Cop (album)

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Swans - Cop.jpg
Studio album by Swans
Released 1984
Recorded Feb–May 1984
Studio Vanguard Studios in New York City and Platinum in Zürich, Switzerland
Length 40:48
Label K.422
Swans chronology
Young God

Cop is the second studio album by American experimental rock band Swans. It was released in 1984, through record label K.422.

Background and composition[edit]

On Cop, Swans took the style of their previous LP, 1983's Filth, and intensified it, utilizing slower tempos, more tape loops, and even more abrasive musical textures.[2] The lyrics are again concerned with ambiguous themes like physical, often sexual domination and occasionally submission. Some publications recognize Cop as Swans' darkest, most brutal release.[3] According to Jarboe, who first met the band shortly after this album was recorded, the photograph on the cover is the profile of a morbidly obese woman.[citation needed]


In 1984, Cop was released through K.422 as Swans' second album.[4] Initially, the album was only available as an LP. Throughout the band's history, though, Cop has been reissued within a number of different compilations. It was remastered by Michael Gira in 1992 for release on CD along with the Young God EP (1984) appended as bonus tracks. The 1999 double disc reissue Cop/Young God / Greed/Holy Money combines Cop and Young God with the compilation Greed/Holy Money (itself compiled from the albums Greed (1986) and Holy Money (1986)). The packaging for all issues states that the recording is "designed to be played at maximum volume".[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
The Quietusfavourable[5]

AllMusic critic Ned Raggett wrote of the album, "Ugly, compelling and overpowering, Cop remains the pinnacle of Swans' brutal early days", calling it "quite possibly one of the darkest recordings ever done."[2] Later writing for The Quietus, Raggett went on to continue praising Cop, recognizing it as the source of other bands like Godflesh and The Young Gods.[5] Aaron Lariviere of Stereogum added Neurosis to the list of bands that Cop helped influence.[3] Miranda Yardley of Terrorizer wrote, "Michael Gira and co. make music that generates its own gravity well, never more so than here."[6] Jonathan Gold of the Los Angeles Times listed Cop as one of the ten most essential industrial albums.[1]


Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
2011 Terrorizer United Kingdom "The Heaviest Albums Ever" 4 [6]
"*" denotes an unordered list.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Michael Gira; all music composed by Swans.

Side A
1."Half Life"4:18
3."Why Hide"5:50
4."Clay Man"5:05
Side B
1."Your Property"4:48



Additional personnel

  • Lee Ranaldo – sleeve back cover photography
  • Jonathan Thayer – engineering
  • JG Thirlwell – engineering
  • Mark Berry – engineering
  • Harry Lombardy – engineering
  • Voco – engineering


Chart (1984) Peak
UK Indie Chart[7] 12


  1. ^ a b Gold, Jonathan (19 April 1992). "10 Essential Industrial Albums". Los Angeles Times: 183.
  2. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned. "Cop – Swans : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b Lariviere, Aaron. "Swans Albums from Worst to Best". Stereogum. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Cop Discogs entry (includes liner notes)". Discogs. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "An Open Wound: Swans' Cop Revisited". The Quietus. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Yardley, Miranda. "The Heaviest Albums Ever: The albums Kerrang! forgot". Terrorizer. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  7. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2014.