Here’s a naive question: how good were The Fix? Their first 7”, “Vengeance” b/w “In This Town,” is the most expensive hardcore EP—is it the best?
A lot of this depends on the answer to the question, how good a song is “Vengeance”? For one thing, it is a *much* better song in the context of a 2-song single than as it appears on this collection of similar-sounding material. It really is the best song here, despite not having a gimmick or, uh, single audible lyric to set itself apart. It’s a great riff; a great recording; a great performance.
Not being markedly different from their other songs, though—which really do run together over the course of the album, especially during the so-so live tracks—“Vengeance” sets the bar high (being the first track), and then each subsequent song is more or less an inferior variation on it, starting with its b-side “In This Town.”
It’s easy to squint and imagine that any of these songs could have been “Vengeance,” if song X had been the first song any of us heard by The Fix, or led off this album. “Cos The Elite” (or “Truth Right Now” or “Candy Store”) is not particularly memorable, but I couldn’t go through it note by note and tell you how it is better or worse than “Vengeance.” And if The Fix wrote one incredible song, and a bunch of other songs that are almost-exactly-the-same, then didn’t they in fact write a bunch of incredible songs??
No. That’s not how things work. If anything, “Vengeance” is diminished here. As a single, it’s very special. Having more of it fails, however, to in fact provide more. Where previously I would play this song over and over, now I just seem to hear it over and over as the record goes on… but diminished somehow. I’m glad, of course, to have all these songs, and to have a fuller picture of the band’s artistry, but it’s not the same as hearing the Velvet Underground’s demos or live work-outs. (Thank god at least that we are spared any “stylistic innovation” à la the dubious reggae stylings of many an ’80s band.)
It’s 2011. This Fix collection came out in 2006. We can now say: The Fix perfected their art in one song, “Vengeance,” and while they were an interesting band other than that, their discography is not littered with an overabundance of classics. Since other bands (Void, The Misfits, Agnostic Front, Minor Threat, Negative Approach) really are just hit after hit, this redundancy in The Fix lets us situate them in the proper scheme of things.
How good are The Fix?
Answer: The Fix are better than the following bands: YDI, White Cross, MDC, Scream, The F.U.’s, Government Issue, D.Y.S., The Necros, Mecht Mensch, The Worst, The Offenders, Code of Honor…
The Fix are worse than the following bands: Crucifix, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Void, N.O.T.A., Dag Nasty, Jerry’s Kids, Negative Approach, Negative FX, Agnostic Front, The Misfits, Antidote, The Dicks, Youth of Today, Poison Idea, The Middle Class…
The Fix are as good as: Articles of Faith, SSD, Die Kreuzen, DRI, Deep Wound, Urban Waste, Koro…
In conclusion—and by analogy: in my mind, $50 is a very wonderful thing. I would never turn down $50 if someone was just giving it away. I have a lot of nice things to say about $50. But $75 is indisputably better. This isn’t to disparage $50 at all. Ideally I would be glad to have both. But The Fix, relative to the classic bands, are undoubtedly the lesser sum.
[Recommended—but better just to find the bootlegs of their two EPs.]