Dead Kennedys - Kill the Poor

15 May
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The opening track to Dead Kennedys' debut album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, taking as its starting point the then-new neutron bomb, designed to kill people but leave their valuables intact, "Kill the Poor" defined what the band was all about.

 To sum it up punk-inspired energy and arrangements, but a smart sense of pop hooks and a rampaging, not-to-be-held back slam against political and social business as usual on as many levels as possible. Singer Jello Biafra's unique but passionate quaver leads things off, but the band themselves create something as much indebted to surf music and '60s AM pop as it is to the blast of punk rock. The brilliantly catchy chorus -- "Kill-kill-kill-kill, kill the poor, toni-I-I-I-ght!" -- is both funny and pointed, while Biafra's conflation of liberal complacency, conservative aggression, and societal ignorance is both pithy and memorably sung in his breathy, nervous way. East Bay Ray's guitar work does the business with just enough sting, while drummer Ted and bassist Klaus Flouride stop and start on a dime as needed, creating enough vim and vigor for any setting.

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