Keep on Your Mean Side

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Keep on Your Mean Side
The Kills - Mean Side.jpg
Studio album by The Kills
Released April 1, 2003
Recorded November 2002 at Toe Rag Studios, London[1]
Genre Garage rock
Length 42:23
Label Domino
Producer The Kills
The Kills chronology
Black Rooster EP
(2002)Black Rooster EP2002
Keep on Your Mean Side
No Wow
(2005)No Wow2005
Singles from Keep on Your Mean Side
  1. "Fuck the People"
    Released: 2003
  2. "Fried My Little Brains"
    Released: 14 April 2003
  3. "Pull A U"
    Released: 20 October 2003

Keep on Your Mean Side is the debut album by UK based indie rock band The Kills. Originally released on April 1, 2003, through Domino Records, it was later reissued on May 4, 2009, with five additional bonus tracks.

The song "Wait" was featured in the film Children of Men (2006), while the song "Monkey 23" was featured in the film The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) and in Adam Curtis' BBC documentary All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace Part 1 (2011) while "Cat Claw" and "Wait" were both overheard in the Criminal Minds Season 3 episode, "Doubt". "Fried My Little Brains" was used in the Sherlock Series 3 episode, "The Sign of Three" and the game Gran Turismo 6


Following international touring, they entered Toe Rag Studios, where The White Stripes had recorded their album Elephant, to record Keep on Your Mean Side, mostly on 8-track, in just 2 weeks. Distributed in the US and UK by Rough Trade Records, the album was similar in style to the EP, veering from the Velvets-esque stomp of "Wait" to the noisy, dirty garage punk blues of "Fuck the People" and dark psychedelia of "Kissy Kissy". The record was well received by the music press, though the White Stripes comparisons would not go away.

Maintaining an anti-careerist, anti-music industry attitude, the band rarely granted interviews. Rather, they got the music press to come to them with their minimalist yet powerful live shows (which also included the drum machine), the pair maintaining an air of tension by subverting the expected role of stage performer. Mosshart chain-smoked while singing, rarely speaking to the audience, whilst Hince violently ripped blues riffs from his instrument. At a New York City show following the ban on public smoking, Mosshart went on stage with three bottles of water, lit up a cigarette and proceeded to smoke constantly from the first song to the last note of the set.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (70/100) [2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [3]
Drowned In Sound (9/10) [4]
Mojo 4/5 stars [5]
Pitchfork (7.8/10) [6]
Playlouder (negative) [7]
PopMatters (negative) [8]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars [9]
Stylus C+[10]
Uncut 4/5 stars [11]
Yahoo! Music 8/10 stars [12]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4/5 stars [13]

Reviews for Keep on Your Mean Side were wide-ranging but mostly positive with a few exceptions. It has a normalized rating of 70 out of 100 on MetaCritic based on 18 professional reviews.[2] Rolling Stone was complimentary saying the music was "dark, kick-ass garage rock" and the album was "a bruising disc of post-modern blues"[9] echoed by Allmusic's "sneering, sexy blues-punk" that's "relatively fresh and distinctive".[3]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Superstition" 4:40
2. "Cat Claw" 3:32
3. "Pull a U" 3:23
4. "Kissy Kissy" 5:02
5. "Fried My Little Brains" 2:08
6. "Hand" (incorrectly labeled as "Gypsy Death & You" on original album sleeve) 0:50
7. "Hitched" 4:02
8. "Black Rooster" 4:24
9. "Wait" 4:47
10. "Fuck the People" 4:17
11. "Monkey 23" 3:06
12. "Gypsy Death & You" (incorrectly labeled as "Hand" on original album sleeve) 2:11
2009 Reissue Bonus Tracks
No. Title Length
13. "Gum" 1:21
14. "Jewel Thief" 2:47
15. "Sugar Baby" 4:20
16. "The Search for Cherry Red" (Jonathan Fire Eater cover) 2:58
17. "Dropout Boogie" (Captain Beefheart cover) 4:07


The Kills

Chart performance[edit]

Charts (2003) Peak
UK Albums Chart 47
French Albums Chart 75


  1. ^ "The Kills Keep on Your Mean Side (reissue + bonus tracks) > promotional copy". Domino USA. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Keep on Your Mean Side - The Kills". metacritic. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Phares, Heather. Keep on Your Mean Side at AllMusic. Retrieved 28 June 2006.
  4. ^ Irvine, Michael (March 9, 2003). "The Kills Keep on Your Mean Side > Staff Review". Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  5. ^ Mojo: 89. May 2003.  Missing or empty |title= (help) Cited at "Keep on Your Mean Side - The Kills > Critic Reviews". metacritic. Retrieved 28 February 2008. 
  6. ^ Reid, Brendan (March 31, 2003). "The Kills Keep On Your Mean Side > Album Review". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 28 June 2006. 
  7. ^ Harrison, Elizabeth (4 March 2003). "Keep on Your Mean Side The Kills > Review". Archived from the original on 19 November 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2006. 
  8. ^ Horning, Robert (23 May 2003). "The Kills: Keep on Your Mean Side > Album Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Relic, Peter (May 15, 2003). "The Kills Keep on Your Mean Side > Album Review". Rolling Stone (922). p. 130. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.  Posted on April 22, 2003.
  10. ^ Murphy, Kilian (2003-09-04). "The Kills Keep on Your Mean Side > Album Review". Stylus. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 28 June 2006. 
  11. ^ "The Kills - Keep on Your Mean Side > Album Review". Uncut. IPC Media. Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  12. ^ O'Connell, Sharon (March 13, 2003). "The Kills 'Keep On Your Mean Side' > Album Review". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2007. 
  13. ^ . Tiny Mix Tapes. December 14, 2006 Archived from the original on December 14, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)