the emoticon world man, feeeeel it!

    I avoid the radio like the plague (except Sirius Satellite radio…that was ok when we had it free) because it beats the shit out of anything that might be good. For the most part – although the stations up here definitely are not the worst I’ve heard for this. ie sometimes they 3 “rock” stations are ok.

    Wolves is definitely my favorite as well – although it has Maxwell Murder on it, which I can’t stand for some reason (maybe it’s another Lars song! I wasn’t cognizant that there were two songwriters at that point…that would explain it.). Much of this probably has to do with nostalgia – this album just came at the *right* time for me.

    I think that quality wise though, Life Won’t Wait is at least as good as Wolves, if much more varied. Let’s Go is also just plain brilliant. Those 3 must be in the running for best 3-in-a-row albums or something.

    The first self titled is good too, but nothing special.

    RX3 as you call it – I like that one a lot better than I thought I would, what with its more straightforward punk pedigree and all.

    Tim is definitely getting a lot more “mainstream” these days…probably some kind of punk godfather type role akin to the Ramones/Joe Strummer late life thing maybe? Unfortunately, I suspect he hangs out with tools – as you imply with the bit about Kelly Oz in a video. I did not know that. I know he wrote a song for Pink (whom I would much prefer to baby Oz) and I’m pretty sure he’s done some other crossover writing and producing.

    I guess the question is, do we get all claimy and bitter when people crossover? “He sold out! whine whine nyah nyah!” I don’t want to be one of those people.

    Some video footage I’ve seen of him in the last 5 years or so (some concert footage I saw somewhere) has made me think he may have become a bit of an ego-puffed tool in his old age. I hope not.

  6. I really don’t care about the whole “selling out” thing, generally, but Rancid did make a HUGE deal about turning down “millions” from Sony around the time of AOCTW. It ended up seeming like a bit of a cash grab when they signed to Warners and started writing Pink songs or whatever. But, really, it doesn’t bother me that much.
    Another note: the only radio station I listen to is http://www.indie103.fm
    It’s local down here, and I stream it on my computer at work- you might like it. Mostly really good music interspersed with enough hipster rock to keep me connected to the blog world. Yes, there are commercials, but you can imagine you live in LA when you’re listening to them.

  7. […] I’d put this album on par with Energy as near-perfect, well past 95%, 98% even – beyond that I can’t fine tune it. In some ways […]


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