Double Nickels on the Dime


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Double Nickels on the Dime Review

by Mark Deming

If What Makes a Man Start Fires? was a remarkable step forward from the Minutemen's promising debut album, The Punch Line, then Double Nickels on the Dime was a quantum leap into greatness, a sprawling 44-song set that was as impressive as it was ambitious. While punk rock was obviously the starting point for the Minutemen's musical journey (which they celebrated on the funny and moving "History Lesson Part II"), by this point the group seemed up for almost anything -- D. Boon's guitar work suggested the adventurous melodic sense of jazz tempered with the bite and concision of punk rock, while Mike Watt's full-bodied bass was the perfect foil for Boon's leads and drummer George Hurley possessed a snap and swing that would be the envy of nearly any band. In the course of Double Nickels on the Dime's four sides, the band tackles leftist punk ("Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing"), Spanish guitar workouts ("Cohesion"), neo-Nortena polka ("Corona"), blues-based laments ("Jesus and Tequila"), avant-garde exercises ("Mr. Robot's Holy Orders"), and even a stripped-to-the-frame Van Halen cover ("Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"). From start to finish, the Minutemen play and sing with an estimable intelligence and unshakable conviction, and the album is full of striking moments that cohere into a truly remarkable whole; all three members write with smarts, good humor, and an eye for the adventurous, and they hit pay dirt with startling frequency. And if Ethan James' production is a bit Spartan, it's also efficient, cleaner than their work with Spot, and captures the performances with clarity (and without intruding upon the band's ideas). Simply put, Double Nickels on the Dime was the finest album of the Minutemen's career, and one of the very best American rock albums of the 1980s.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Minutemen 01:19 Amazon
2 Minutemen 01:30 Amazon
3 Minutemen 01:27 Amazon
4 Minutemen 01:55 Amazon
5 Minutemen 02:04 Amazon
6 Minutemen 01:47 Amazon
7 Minutemen 01:52 Amazon
8 Minutemen 01:49 Amazon
9 Minutemen 01:46 Amazon
10 Minutemen 01:35 Amazon
11 Minutemen 01:45 Amazon
12 Minutemen 01:50 Amazon
13 Minutemen 01:33 Amazon
14 Minutemen 01:56 Amazon
15 Minutemen 01:38 Amazon
16 Minutemen 02:01 Amazon
17 Minutemen 01:29 Amazon
18 Minutemen 01:15 Amazon
19 Minutemen 02:24 Amazon
20 Minutemen 02:55 Amazon
21 Minutemen 01:40 Amazon
22 Minutemen 01:05 Amazon
23 Minutemen 02:10 Amazon
24 Minutemen 02:01 Amazon
25 Minutemen 01:20 Amazon
26 Minutemen 01:48 Amazon
27 Minutemen 01:10 Amazon
28 Minutemen 01:17 Amazon
29 Minutemen 00:46 Amazon
30 Minutemen 01:21 Amazon
31 Minutemen 01:50 Amazon
32 Minutemen 01:34 Amazon
33 Minutemen 01:56 Amazon
34 Minutemen 01:51 Amazon
35 Minutemen 02:03 Amazon
36 Minutemen 02:52 Amazon
37 Minutemen 01:48 Amazon
38 Minutemen 01:57 Amazon
39 Minutemen 00:51 Amazon
40 Minutemen 01:44 Amazon
41 Minutemen 02:05 Amazon
42 Minutemen 02:00 Amazon
43 Minutemen 00:36 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick