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Adult Books

Composed by Exene Cervenka / John Doe

Song Review by

"Adult Books" was an early X live favorite, eventually landing on the flip of their Dangerhouse single "We're Desperate" in late 1978, but it didn't appear on an album until 1981's Wild Gift, in a slightly cleaned-up version that weakens some of the song's DIY charm. Exene Cervenka and John Doe sing the lyrics with palpable distaste, as if they find not only the idea of pornography, but the idea of sex itself, to be kind of icky, but the song has probably the best chorus of any of their early material, with a killer Billy Zoom stutter-step guitar riff that locks in with D.J. Bonebrake's martial drumming behind Cervenka and Doe's slightly petulant chanting. It's needling and more than a little snotty, qualities to be appreciated in early punk, but in comparison to the darker and more wide-ranging material they wrote later, "Adult Books" is just slightly juvenile.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Los Angeles 1980
X
Slash / Rhino 3:21
Wild Gift 1981
X
Rhino / Slash 3:19
Los Angeles/Wild Gift 1988
X
Slash 3:21
Dangerhouse, Vol. 2 1992
Various Artists
Frontier 3:14
Live From the Masque, Vol. 2: We We Can Can Do Do What What 1996
Various Artists
Unity Label Group (ULG)
No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion 2003
Various Artists
Rhino 3:15
The Best: Make the Music Go Bang 2004
X
Rhino / Elektra 3:14
Adult Books 2015
X
Munster / Munster Records / Superior Viaduct
Dangerhouse: Complete Singles Collected 1977-1979
Various Artists
Munster 3:13
Original Album Series
X
Rhino / Warner Bros.
No Image
X
Elektra / Rhino 3:19
No Image
X
Porterhouse
blue highlight denotes editor's pick