Wednesday, February 9, 2011

334- Wild Gift. Punk for couples

Album: Wild Gift
Artist: X
Genre: Punk
Year: 1981


  1. The Once Over Twice
  2. We're Desperate
  3. Adult Books
  4. Universal Corner
  5. I'm Coming Over
  6. It's Who You Know
  7. In This House That I Call Home
  8. Some Other Time
  9. White Girl
  10. Beyond and Back
  11. Back 2 the Base
  12. When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch
  13. Year 1

I should probably start by clearing some things up. There were three bands who thought X would be a good name for a band. Depending on your viewpoint all three were correct because two other bands agreed with them or all three were wrong because two other bands had the same idea. Two of them are punk bands formed in 1977 which was definitely The Year For Forming Punk Bands. To avoid confusion one is often called X America and the other is called X Australia. To add to the confusion there is also a heavy-metal hair band from Japan who are not surprisingly called X-Japan. X-America decided what Punk needed was relationship angst. X-Australia decided Punk needed some Aussie urban reference points, X-Japan decided bands like Poison and Motley Crue were too subtle and needed to be made more a bit more flamboyant and bombastic. X America earned international respect and moderate sales, X-Australia earned enough to keep them in beer and smokes on the road and X-Japan earned millions of yen in their home town and widespread derision throughout the rest of the world (by the way to give you some indication of how unfortunate X are when it comes to naming- their best of box set was called "The X-box" which was a great idea until Microsoft needed a name for a gaming console).

Anyway the point is that Wild Gift is by the American band and it's a seminal punk album. It's also the first punk album I've reviewed that features a female vocalist. Exene Cervenka duets with bass player John Doe to form a sound that no other punk band I've ever heard has. Although as regular readers know I'm no punk aficianado.

I have to be honest but I'm not a huge fan of Wild Gift. I really like some of the lyrical direction "He gave me the once over twice" is quite a clever line and "When our love passed out on the couch" is a great name for a song. Generally however the music is pretty much stuck in traditional punk territory and it takes more than the presence of a female vocalist to lift it in my estimation. Especially when the vocalist is question doesn't possess one of the most inspiring voices in music.

If you love old school punk music- real punk music without the flair, pretension or attempt to hijack the punk image and attach it to pop music, you'll probably love Wild Gift. If punk is not your thing then you won't like it at all. The good news is that songs are over so quickly you won't have to worry about them wearing out their limited welcome.

Influenced by: The Sex Pistols and relationship angst
Influenced: X Japan to stick a Japan at the end of their name.

Highlight: When our love passed out on the couch.
Lowlight: We're desperate

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: (Okay I'm cheating but this actually comes from a review of Dahlia by X-Japan but it's worth sharing: "So sit yourself back comfortably, open your mind and let your ears guide you instead of your eyes. Because if you do, you will find something you've never felt before; a new path to the very meaning of life itself! Yes I WILL get a lot of flaming, hate mail and various spiteful comments about this, (maybe enemies for life, who knows!) but yes I mean it, this cd is THE MEANING OF LIFE!!! The answer to the question of what humanity has asked itself ever since our first days. HAHA!"

-The guy is deadly serious. I've read every word of the 6111 word review (seriously over 6 thousand words!) and his love for Dahlia and X-Japan far outdoes pretty much every other review on Amazon.

So does Wild Gift leave you X-cited, or X-asperated? Let me know below.


  1. X is too obvious a name hahaha.

    I only heard of X-Japan. They're supposed to be one of the most influential Japanese bands or something idk.

    Now this next question has nothing to do with your review.

    I just got the SPIN magazine best of 2010 list. SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, and other music journalists including those at Rolling Stone have put Kanye West's most recent album as the best of the last year. I vaguely recall, though I couldn't tell you which one, where you kind of put down Kanye. Maybe not put down, but you did express that you disliked his music.

    How does this make you... feel? :)

  2. I can't remember slanging of Kanye anywhere on 500 horizons. I might have made a comment somewhere about his ego which I'm a lot more familiar with than his music. I've heard a lot more said about him than I've heard his music. In fact I can't actually name a single Kanye song. So I don't really feel anything much at all.

    By the way- I think most people who say X-Japan are the most influential japanese band are big X-Japan fans. I lived in Japan for three years (which is where I first heard of them) and in my experience they weren't really popular at all. They've got a very committed fanbase but they're certainly not universally loved.

  3. I think it was a comment about his ego, yeah. Sorry for misreading.

    And I'd have to find it again, but there was a list by some big publication that listed X-Japan on the list of "most influential... in Japan." The only other bands I know on that list are L'arc~en~Ciel and Judy & Mary lol.