Monday, March 19, 2012

Old Music; Killing Joke-Age of Greed

The Guardian

Greedy bankers, cuts to services, a Tory in No 10 – what better circumstances could there be to listen to Killing Joke.[

Killing Joke have always seemed like the soundtrack to a dystopian future that was just around the corner, and when the coalition government threatened to reduce tax rates for the rich while cutting benefits for the poor, this 1990 track sprung to mind.

Taken from the 1990 album Extremities, Dirt & Various Repressed Emotions, Age of Greed opens with an American advertising monologue about special deals on obscene amounts of meat, and then launches into seven blistering minutes lambasting the greed culture of the Thatcher years, from the point of view of someone at the desperate bottom of the pile: 

''You just treat me like a commodity/ You didn't know I couldn't afford to feed my family/ I just want to kill. I just want to take a gun/ And put it to your head and pull the trigger".[

In 1990 it was the utilities being privatised by a Conservative government, not the NHS, and Jaz Colman's lyrics echo the "feather the nest and fuck the rest" mentality of the governing elite. 

This includes a damning indictment of a society funding consumerism with credit card debt: "Exchanging the hours of your life for the cash you've already spent/ Eating rubbish so you can pay the rent."

Extremities, Dirt & Various Repressed Emotions was a return to a heavier sound for the band after a couple of mediocre records, and Age of Greed is representative of a collection of songs that contained nothing remotely likely to repeat the mid-80s top 20 chart positioning of Love Like Blood.

In 2008, following the death of long-time bassist Paul Raven, the band reformed with their original lineup of Jaz, Youth, Geordie and Paul Ferguson. 
Several tours and an album – Absolute Dissent – followed, and there is a new album due for release this April. That dystopian future seems to be edging ever closer.

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