Yesterday the highly influential hardcore band 7 Seconds decided to call it quits… you can read their official statement here, but TLDR: due to a bunch of personal health problems they’re hanging it up). Lightening the mood a bit is punk satire site The Hard Times with their piece about “Aging Punk Marks Himself Safe on Facebook Following 7 Seconds Breakup“, but I figured I post about my favorite albums by the band.
Reno Nevada’s 7 Seconds were one of the earlier hardcore bands, forming back in 1980 and keeping a positive message throughout the entirety of their career, which spanned for 38 years. Known for their energetic live shows and catchy anthems, I thought it would be fitting to do a bit of a retrospective of all of their studio full length albums: the good, the bad, and the everything in between (shit gets weird around the early 90s).
1. The Crew (1984)
Probably my favorite record by the band, their debut LP The Crew is often listed as not only as one of the best 7 Seconds albums ever made, but as one of the more influential hardcore albums around. The 18 song album (24 if you count the live songs that were released on the CD version) clocks in around 20 minutes with it’s fast and energetic anthems about staying young, getting women involved in the punk scene, and unity within the scene itself.
2. Walk Together, Rock Together (1985)
The original 1985 release of Walk Together, Rock Together was technically a 7 song EP (with the 1986 pressing adding a couple of live tracks which is the most popular version out there), it was too influential to not include in the list. Walk Together, Rock Together sees the same style of fast, posi punk rock. This album is perhaps most famously known for it’s title track and their cover of “99 Red Balloons”.
3. New Wind (1986)
As the name of the album suggests, this is where things start to get a bit different. When the band released New Wind, they got a lot of flack for it as they started to experiment a bit with their style, something that was a running theme for them throughout the late 80s and early 90s. Like all experimental albums, people either love it or hate it.
New Wind had a handful of their more classic punk songs (including the title track, which is a great song by the way), and some other solid more rock and roll influenced songs that are a bit reminiscent of bands such as Husker Du.
If hardcore purists weren’t turned off by the new direction of New Wind, they were definitely turned off by their 1988 release of Ourselves. The blistering pace of early songs such found on The Crew and Walk Together, Rock Together were traded in for the more developed, expanded post-punk sound that is found on Ourselves. Released around the same time Fugazi released their self titled EP and a year before 13 Songs, people who prefer Fugazi over Minor Threat would find refuge with this one.
Soulforce Revolution (1989)
Expanding a bit on the sound found on Ourselves, Soulforce Revolution is where things really start to get weird. This album could be mistaken for an REM/U2 album, and took more cues from college rock bands than anything hardcore. Personally I’m not a fan of this one at all, but there are definitely plenty of people who like this one.
Old School (1991)
Perhaps in an effort to win back their hardcore fans, Old School was actually their very first album. Limitedly released back in 1983 under the name United We Stand, it wasn’t until 1991 that it was re-issued as Old School. Perhaps to win back their early hardcore fans, or perhaps to show people who only knew their latest, more experimental albums 7 Seconds hardcore roots, plenty of the songs were earlier, rougher versions of songs found on The Crew or various EPs.
Out The Shizzy (1993)
Out The Shizzy pissed off a lot of people when it was released. Not only was it a complete departure of their hardcore roots (which they did for a while at this point), but it was also a complete departure of their post-hardcore and alt-rock sound as well. Experimenting a bit with the style that was huge at the time, Out The Shizzy is a straight grunge album, and sounds closer to Nirvana than anything they’ve previously done.
The Music, The Message (1995)
The Music, The Message was the first and only release by 7 Seconds on a major label (Sony), and is easily their most produced and polished album. The songs were a bit of a return to form to punk for the band and marked the end of their experimentation phase, but were poppier than their earlier hardcore releases. The message was still the same as ever with Kevin Seconds singing against racism, sexism, etc, and the songs were pop-punk similar to Green Day’s Dookie, although it featured a cover of Sham 69’s “If The Kids Are United”.
Good To Go (1999)
Good To Go marked a true return to form, and is one of my favorite 7 Seconds albums. The songs were back to the fast, melodic hardcore seen in 7 Seconds early releases as they left their major label. With 16 songs finishing in around 26 minutes, Good To Go was straight forward, catchy, energetic melodic hardcore.
Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over (2005)
Similar to Good To Go, 7 Seconds finally found their sound again. Playing fast, aggressive punk rock, Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over found the balance between catchy skate punk and melodic hardcore. If the early albums production values are too dated for you (which shame on you), both this and Good To Go are the perfect compromise and introduced plenty of new punks to the band.
Leave A Light On (2014)
The first album from 7 Seconds in almost a decade at the time of its release and the final album from the Reno punks, like the previous two albums it was clear that 7 Seconds have found their sound, balancing melodic punk rock with their hardcore roots. A ripper of an album and a must for anyone who liked the previous two albums.