In the liner notes to the Beyond and Back: The X Anthology, X vocalist Exene Cervenka summed up the song "We're Desperate" with three words: "Too many apartments." First recorded in 1978 for the band's first independent single (and later re-recorded for their second album, Wild Gift), "We're Desperate" is an alternately harrowing and hilarious story about life along the squalid margins of Los Angeles. A self-styled hipster finds herself living in a run-down flat that's filthy and cramped and where nothing seems to work; left to her own devices, she sums up her life by saying, "We're desperate," and then cuts herself down to size with the self-depreciating postscript, "Get used to it." While Cervenka's anxious wail (matched by John Doe's full-bodied vocal support) makes this woman's life (and her crummy home) sound just as awful as the title would suggest, there's a subtle irony and less-subtle hyperbole in the lyrics that suggest as grim as all of this may be, there's something a bit funny about it as well. And while the herky-jerky bark of Billy Zoom's guitar hardly makes the song sound comfortable, the crazed but precise rhythms laid down by D.J. Bonebrake (influenced by Captain Beefheart) push the dichotomy even further -- his beats are so good you want to dance to them, and so fractured that it's all but impossible, which matches the inherent contradictions of a song about bohemian poverty in one of America's wealthiest cities just fine.