#10

'The Argument' Fugazi (2001)

10/10

By the end of the aughts, indie rock's contrast filter had blown out the genre's two extremes: Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear played pretty-pretty melodies with little edge to them, while wall-of-noise grinders such as A Place to Bury Strangers took up the slack on behalf of pulverizing bleakness. Looking back, it seems as though Fugazi's last record, from 2001, is the goodbye that shouldn't have been. With roots in the '80s-era hardcore of singer Ian MacKaye's prior band, Minor Threat, Fugazi also flashed a late-period talent for arranging lovely guitarscapes as bridges between outraged verses and anthemic choruses. Punk is usually at its best when bemoaning fakery, and the lyrics on "Epic Problem" practically predicted the rise of cable news's manufactured rage: "And outside, it's all production / It's all illusion, set scenery." Too bad that, after this album, Fugazi would go on an indefinite hiatus. If only they were reuniting next summer, along with Pavement.

10/10

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