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Songs About Fucking

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Songs About Fucking
a manga-style drawing of a woman’s head tilted back, her teeth gritted, and eyes shut in an orgasmic expression, on a green background. The band name and title appear above.
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 10, 1987 (September 10, 1987)
Length29:08 (vinyl) / 31:45 (CD version)
LabelTouch and Go
ProducerBig Black
Big Black chronology
The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape
Songs About Fucking

Songs About Fucking is the second and final full-length studio album by the punk rock band Big Black, released in 1987 by Touch and Go Records, and reissued in 2018. The album includes a rendition of Kraftwerk's "The Model" in a remixed version from that which appeared on Big Black's then-recent single. The compact disc of Songs About Fucking added the other side of that single, a cover of Cheap Trick's "He's a Whore".


Steve Albini has said that Songs About Fucking is the Big Black album that he is most satisfied with. In a 1992 interview with Maximumrocknroll magazine, Albini said:

The best was side one of Songs About Fucking. I was real pleased with the way we did that. We just hopped into the studio, banged all the songs out and hopped out. Didn't take long, didn't cost much, just real smooth. Side two we recorded at a more leisurely pace and I think that hurt us. And that Cheap Trick song got on the tape and the CD by accident, and we just left it on.

The band had already decided to split up before the album was recorded, prompted by guitarist Santiago Durango's decision to enroll in law school and the band's desire to quit at what they felt was a creative peak.[1]

The cover art comes from a Japanese hentai manga.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Retrospective professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideA−[4]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[5]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[6]
Tom HullA−[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[9]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[11]

Songs About Fucking has been called "certainly the most honest album title of the rock 'n' roll era".[13] Lyrical themes on the album include South American killing techniques ("Colombian Necktie"), bread that gets you high ("Ergot"), and how "slowly, without trying, everyone becomes what he despises most".[13]

While the album's title (commonly blanked out when displayed in shops on its release)[citation needed] and the sleeve were controversial, according to one reviewer, "as brutal as that cover is, the music is even more so",[14] and it was considered "as dark and frightening as the band name suggests" by another, Treble's Hubert Vigilla, who goes on to say "Songs About Fucking is loud, it's abrasive, it's unattractive in the extreme ... So really, it's everything that made Big Black so great in the first place".[15] Dave Henderson of Underground magazine gave the album a 2.5/3 rating, calling it "a napalm attack that sticks to your skin like burning party-jell, spiced with hundreds and thousands, a prickly sensation that's as all-consuming as it is repellent".[16] Reviewing for The Village Voice in April 1988, Robert Christgau found Albini's innovative guitar sounds undeniable: "That killdozer sound culminates if not finishes off whole generations of punk and metal. In this farewell version it gains just enough clarity and momentum to make its inhumanity ineluctable, and the absence of lyrics that betray Albini's roots in yellow journalism reinforces an illusion of depth".[17] Trouser Press later called it the band's "finest work" and "their most raging, abrasive, pulverizing record".[18]

When asked by The Guardian to name his top 20 albums, John Peel included Songs about Fucking as his fifteenth favourite album.[19] Robert Plant claimed that the album had made him "an Albini fan,"[20] and Albini went on to be the recording engineer for the Page and Plant album Walking into Clarksdale (1998).


Publication Country Accolade Rank
Pitchfork US "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s" 54[21]
"The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s" 135[22]
Beats Per Minute US "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s" 47[23]
Terrorizer UK "Terrorizer Albums Of The Eighties" -[24]
The Guardian UK "1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die" -[25]
NME UK "The 50 Albums That Built Punk" 33[26]
Rockdelux Spain "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s" 39[27]
"The 200 Best Albums of All Time" 99[citation needed]
"300 best albums from 1984-2014" 136[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Big Black, except where noted

Side Happy Otter
1."The Power of Independent Trucking" 1:27
2."The Model"Karl Bartos, Ralf Hütter, Emil Schult2:34
3."Bad Penny" 2:33
4."L Dopa" 1:40
5."Precious Thing" 2:20
6."Colombian Necktie" 2:14
Side Sad Otter
7."Kitty Empire"4:01
9."Kasimir S. Pulaski Day"2:28
10."Fish Fry"2:06
11."Pavement Saw"2:12
12."Tiny, King of the Jews"2:31
13."Bombastic Intro"0:35
CD bonus track
14."He's a Whore"Rick Nielsen2:37



  1. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 90. ISBN 1-84353-105-4.
  2. ^ Schafer, Joseph (11 September 2017). "Retrospective: Thirty Years of Big Black's "Songs About Fucking"". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  3. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Songs About Fucking – Big Black". AllMusic. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "B". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved August 17, 2020 – via robertchristgau.com.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1998). The Great Rock Discography (1st ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 978-0-86241-827-4. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  7. ^ Graff, Gary, ed. (1996). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (1st ed.). London: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 978-0-7876-1037-1.
  8. ^ "Big Black: Songs About Fucking". NME: 30. November 28, 1992.
  9. ^ Gross, Joe (2004). "Big Black". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 69–70. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Perry, Andrew (December 1992). "Big Black: The Hammer Party / Atomizer / Songs About Fucking / Pigpile". Select (31): 86.
  11. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  12. ^ Hull, Tom. "Grade List: big black". Tom Hull - on the web. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  13. ^ a b Taylor, Steve (2004). The A to X of Alternative Music. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 35. ISBN 0-8264-8217-1.
  14. ^ McCusker, Eamonn (November 2003). "Big Black - Songs About Fucking (review)". CD Times. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
  15. ^ Vigilla, Hubert (December 2006). "Album Review: Big Black - Songs About Fucking". Treble. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
  16. ^ Henderson, Dave (1987) "Big Black - Songs About F***ing", Underground, October 1987 (Issue 7), p. 10
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (April 26, 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  18. ^ Leland, John; Robbins, Ira; Rabid, Jack; Sprague, Deborah; Strickler, Yancey. "Big Black". Trouser Press. Retrieved July 12, 2020. As Big Black was splitting up, they released their finest work: a second actual LP, Songs About Fucking. As if to go out kicking, screaming, howling and biting, it's their most raging, abrasive, pulverizing record, with only an excellent and ironic guitar take of Kraftwerk's "The Model" providing any relief. Albini's screeched vocals are so low in the mix they're just another instrument. Obsessing as usual on the excessive and bizarre side of human life, his stories remain mini horror movies set to the punishing, scathing guitar attack. Lyrically and aurally like Atomizer, it's liable to alter your perceptions.
  19. ^ Dennis, Jon (12 October 2005). "The Peel detective". The Guardian.
  20. ^ "Dave Grohl: 'Page & Plant' Ray Gun". www.fooarchive.com. Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  21. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 21 November 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  22. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 10 September 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  23. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Beats Per Minute. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Terrorizer Albums Of The Eighties". Rocklist.net. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Artists beginning with B (part 1)". The Guardian. 17 November 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  26. ^ "The 50 Albums That Built Punk - An NME Special Collectors Magazine". Rocklist.net. February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  27. ^ "LO MEJOR DE Los 80 100 álbumes internacionales". Rockdelux. April 1990. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2019.