Gang of Four

Anthrax

Song Review by

The Gang of Four's most notorious song, "Anthrax" would be a fairly mundane (albeit extremely edgy and brittle, thanks to Hugo Burnham's nervous-tic drums and Jon King's strangled vocals) post-punk anti-love song were it not for its masterstroke. As King is comparing himself to a beetle on its back in the verses and declaring "Love will get you like a case of anthrax and that's something I don't wanna catch" in the right channel, guitarist Andy Gill reads a monograph about the use of the word "love" and the idea of love in popular music, and the way these idealized uses inform people's expectations, occasionally interrupting himself to chime in on one of King's key phrases in the rest of the song. It's an amusing conceit that really works ? not least because the monograph raises some interesting points, even if it doesn't go terribly far with them ? making "Anthrax" one of the most unique and interesting songs of its time.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
A Brief History of the Twentieth Century 1990 Warner Bros. 4:23