“Jordan, Minnesota” by Big Black

This song offends a lot of people, and frankly I can understand their position. The lyrics are a cheap attempt at shock value in the vein of the crasser Death Metal acts like Cannibal Corpse; this song predates most of them, but that only makes it worse, as it seems to have served as an influence. The subject is pedophilia, but not an honest if melodramatic treatment of the issue like Korn’s “Daddy”…no, this one clearly exists purely for shock purposes, falling somewhere between the Who’s “Fiddle About” and Eminem’s “Insane” on the scale of disgusting songs about this subject. However, unlike most of the acts that resort to these kinds of lyrics, this song features genuinely fascinating music. Big Black were known for synthesizing an extremely daring mix of Hardcore Punk, Noise Music and early Industrial influences into an abrasive but fascinating new sound. It was utterly unique at the time they debuted, and even now, after they had a major hand in pioneering the Industrial Music and Indie Noise-Rock genres, influencing everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Sonic Youth, their music still sounds fresh and distinctive to the modern ear. As reprehensible as the lyrics are, the music is so interesting that I can’t really dismiss this song or the band it comes from, not only because of their historical importance but because they made genuinely valid and important music in their own right.

Verdict: The lyric is indeed terrible, but the music really is good enough to make up for it.

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