Why is Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
A sprawl of 43 eclectic gems add up to a greater whole, and that price is right on.
Some stats & info about Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? SoCal Bands, Rock Music, College Rock, Hardcore Punk, Punk Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #267
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was Double Nickels on the Dime released? 1984
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #723 out of 1,000
Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime 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.
What does Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
While I was in the long (and fun!) research phase of this here best 1,000 albums ever project, I had a wild revelation while listening to the Minutemen song, “Viet Nam,” off of Double Nickels on the Dime. I immediately fired up an e-mail thread to a group of college friends, some of whom are accomplished musicians. I sent a link to “Viet Nam” with the following message:
Am I crazy or does this sound like every song we heard performed by upstate NY bands circa 1994 COMBINED?
My man Dan, an incredible percussionist, responded with, “Ha yeah, pretty much! Double nickels is a classic album!” And my dude Dave, an amazing trumpet player (plus guitarist besides) chimed in with, “Uncanny – really brings back memories, even though I’ve never heard that band before!”
Obviously, this will only fully resonate with a very small group of people, but I was absolutely delighted that they agreed with this sentiment.
To take a step back, Double Nickels on the Dime is a wildly eclectic album, and the fact that this single song caused this amount of excitement among our group friends is sort of a microcosm of all of the disparate little gems around this massive 43 song album that make up a greater whole.
Back to “Viet Nam”: the reason that it really does embody the sound of upstate New York bands during the mid-‘90s – by way of an ostensible punk band from SoCal from the mid-‘80s! – is its upbeat funk-meets-ska punk-meets-alt rock vibe in part, but I think the dynamic that nails it most is the specific spacing in the music that allows each element (guitar, bass, drums, vocals) to really stand out, and production that makes it sound like a really great live recording.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve listened to “Viet Nam” a ton over the last few years, and what’s subsequently mind blowing is that the next track on Double Nickels is a two minute Spanish classical guitar number without lyrics called “Cohesion,” which alone shows how talented singer and guitarist D. Boone is.
And… yeah, that’s just two of the 41 songs. It’s a lot. It’s a good thing. Here’s another rando note I jotted down at some point: “These guys are kind of simpatico with Camper Van Beethoven in some ways with the punk attitude but super eclectic and irony infused musical stylings (or something!).”
Then we get to “Corona,” which if nothing else is already immortal due to Jackass using its opening section as its theme song.
I’ll end with highlighting “Two Beads at the End,” which is yet another highlight. But also noteworthy for me because it drove me crazy for a while because I knew another band had at least sort of incorporated its hook.
That band would be Blur and the song is “Movin’ On,” off their fantastic self-titled album.
Or maybe Minutemen just do an incredible job of influencing future sounds of the 1990s? I’ll let you be the judge.
Pop culture things that have something to do with Double Nickels on the Dime
I’ve been slowly making my way through a great book called Our Band Could Be Your Life, about the “American Indie Underground, 1981-1991.” The second long section features the Minutemen, and its really interesting stuff. The first section covers their fellow SoCal-based hardcore band, Black Flag.