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Music / Pink Flag

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"All right... Here it is... Again. And it's called... "12 X U!!"
—Colin Newman, just before creating Hardcore Punk in "12 X U" note 

Pink Flag is the 1977 debut album by Art Punk band Wire. It took the basic ethos of Punk Rock and stripped it down even further: tracks ran as short as 1 minute down to 30 seconds at blistering speed, songs didn't always "end" so much as "stop", some tracks barely used more than two chords, and the overall composition from the instruments to the vocals was cold and detached.

Often seen as their defining statement, the album was hugely influential to the Post-Punk, Alternative Rock, and Hardcore Punk of The '80s, the single "12 X U" in particular being one of the forerunners of Hardcore Punk. It was placed at #412 on Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The band would add electronics and Progressive Rock influences to their sound for their second album, Chairs Missing, thereby becoming Trope Codifiers of Post-Punk, but they would never sound like Pink Flag ever again.



  1. "Reuters" - 3:03
  2. "Field Day for the Sundays" - 0:28
  3. "Three Girl Rhumba" - 1:23
  4. "Ex Lion Tamer" - 2:19
  5. "Lowdown" - 2:26
  6. "Start to Move" - 1:13
  7. "Brazil" - 0:41
  8. "It's So Obvious" - 0:53
  9. "Surgeon's Girl" - 1:17
  10. "Pink Flag" - 3:47
  11. "The Commercial" - 0:49
  12. "Straight Line" - 0:44
  13. "106 Beats That" - 1:12
  14. "Mr. Suit" - 1:25
  15. "Strange" - 3:58
  16. "Fragile" - 1:18
  17. "Mannequin" - 2:37
  18. "Different to Me" - 0:43
  19. "Champs" - 1:46
  20. "Feeling Called Love" - 1:22
  21. "12 X U" - 1:56


This album provides examples of:

  • Hardcore Punk: Trope Makers with the album overall, particularly "12 X U". The songs' brevity and aggression were heavily influential to Hardcore Punk bands such as Minor Threat.
  • Incredibly Long Note: The last word in "Reuters".
  • Instrumentals: "The Commercial".
  • Lighter and Softer: After the heavy first half of the album, the second includes Buzzcocks-like Pop Punk songs "Fragile" and "Mannequin".
  • Madness Mantra: "Pink Flag" ends with an extended sequence of the band screaming "HOW MANY?!" as the tempo continuously speeds up.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: A pink flag risen on a flat background.
  • Miniscule Rocking: One of the album's trademarks. The band never play a song beyond what seems necessary, thus most songs lasting between 0:30 - 1:30.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Brazil", "106 Beats That", "Mannequin". Most of these titles relate to the content of the lyrics in some way, but a few are more oblique: "Brazil" refers to the samba-like groove of Gotobed's drum part, and "106 Beats That" was originally written to be 106 beats long.
  • Pun-Based Title: The "X" in "12 X U" is self-censorship for "fuck" (so "12 X U" = "want to fuck you").
  • Punk Rock: The artiest and coldest Punk Rock album to boot.
  • Post-Punk: The album is an Ur-Example with its cold and angular sound. The band would become Trope Codifiers with their next two albums.
  • Signs of the End Times: "Reuters":
    "Prices have risen since the government fell
    Casualties increase as the enemy shell
    The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive
    And sooner or later the end will arrive"
  • Take That!: "Field Day for the Sundays" is one directed at tabloid journalism.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: "Feeling Called Love":
    What is this feeling called love?
    What is this crazy thing I can't explain anyhow?
  • Word Purée Title: "12 X U".
  • Word Salad Title: "Three Girl Rhumba", "Ex Lion Tamer", "106 Beats That".


Example of: