Why is Wipers’ Over the Edge on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
An early ‘80s gem with a super unique sound coming out of the gloom of the Pacific Northwest.
What does Wipers’ Over the Edge mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
One of the great joys of embarking on this admittedly crazy best 1,000 albums ever project is getting the opportunity to explore bands I was sort of aware of but hadn’t had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with. And the Wipers are a band that I increasingly adore and admire the more I listen to them.
The title track on this album, “Over the Edge,” is such a pleasing rush of a sound that reminds me a little bit of other bands such as Mission of Burma (see: Signals, Calls and Marches, #987 of best 1,000 albums ever) and Beat Happening and Wire (see: Pink Flag, #851 of best 1,000 albums ever) but at the same time is entirely its own thing.
And I’d wager, as many others have commented on over the years, the geographic isolation and pre-Internet environment of the Pacific Northwest (a little more on this below) helped to foster a generation of bands and artists that had a unique sound.
“No One Wants an Alien” is a great mix of punk and new wave with perhaps a touch of a surf rock vibe.
It’s no mystery what “Doom Town” is about, evoking a moody vibe of young lives of alienation.
People with blank stares
No one who cares
Living a doom town
Sound wise I keep thinking about what Stone Temple Pilots would be doing a decade later when listening to “Doom Town.”
I love the way that “So Young” patiently builds its moody, garage punk meets indie rock vibe.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Wipers’ Over the Edge
I grew up on the east coast (Long Island, New York to be specific), moved to California in my mid-twenties, and have now lived in Seattle over six years as of this writing. I mention this because I became enamored of the Pacific Northwest (PNW as we call it up here) music scene circa my hearing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time as a teenager.
The Wipers are absolutely part of this legacy. And, going back even further, there’s a terrific garage band from Washington state called The Sonics that formed in the 1960s that I believe had as big an influence on the PNW “sound” and American garage and punk music as any other band.
Check out how The Sonics’ “Strychnine” is both fun and rocking and dark and gritty at the same time. It’s as if The Kingsmen became a punk band overnight or something. In any event, they’re great.
Some stats & info about Wipers – Over the Edge
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Punk Rock, Rock Music, Indie Rock, American Underground, New Wave
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Over the Edge released? 1983
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #748 out of 1,000
Wipers’ Over the Edge on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.