Rude Kids

The Worst of the Rude Kids: A Pardonless Collection

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The Rude Kids became the first Swedish punks to sign a major-label deal -- earning a place beside the Jam on Polydor Records. However, the band's notoriety stemmed from two singles on this compilation (whose title stems from the band's description of its music). "Raggare Is a Bunch of Motherfuckers" blasts reactionary Teddy Boy gangs that wrecked punk gigs, while "Stranglers (If It's So Quiet, Why Don't You Play?)" chides the English rockers for touring Sweden after releasing a song that criticized the Kids' homeland. The latter singles -- and Safe Society album -- reveal an energetic if somewhat club-footed outfit confident enough to sing in fractured English. Such quirks actually bolster the gleeful irreverence of "Shit Magazine," "Mr. Star," or "Absolute Ruler," which lashes the home fans for dismissing their major-label affiliations. Comparisons to the Ramones and the Sex Pistols seem inevitable, although the early tracks sound less polished than either band, if that seems imaginable. (A cover of "Friggin' in the Riggin'," from the Pistols' Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle movie, even pops up among several tracks taken from Swedish radio broadcasts!) Such comparisons become less applicable when selections from the 1981 mini-album, 1984 Is Here to Stay: Refuse It!, enter the picture. Songs like "Too Young? Too Old!" and "Youth of Today" are slower, but no less bumptious than the earlier fare. The Rude Kids had long shed their punk roots by the time of their 1983 breakup, following its vocalist's death in a car crash. Yet, in a country best known for exporting ABBA's glossy ear candy, the Kids' unapologetic recordings had already earned them a notch among their better-known peers, which is sufficient reason to track down this reissue.

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