“At Home He’s a Tourist” – Gang of Four

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Here’s punk-disco from hell. The pounding bass feels like consistent punches to the head /gut and the discordant lead guitars feel like razor blades against your skin. Somewhere, Flea from the Chili Peppers is taking notes. Sure, you can dance to it. Though you’ll probably be bleeding to death by the end.

Key lyrics:
“Down on the disco floor … They make their profit … From the things they sell … To help you cover … All the rubbers you hide … In your top left pocket”

Consume and die.

“To Hell With Poverty” – Gang of Four

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There’s just something about the marriage of loud, dissonant guitars and throbbing funk beats that makes the Gang of Four one of the coolest and most innovative bands of all time.  You can definitely hear the influence on such bands as the Cure, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Killing Joke.

“Natural’s Not In It” – Gang of Four

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Abrasive punk-funk (English Marxist variety) from the late 1970s. Sounds a lot like the early Cure, only with heavier bass and drums. I’m not sure if one band copied the other or if both bands were riding the same musical wavelength (their debuts came out around the same time). From the Gang of Four’s classic album “Entertainment!”

“Natural’s Not In It” made an appearance on the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” in 2006. However, its most notorious recent appearance was on a Microsoft Xbox Kinect commercial. A lot of people harrumphed over an extremely left-wing and anti-Capitalist Gang of Four song being used to sell a product. The band allegedly defended themselves by saying they were making a statement, acknowledging their own complicity in the Capitalist machine … or something like that.  Whatever.  I believe a band has a right to do whatever it wants to with its music.  However, when you choose to make strong statements, you have to acknowledge you’re going to get some grief if you do something that seems to be perpendicular to what you originally proclaimed.