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Every Fugazi Album Ranked

There are few bands with a discography as staggeringly great as the one Fugazi produced during their twelve year run. Ranking these albums is such an intimidating feat that no publication we are aware of has ever attempted to do so. Well, we may be a lot of things here at Hard Times, but we’re definitely not cowards, so let’s get right to it.

6. Steady Diet of Nothing (1991)

Many fans will argue that the rawness of this record puts it at the top of the list, while more discerning fans will tell you that it sounds terrible and the songs are underwhelming. Even the kid on the cover appears to be wondering where the band’s intensity went. I am well aware that this album is sacred to a lot of readers, but before you come at me in the comments section, please note that Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto have both admitted that it is not a good record. They should know, too, since they made the damn thing themselves, sans producer. Much of the experimentation on “Steady Diet of Nothing” was executed with greater success on their future releases, so let’s just move on.

Play It Again: “Reclamation”
Skip It: “Long Division,” “Stacks”

5. Red Medicine (1995)

Somehow “Red Medicine” is Fugazi’s most commercially successful album, which demonstrates how meaningless such a signifier can be. While some of the band’s best work is featured in this collection, the classics are often overshadowed or otherwise interrupted by lengthy and disjointed instrumentals. The resulting slog is not worth the highlights offered here.

Play It Again: “Bed For The Scraping”
Skip It: “Combination Lock”, “Version”, “Birthday Pony”



Honorable Mention: 13 Songs (1989)

“13 Songs” is actually a compilation of the band’s first two EPs and because of this we can’t in good conscience include it in the official rankings. We got a cryptic postcard from Ian himself saying “don’t you dare include this in your childish rankings.” As a standalone album, “13 Songs” is a near perfect collection. Pretty impressive considering that Guy wasn’t even really playing guitar in the band yet. Regardless, when compared with the entire discography, this record is a bit stale, no matter how fucking great “Waiting Room” is.


Play It Again: “Glue Man” “Suggestion”
Skip It: “Burning”

4. Repeater (1990)

Ian decided to let Guy start playing guitar on this album. It was a failed attempt to curb his disruptive stage antics. Sonically, however, the results were mostly successful. The band enlisted not one, but two producers for this one. Unfortunately, neither of them could produce a lozenge for Guy. To make matters worse, the angular guitars on this one would later be cited to have heavily influenced insufferable bands like Franz Ferdinand and the Rapture. For this unforgivable reason alone, we have no choice but to rank this one a bit lower.

Play It Again: “Turnover” “Greed”
Skip It: “Brendan #1”

3. End Hits (1998)

On “End Hits”, Fugazi’s penchant for ambience starts to fully coalesce with their penchant for absolutely tearing shit up. Hell, even bassist Joe Lally decided to sing his contributions at an audible volume for this one! Still, Ian makes us sit through four minutes of the barely listenable “Pink Frosty” before getting to Guy’s fiery closer, “F/D”

Play It Again: “Five Corporations” “Foreman’s Dog”
Skip It: “Pink Frosty”



2. In On the Kill Taker (1993)

This album is so streamlined and crisp that if you told me it was released this year, I might believe you. Fresh out of the creative slump that birthed “Steady Diet of Nothing”, “In on the Kill Taker” finds the band playing at peak precision. It also finds Guy finally shaking his four-year cold to deliver some of the finest vocals of his entire career. All involved were ready to obliterate the preceding album with an absolute shit-kicker of a record.

Play It Again: “Smallpox Champion” “Walken’s Syndrome”
Skip It: If you insist, “23 Beats Off” is basically the only miss on this record.

1. The Argument (2001)

Anybody who tells you that they don’t like “The Argument” is likely the same type of person who will look you dead in the eyes and say the Beatles weren’t a good band; both opinions are incorrect and only uttered to manufacture a false sense of hip contrarianism. Every single moment on this album is perfect. Any aspect of Fugazi’s earlier work that sounded overwrought or unfinished is finely tuned here like a Master’s thesis attempting to save a rocky final semester. Fugazi ultimately decided to drop out after this, and why the fuck not?


Play It Again: Duh.
Skip It: Skip whatever you want, but your taste will be forever judged if you do.

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