Saturday, May 5, 2012

Song of the day: Black Flag - Rise Above

Black Flag were the leaders in the Southern California hardcore scene. They played an aggresive form of punk rock. Originally called Panic, Black Flag had gone through several lead singers through their career, including Keith Morris (later of Circle Jerks and now leading the band OFF!), Dez Cadena (currently in The Misfits), and Ron Reyes. Greg Ginn was the primary songwriter and the band had released a few EPs with these singers. It wasn't until Dez Cadena had strained his voice and later went on to play guitar for Black Flag, they looked into fan and SOA member, Henry Rollins from the east coast to join the band. Rollins friend (and Minor Threat lead singer) Ian McKaye encouraged Rollins to join the band, and Rollins acted as roadie and later learned the songs Black Flag had written. On their debut album, Damaged, they chose to record it to sound more live than the previous EPs they had done with Cadena, Morris, and Reyes. Rollins brought in a whole new set of dynamics and he was a far better stage performer. What separated Damaged from other punk and hardcore records at the time was Rollins stage presence on record and Ginn's lyrics. Instead of just anger and nihilism, they had a sense of humor mixed with more personal lyrics. The album kicks off with the anthem Rise Above. The lyrics are above overcoming adversity and standing up for yourself despite the odds. An amazing song with a great message. Damaged has been named as one of the best albums ever, especially in the hardcore genre. Henry Rollins remains to this day as one of the best frontmen ever, through Black Flag to Rollins Band, he has always been himself, intense, personal, emotional, and pure. To this day this song remains a classic. Here it is in all it's glory, along with a great live version and the lyrics.

Rise Above:
 Live version:

Lyrics:
Jealous cowards try to control
Rise above
We're gonna rise above
They distort what we say
Rise above
We're gonna rise above
Try and stop what we do
Rise above
When they can't do it themselves

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us it's no use
Society's arms of control
Rise above
We're gonna rise above
Think they're smart
Can't think for themselves
Rise above
We're gonna rise above
Laugh at us
Behind our backs
I find satisfaction
In what they lack

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us it's no use

We are born with a chance
Rise above
We're gonna rise above
I am gonna have my chance
Rise above
We're gonna rise above

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us it's no use

Rise above
Rise above
Rise above
We're gonna rise above
We're gonna rise above
We're gonna rise above

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