Gag, “Pretty Boy”

Sam Lefebvre

Gag This Punk Shit Is Cool

Artwork for America's Greatest Hits is unavailable, but this cover for an earlier Gag record warrants aggregation.

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.

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