Album Review: The Damned – “So, Who’s Paranoid?”

I listened to two new albums today.  Anti-Flag’s new album, “American Spring” and a new album by The Damned called, “So, Who’s Paranoid.”  I’ve never been a fan of The Damned, not that I hated them, I just never really chose to listen to them.  While Anti-Flag’s album was solid, “So, Who’s Paranoid?” by The Damned was surprisingly one of the best albums I’ve listened to this year and probably one of their best albums as well.

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The Damned is one of those bands that is constantly changing their sound.  With many bands, that can be a terrible thing, but for an iconic band like this, I think it’s the right move. Other pioneering punk bands of their era, like The Ramones (who I love) changed their sound slightly, but for the most part remained constant. What you end up getting is a discography of albums that rock, but sound the same.  Not with The Damned. This album exemplifies the successful evolution of an ageing, yet legendary punk band.

The ghoulishly gothic vocals are in full effect on this album, starting strong with “A Nation Fit For Heroes.”  I was expecting to turn this album on and have it turned off in less than a minute, but the dark new wave sound of this song had me hooked.  Fully loaded with a rocking keyboard and corny rock guitar solos, this song kept that rare balance of being awesome, while slightly cheesy.

Perhaps my favorite song on the record “Under the Wheels” is a must listen.  Another song that sounds like it could be awful for the first 30 seconds, before the insanely catchy chorus hits you.  I found myself listening to this song multiple times today, singing it with a gigantic shit-eating grin.

The entire album is strong from start to finish. For an album with 16 songs, this is impressive.  Dave Vanian’s vocals on the album almost remind me of Jyrki 69 of 69 Eyes, but not entirely.

If you’ve never been a fan of The Damned, I urge you toss your opinions aside and check out this album.  I was like you.  Today I am forever a changed man.

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