Superchunk

Slack Motherfucker

Composed by Superchunk

Song Review by

Thanks to indie labels like K, Teenbeat, and Simple Machines, the early '90s witnessed the rebirth of the 7" single, a format once considered obsolete in the wake of the compact disc boom; perhaps no band was more pivotal to the single's resurgence than Superchunk, whose own Merge Records issued a barrage of vinyl throughout the decade, though none more seminal than "Slack Motherfucker." A breathless punk-pop diatribe written by singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan, it's an anti-anthem, a personal vendetta which nevertheless captures the zeitgeist of its time and place to perfection. Though implicit in "Slack Motherfucker"'s message is a denouncement of an American system increasingly forcing its young to accept menial, low-income employment, indie rock's "Take This Job and Shove It" it ain't -- the song's vitriol is aimed far less at the socioeconomic structure at large than at a shiftless co-worker who won't get off his sorry ass and pitch in. Propelled by McCaughan's high, nasal yelp and a surging, buzz saw guitar hook, its chorus -- "I'm working, but I'm not working for you!" -- is as much an outcry of minimum-wage angst as it is a crystallization of the D.I.Y. ethic at its purest. Arguably, no band of the era transformed the personal into the populist (and vice versa) as brilliantly as Superchunk, and for all the superb records the band issued in the years to follow, "Slack Motherfucker" remains their crowning achievement.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Superchunk 1990 Merge 2:52
Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91) 1992 Merge
Leaves in the Gutter 2009 P-Vine Records 3:11
Matador at 21 2010
Various Artists
Matador 2:52
blue highlight denotes editor's pick