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Music / Frankenchrist

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The more amusing replacement cover.
Click for the original version (NSFW) 

Frankenchrist is the third album by Dead Kennedys, released in 1985, and widely considered to be their best along with their debut Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. It's infamous for causing an obscenity trial over the original album cover note  that the band eventually won, but nearly caused their bankruptcy.


Side One

  1. "Soup Is Good Food" (4:18)
  2. "Hellnation" (2:22)
  3. "This Could Be Anywhere (This Could Be Everywhere)" (5:24)
  4. "A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch" (5:50)
  5. "Chicken Farm" (5:06)

Side Two

  1. "Jock-O-Rama (Invasion of the Beef Patrol)" (4:06)
  2. "Goons of Hazzard" (4:25)
  3. "MTV Get off the Air" (3:37)
  4. "At My Job" (3:41)
  5. "Stars and Stripes of Corruption" (6:23)


Stars And Tropes Of Corruption:

  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: In "A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch" the band wonders:
    Will Elvis take the place of Jesus in a thousand years?
  • Anti-Police Song: "Stars and Stripes of Corruption".
    We've got to rise above the need for cops and laws
  • Banana Republic: "Stars And Stripes Of Corruption":
    If you want a banana republic that bad/ Why don't you go move to one?
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: "Jock-O-Rama"
    Pep rally in the holy temple
    And you're forced to go
    Masturbate en masse
    With the favored religious cult
  • Black Comedy: Every track.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: "At My Job"
    Thank you for your service and a long career
    Glad you gave us your best years
  • Come to Gawk: "Jock-O-Rama", where high school sport funding and their spectators are criticized:
    On the almighty football field
    Beerbellies of all ages
    Come to watch the gladiators bleed
  • Advertisement:
  • Concept Album: The entire American government and society are lamblasted.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The fired employees are "dumped (with no minister present)/ In a spiraling corkscrew dispose-all unit/ Ground into sludge and flushed away/ Aw geez."
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: During the recordings Jello Biafra was defending artistic freedom during the PMRC hearings, alongside Frank Zappa, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) and John Denver against censorship of songs, albums and music videos with questionable subversive content.
  • Corrupt Church: "Stars And Stripes Of Corruption"
    Budget's in the red?
    Let's tax religion
  • Covers Always Lie: Sure, the Shriners parade (where the members drive around in ridiculously tiny cars) shows a ridiculous side of Eagleland. But the punk edge is hard to identify, and neither Shriners nor Masons are mentioned in the lyrics. (and yet the organization still sued)
  • Crapsack World: "Hellnation" describes how nations became hellish and "This Could Be Anywhere" implies that this kind of worlds can be found anywhere, even in your town.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    Hellnation, got no choice
    What's the point of trying to vote?
    When this country makes war
    We all die in the same boat
    In this hellnation
  • Eagleland: The entire American government and system are criticized to smithereens.
  • The Empire: Biafra outright calls the USA "an evil empire" in "Stars and Stripes of Corruption", in reference to Ronald Reagan's infamous infantile description of the USSR in 1983. Yet the band ends the song with "I think I love it more than you/I care enough to fight!".
  • Ennio Morricone Pastiche: The horn and guitar parts have a very Morriconesque feel to them.
  • Epic Rocking: Four of the tracks are over five minutes.
  • Evil Laugh: Heard several times in "At My Job".
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: "Chicken Farm", about children who are war victims, and "Jock-O-Rama", about high school sports severely injuring the weaker children.
  • Feelies: The H. R. Giger poster.
  • Football Fight Song: "Jock-O-Rama" (See Rugby Is Slaughter below.)
  • Franken-X: The title is a portmanteau of Frankenstein and Jesus Christ.
  • Get Out!: "Soup Is Good Food" about people becoming unemployed without the employers caring about their fate.
  • Inherent in the System: "At My Job", though every song could apply.
  • Interrupted Suicide: A sinister version (It Makes Sense in Context) of this trope can be found in the final verse of "Soup Is Good Food".
  • Job Song: "At My Job":
    I'm working at my job
    I'm so happy
    More boring every day
    But they pay me
  • Karma Houdini: "Goons Of Hazzard":
    We leave you in a pool of blood
