What The…

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What The…
Black Flag - What The.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 5, 2013 (2013-11-05)
Recorded2013
GenreHardcore punk
Length43:55
LabelSST (391)
Black Flag chronology
Live at the On Broadway 1982
(2010)
What The…
(2013)

What The… is the seventh studio album by American hardcore punk band Black Flag. The album was originally announced to be released on November 5, 2013.[1][2] However, on November 5, What The… was only released through online streaming sources such as Spotify and Rdio, and a physical release date was pushed back to December 3, 2013.[3] It is the band's first full-length studio album since In My Head (1985), marking the longest gap between two studio albums in their career, as well as being their first recording with vocalist Ron Reyes since Jealous Again (1980) and drummer Gregory "Drummer" Moore. This album also marked the first time since My War (1984) that guitarist Greg Ginn played bass on a Black Flag album under the name Dale Nixon. Three weeks after the album's release, Reyes was fired mid-show during a performance in Australia due to differences with Ginn. The band's manager and professional skateboarder Mike Vallely replaced Reyes on vocals.[4]

Artwork[edit]

Unlike the cover art of the majority of Black Flag's catalog, What The… was not designed or illustrated by Raymond Pettibon.[5] Instead, the cover art was designed by vocalist Ron Reyes.[6] This change was very negatively received.[2][5][7][8] Gregory Adams of Exclaim! described the cover as "gasp-inducing," and said that it looked like, "a South Park character giving us the devil horns after getting juiced off a bag of Fun Dip."[2] Marah Eakin of The A.V. Club described it as "downright hideous," and said that it looked like a, "mashup of some slime green globs, the Warheads candy guy, and Rude Dog."[8] Michael Roffman of Consequence of Sound described it as "cringeworthy," and said that it was, "either a funny nod to '90s bumper stickers, or a sign at how well of a relationship Ginn still has with his brother/former Black Flag artist Raymond Pettibon. Either way? Yikes."[7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic42/100[9]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[10]
Pitchfork4.9/10.0[11]
The A.V. ClubC-[12]
Exclaim!4/10[13]
Consequence of Sound2/5 stars[14]

What The... was poorly received by music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 42, based on 10 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[9]

Online music database Allmusic gave the album a rating of two and a half stars out of five.[10] The reviewer felt that vocalist Ron Reyes "was never one of Black Flag's better vocalists, and he hasn't improved much after more than 30 years" and that "this music seems clumsy and half-hearted, and Ginn's interplay with new drummer Gregory Amoore [sic] feels sluggish and leaden at every turn."[10]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Greg Ginn and Ron Reyes, except "Off My Shoulders" written solely by Ginn.[10].

No.TitleLength
1."My Heart's Pumping"2:12
2."Down in the Dirt"3:39
3."Blood and Ashes"1:48
4."Now Is the Time"1:47
5."Wallow in Despair"1:30
6."Slow Your Ass Down"1:50
7."It's So Absurd"1:11
8."Shut Up"1:43
9."This Is Hell"2:01
10."Go Away"2:32
11."The Bitter End"2:02
12."The Chase"2:17
13."I'm Sick"1:45
14."It's Not My Time to Go-Go"1:36
15."Lies"2:47
16."Get Out of My Way"1:01
17."Outside"2:44
18."No Teeth"1:44
19."To Hell and Back"1:43
20."Give Me All Your Dough"1:28
21."You Gotta Be Joking"1:17
22."Off My Shoulders"3:18

Personnel[edit]

Black Flag[10]

  • Greg Ginn – composer, guitar, organ, theremin
  • Gregory Moore – drums, backing vocals
  • Dale Nixon – bass
  • Ron Reyes – composer, lead vocals

Additional musicians[10]

  • Mathew Cortez – drums
  • The Ducky Boys of Granger Lake – backing vocals
  • Ron Raygunn – backing vocals
  • Cliff Samuels – backing vocals
  • Eric Vasquez – backing vocals

Production[10]

  • Andy Batwinas – engineer
  • Mike Shear – engineer

References[edit]

  1. ^ Flynn, John (October 24, 2013). "Black Flag to release 'What The...'". Punknews.org. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Adams, Gregory (October 24, 2013). "Black Flag Unveil New 'What The...' Album". Exclaim!. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  3. ^ Yancey, Bryne (November 5, 2013). "Media: Black Flag: 'What The...'". Punknews.org. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  4. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (November 27, 2013). "Black Flag Singer Ron Reyes Fired Mid-Show". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Ryan, Shane (October 25, 2013). "10 Works of MS Paint Art Less Tacky than the New Black Flag Cover". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  6. ^ White, Adam (November 26, 2013). "Ron Reyes and Black Flag split". Punknews.org. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Roffman, Michael (October 25, 2013). "Greg Ginn's Black Flag to release 'What The...,' their first new album in 28 years". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Eakin, Marah (October 25, 2013). "Black Flag's new album has pretty horrible cover art". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "What The... Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Deming, Mark. "What The... – Black Flag / Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  11. ^ Shteamer, Hank (December 3, 2013). "Review: What The..." Pitchfork. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  12. ^ Heller, Jason (December 3, 2013). "Black Flag returns, not that it needed to". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  13. ^ Khanna, Vish (December 3, 2013). "Black Flag – What The..." Exclaim!. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  14. ^ Bray, Ryan (December 2, 2013). "Album Review: Black Flag – What The..." Consequence of Sound. Retrieved December 13, 2013.