All of Violent Soho’s songs ranked from worst to best
“They’re gonna stop our music because they say it’s too loud” is a timeless sentiment, especially in Brisbane, and Razar’s 1978 rant is perfect for Violent Soho to cover. That straightforward punk blast from Queensland’s Joh Bjelke-Petersen-era gives it a different energy to their usual songs, and its breathless “oinkoinkoinkoink” and a shout Boerdam drawls as “TASFOR! TASFOR!” is one of the greatest things they’ve ever given us to sing along to that isn’t “hell fuck yeah”.
9. ‘Saramona Said’
Probably the best of Violent Soho’s quiet songs, maybe because it actually gets pretty loud towards the end. “I wanna bastardise this entire state” is another attitude any Queenslander will empathise with.
8. ‘Dope Calypso’
I have no idea what a ‘Dope Calypso’ is and will be happy never knowing because it’s like totally about the journey and not the destination anyway, dude, and this journey is one where a song that’s brutal, diffident, and self-hating comes together into something beautiful. And maybe it’s not about the destination, but that cannon finale is pretty great anyway.
7. ‘Bombs Over Broadway’
‘Bombs Over Broadway’ is honest about what it is with machine-gun guitar and aggression. It’s a “fuck the system” song that straight-up has the lyric “Run away, fuck the system” in it. It’s probably the best “fuck the system” song that doesn’t have the line “happy birthday to the ground” in it.
6. ‘My Generation’
‘Like Soda’ is a song Violent Soho needed to grow up a bit to write, ‘My Generation’ is a song they could only have written while they were young and indifferent, with a “yeah, right” so bitterly ironic it could write an episode of Daria. The “brand new honey, honey” is what Boerdam will need for his throat after all this howling is done.
5. ‘How To Taste’
This is such a good way to start an album. A few moments of intricate, pretty guitar work and then YEAH and a full-on grind. By the time it finally winds back down at the finale it’s been another one of those full fucking journeys, man.
4. ‘Covered In Chrome’
If you have fond memories of shouting “Hell fuck yeah!” at a festival you can probably bump this one up two spots. If you think the line “a pussy is a piece of skin wrapped in a pocket” is genius you should probably bump up two more. I go back and forth on that every time I listen to ‘Covered In Chrome’ but I do keep listening to it and I sing along anyway, so there’s proof of its power even for someone who would rather stay in bed than go to another Big Day Out ever again.
3. ‘Like Soda’
“Like soda it will pop” is one of the most American things ever in a Violent Soho song, and this is a band named after a neighbourhood in Manhattan (probably). But even though the title and central metaphor are American, it’s filtered through everyday Australian experience. The vision of suburban old age in ‘Like Soda’, soundtracked by “the rattles from the pubs and pokies room,” is so Australian it eats Winnie Blues and shits Vegemite.
2. ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’
Violent Soho have a lot of songs about religion and some of them are better than others, but even the good ones sound kind of like the complaints of a smart kid atheist who thinks believers are all sheep. ‘Jesus Is My Girlfriend’ is something different, and the anger that catches in Boerdam’s throat is much more personal. This is rage with a reason and a target, and that Jesus wanker better watch out if he comes round here again.
People who actually listen to Interpol tell me that this sounds like an Interpol song, which is both wrong and insulting. ‘Viceroy’ pisses all over any Interpol song you care to name with the glee of that Calvin kid on a Holden’s mudflap. ‘Viceroy’ has the distinction of having the second-best bassline in any Violent Soho song and also being the first-best song about feeling like a temporary regal official ever written, no offence to Mac DeMarco who is actually singing about the cigarette brand.
‘Viceroy’s opening is harsh, lightened only by the bouncy, drunk guitar, but Boerdam turns the gun back on himself soon enough with the criticism of some dude’s tacky pickup lines and monologues replaced by an attack on what a shit friend the singer is.
Plenty of Violent Soho songs change into something else as they go, but ‘Viceroy’ feels like it changes into all of their songs at some point, becoming ‘Saramona Said’ at one stage and ‘Covered In Chrome’ at another. By the time it reaches that blast of 1990s feedback at its ending ‘Viceroy’ feels like it’s been all of Violent Soho’s best songs and bettered all of them.