    and we always get off scot-free.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Jello sings "I'm working at my job; I'm so happy" in a completely monotone, emotionless voice.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: A theme in most of the tracks, most notably "Stars And Stripes Of Corruption".
    Of the stars and stripes of corruption
    Makes me feel so ashamed to be an American
    When we're too stuck up to learn from our mistakes
    Trying to start another Vietnam
    While fiddling while Rome burns at home
    (...) Thank you for the toilet paper
    But your flag is meaningless to me
    Look around, we're all people
    Who needs countries anyway?
    Our land I love it too
    I think I love it more than you
    I care enough to fight
  • Network Decay: "MTV Get Off The Air" attacks the tactics of the network, pretending to be giving rock 'n' roll to their audience and being a pioneer, despite having very conservative viewpoints and slowly sedating their audience's imaginations.
  • Never My Fault: "A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch":
    When pesticides get banned we're safe up north
    We just sell them to those other countries
    Soon there's lots of exotic deformed babies
    Somehow that's not our fault
  • One-Word Title: "Frankenchrist" and the track "Hellnation".
  • Patriotic Fervor: "Stars And Stripes Of Corruption"
    Tell me who's the real patriots
    The Archie Bunker slobs waving flags?
    Or the people with the guts to work
    For some real change
  • Protest Song: Many.
  • Rebellious Spirit: All tracks rebel against the system, but also offer alternatives.
  • Refuge in Audacity: This album will definitely rub some people the wrong way.
  • Rugby Is Slaughter: "Jock-O-Rama" describes a government sponsored high school American football tournament as a slaughterfield:
    Now boys, this game ain't played for fun
    You're going out there to win
    How d'ya win?
    Get out there
    And snap the other guy's knee!
    Beat 'em up! beat 'em up!
    Ra ra ra
    Snap those spinal cords
    Ha ha ha
    The star quarterback lies injured
    Unconscious on the football field
    Looks like his neck's been broken
    Seems to happen somewhere every year
    His mom and dad clutch themselves and cry
    Their favorite son will never walk again
    Coach says, that boy gave a hundred percent
    What spirit
    What a man
  • Satire: On politics, the USA, corporations, religion, TV, work, high school and the military.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Most of the tracks are very cynical, but the final one , "Stars and Stripes of Corruption", combines a long tirade against jingoism, xenophobia, disastrous foreign policy and "the blind Me Generation" with verses like:
    We can start by not lying so much
    And treating other people like dirt
    It's easy not to base our lives on how much we can scam
    Look around, we're all people
    Who needs countries anyway?.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • "At My Job"
    I'm working at my job, I'm so happy!!
    • "MTV Get Off The Air"
    There's something I don't like about a band who always smiles
  • Stepford Suburbia: "This Could Be Anywhere", where several universal miserable problems are described.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Car brakes in "Jock-O-Rama".
  • Sucky School: "Jock-O-Rama" and "The Stars And Stripes Of Corruption" where the band criticizes schools for putting more emphasis on competition than education.
  • Suicide as Comedy: The fired employee in "Soup Is Good Food" isn't allowed to kill himself by jumping off a bridge, because "a tourist might see you/ and we wouldn't want that."
  • Take That!: The American government, corrupt politicians, MTV, capitalism, working, war, the army and high school.
  • Textless Album Cover: It's a photo of a Shriners parade. The title is on the infamous inner sleeve.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: See the "At My Job" example above under Stepford Smiler and Lyrical Dissonance. Played for Drama.
  • Uncommon Time: Part of the chorus of "MTV - Get Off the Air" is in 5/4. Because of the shouted nature of the chorus and the underlying percussion, the effect of this section is roughly the musical equivalent of a boot to the head.
  • Un-person: In "Soup Is Good Food" the fired employee is informed: "You're snipped, you no longer exist".
  • War Is Hell: "Chicken Farm".
    How many more children
    Will be killed or die at birth
    Deformed by Agent Orange
    In our food chain forever more?
  • Wham Line: All over the album.
  • While Rome Burns: "The Stars And Stripes Of Corruption".
    When we're too stuck up to learn from our mistakes
    Trying to start another Vietnam
    While fiddling while Rome burns at home
  • You Are Number 6: "At My Job":
    Your time card says your name's Joe
    But we'll call you 6-3-0.
  • You Watch Too Much X: "MTV Get Off The Air", a pointed attack at MTV and people who are glued to the screen watching it.