The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Seth Kaufman
To celebrate their return to major labeldom in 1989, the Mekons did what any self-respecting band of former punks would do: They bit the hand that fed them, delivering an album that delved into their ambivalence about rock 'n' roll. Although the likes of Frank Zappa and Negativland have taken potshots at rock's complex machinery, no one has matched the tunefully exuberant and poetic deconstruction that is Mekons Rock 'N' Roll. This is frat rock for grad students: intriguing, fascinating, and fun. The anthemic album opener, "Memphis, Egypt" -- the very title evokes the cradle of rock civilization -- is a triumphant, conflicted manifesto on rock as a business, a ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Seth Kaufman
To celebrate their return to major labeldom in 1989, the Mekons did what any self-respecting band of former punks would do: They bit the hand that fed them, delivering an album that delved into their ambivalence about rock 'n' roll. Although the likes of Frank Zappa and Negativland have taken potshots at rock's complex machinery, no one has matched the tunefully exuberant and poetic deconstruction that is Mekons Rock 'N' Roll. This is frat rock for grad students: intriguing, fascinating, and fun. The anthemic album opener, "Memphis, Egypt" -- the very title evokes the cradle of rock civilization -- is a triumphant, conflicted manifesto on rock as a business, a corrupting social force, and a source of inspiration. Subsequent songs touch on sex, cocaine, censorship, and politics, but rock is always just a simile or metaphor away. In "Amnesia," a song that references slavery, drug wars, Eric Burdon, and the Shining Path, rock is the soundtrack to war as Jon Langford sings about "wah wah throbbing heavy artillery" and "Led Zeppelin heavy metal marine corps." And even "Club Mekon," a song about a decadent night spot, gets in a dig, calling sex "a commodity, to be bought and sold like rock 'n' roll." Still, the Mekons can't help embracing their chosen art form. Casting aside previous flirtations with country and dub, they swaddle dark lyrics in sing-along choruses, roots-flavored power chords, and snaking violin lines. Rock 'N' Roll may not have been a great career move -- the band was soon dropped from their label, A&M -- but it stands as one of the truly great rock records of the '80s.
All Music Guide - John Dougan
Asking a Mekons fan to select a favorite Mekons record is crazy -- there isn't one; there are many. But, if the situation were such that a choice had to be made, this might be the record. Loud, unruly guitars, pissed-off vocals -- the Mekons have made an unregenerate, unapologetic punk rock record. This is a dark record, one that comfortably negotiates the dark recesses of rock & roll. They rip the messianic aspirations of U2's Bono "Blow Your Tuneless Trumpet", sing a tale of substance abuse that is both cautionary and parodic "Cocaine Lil", all the while cranking up a sonic tar pit of guitar noise. Bands this far on in a career, generally speaking, don't make records this good. But The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll is one of those cathartic records that only righteously indignant, justifiably pissed-off, grizzled veterans could make. Sadly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it sold next to nothing and precipitated the band's departure from A&M, who didn't want to release another record like this one.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/24/2001
  • Label: Collector's Choice
  • UPC: 617742020120
  • Catalog Number: 201

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Memphis Egypt (3:35)
  2. 2 Club Mekon (3:28)
  3. 3 Only Darkness Has the Power (3:27)
  4. 4 Ring O'Roses (4:07)
  5. 5 Learning to Live on Your Own (4:36)
  6. 6 Cocaine Lil (2:49)
  7. 7 Empire of the Senseless (4:35)
  8. 8 Someone (2:44)
  9. 9 Amnesia (4:25)
  10. 10 I Am Crazy (3:26)
  11. 11 Heaven and Back (3:16)
  12. 12 Blow Your Tuneless Trumpet (3:56)
  13. 13 Echo (4:31)
  14. 14 When Darkness Falls (3:53)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Mekons Primary Artist
John Gill Melodeon
Steve Goulding Drums
Jon Langford Synthesizer, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Sally Timms Vocals
Rico Bell Accordion, Background Vocals
Technical Credits
The Mekons Producer
Ian Caple Producer, Engineer
Gordon Anderson Executive Producer
C. Stewart Sleeve Coordinator
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Mekons pick up punk torch

    The Mekons released the best album the Clash never recorded with The Mekons Rock 'n' Roll. A bruised beauty of a disc that leads you down darkened alleyways and through life's shadows to a rock club where angels check their wings at the door and desire, death, drugs, sex and the human spirit take turns as your dance partner until dawn breaks, blood red and beckoning.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews