1990, Music

Naive (1990) by KMFDM

I am much more familiar with KMFDM’s later work, in the ’90s, as they got dancier and dancier and lapsed into self-parody. My experience of all that was further impacted by having a friend in high school who wore KMFDM t-shirts, which made them look so hardcore and threatening. And then I listen to them and “dance music?!?!”

But I am a man who believes in context as a way to evaluate music. And, at this point, I know something about the history of industrial music. And I can’t help be at least a little impressed by this fusion of the two genres (industrial metal/rock and dance). I don’t know their earlier records but I know they don’t have good reviews so I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that this is the first time they put it all together.

Always less metal than Ministry, they are considerably less metal than Ministry even this early. In relation to KMFDM, Ministry feels like a metal band that discovered industrial music, rather than an industrial band that discovered rock and dance music.

The material is much catchier than you might expect from anything labeled “industrial” but still nowhere near as hooky and dance-floor-ready as their later music (where it often feels like catchy dance floor tunes are the goal). It’s certainly got to be one of the most catchy “industrial” albums yet released.

This is absolutely not my thing. But knowing how big this type of music became in the ’90s, it’s hard not to consider it a big deal. Moreover, the essence of KMFDM feels like it’s present on this record already, and it’s a version that I prefer to their later records – if I’m going to listen to one of their records I’d much rather listen to this than their later stuff.

9/10 I think, even though that seems weird.

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