Full Circle (1997) by Pennywise

Categories: 1997 and Music.

I don’t love 90s punk, I generally find it too polished and too formulaic for my tastes. I’m not sure what it adds to the legacy of hardcore and frankly it’s all too one note. You can get away with one-note when you’re doing something brand new, but when you are doing a slightly more polished version of something that is, at this point, nearly two decades old, it’s kind of tiresome (to me).

But I appreciate Pennywise’s attitude, very different than the snark I usually associate with “skate punk.” Also, I didn’t realize this record was recorded as the response to the suicide of their bass player, and so I appreciate the earnestness of them more than I would have otherwise.
But all of this appreciation flies out of the window when I hear “Bro Hymn Tribute,” a new version of a song written by the dead bassist for their debut album. Though I have probably heard “Bro Hymn” at numerous sporting events in my life, I have never really paid attention to it before or, more likely mistaken it for something else. And that’s because this song is a complete, total rip off of “Human Cannonball” by The Butthole Surfers. To my untrained ears, only the lyrics are different (and the arrangement is less interesting). At least the Surfers turned to parody when ripping off other bands, these guys just stole the thing whole hog.
So that leaves a sour taste in my mouth to an album I otherwise didn’t mind. (The extent two which “Bro Hymn” is making these guys money must also leave a really sour taste in the mouths of The Surfers.)


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