1977, Music

Suicide (1977)

It’s hard to review something when you’ve read too much about it but what you read did not in any way prepare you for what it is.
That is the case for me with Suicide’s debut album, which is more minimalist than I ever imagined, as well as featuring much more of a clash between traditional and present (future?) than I imagined. It’s true, words really cannot do music justice.

I can’t say I like it:

I find Alan Vega’s lyrics to be not particularly compelling and his performance feels like it belongs in front of a different band. (Yes, that is the idea, but I don’t love it.) His lyrics range from really, really basic to attempts at social comment. I feel like he should have picked one or the other as it’s arguable he’s better when he’s writing about life than he is when he just singing his version of rock and roll cliches.

Martin Rev’s minimalist backdrops, on the other hand, are unlike anything else within the New York punk scene – hell, he may have been the only person outside of Germany making music like this; though Rev’s music is far more commercial than much of the German electronica of the era.

But though I don’t love it, it’s hard not to respect it for its sheer audacity – though the music is not punk, it sure is inspired by the same “don’t give a fuck” attitude towards music – and I know this was hugely influential. It’s like the garage/bedroom version of the emerging genre of synth pop.

PS Can someone explain to me why RYM considers this No Wave?


  1. “Ghost Rider” – 2:34
    “Rocket U.S.A.” – 4:16
  2. “Cheree” – 3:42
  3. “Johnny” – 2:11
  4. “Girl” – 4:05
  5. “Frankie Teardrop” – 10:26
  6. “Che” – 4:53
  • Suicide – arrangement
  • Timothy Jackson – artwork
  • Larry Alexander – engineer
  • Martin Rev – keyboards
  • Craig Leon – producer
  • Marty Thau – producer
  • Alan Vega – vocals

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