The Spinners

♪ Last Caress (The Misfits, 1980) ♪

In American, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock, Rex Baylon, Track Reviews on January 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

For those unprepared for The Misfits’ brand of raucous and volatile punk rock, it may be difficult to recognize just how brilliant this band once was. With an ever-changing line-up of musicians it can be confusing trying to figure out what songs constitute as authentic Misfits songs and what are merely shallow derivations. An easy way to tell is if Glenn Danzig, the group’s lead vocalist and lyricist, had anything to do with the track’s production, and if he did then it’s a safe bet that what you’ve got is pure Misfits punk rock.

The Misfits, even during their prime, were often derided by many of their punk peers as crude and amateurish musicians; yet it’s not their talent for coming up with catchy pop riffs that had garnered them a loyal fan base, but rather their ability to craft anthemic ballads played at blitzkrieg speeds. Danzig imbues his songs with dark irreverent hardcore streak that references films, the occult, and the brutality of human existence.

A perfect example of their unique brand of ghoul rock can be seen in their a-minute-and-fifty-seven second paean to masculine posturing, “Last Caress”, a song which evokes the image of an angry young Brando from The Wild Ones sneering at those who dare tell him what to do. And yet buried underneath the thunder and crash of drums and guitar is a death wish. The so-called last caress in the song is the final gasp before the outlaw’s death. The sped-up hyperkinetic playing is a counterpoint to the lyrics that beg for relief; the atrocities committed by the narrator are a way for him to conquer his fear of death. Now, with that accomplished, he can find no satisfaction in anything but the prospect of his own death. “Last Caress” is a comic take on the rebel without a cause whose directionless nature has led him to become a parody of a man in revolt.

– Rex Baylon

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