Gag, “Pretty Boy”

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Gag This Punk Shit Is Cool

Gag is responsible for one of the great lyrics of American hardcore: “HA HA HA, BLAH BLAH BLAH, EITHER WAY YOU DIE.”

It’s from 2013’s 40 Oz. Rule ’90 7-inch and it’s utterly inscrutable, squelched by effects to the extent that it evokes a campy death rattle (this one, perhaps.) Zero debate ensues; it’s a bit of macabre truth. Hardcore’s formal concision lends itself to that sort of binary thinking. The trouble is finding something infallible that fits in a few syllables. That’s where Gag excels.

In that song as on “Pretty Boy”—the first track shared from a compilation due via Iron Lung Records, aptly entitled America’s Greatest Hits—there’s a sturdy riff and a muscular backbeat, struggling through a recording saturated with noxious fumes. The band cackles anyhow.

Gag opts for laughs.