Minor Threat – Complete Discography

Minor Threat - Complete Discography

Before Fugazi, there was Minor Threat. As a part of the D.C. hardcore punk scene, Ian MacKaye & Co. attacked adult standards of conformity, railed against religious and racial extremism, and incidentally kickstarted the straight edge movement. The Complete Discography album contains every track that the band recorded during their short tenure.1 Out of twenty-six songs, only nine pass the two-minute mark.2 Each song is presented in chronological order of release, which facilitates one’s listening experience by demonstrating Minor Threat’s (albeit short-lived) evolution from just another D.C. punk group.

Taking the three-chord attack of The Ramones to its logical extreme, Minor Threat’s early two EPs (tracks 1-14) are blistering hardcore shouts toward The Man. Out of Step, the band’s only full-length3, comprises tracks 15-23; the songs are longer, with guitar passages akin to Dead Kennedys or Bad Brains, that contrast with the directness of Minor Threat’s younger D.C. colleagues. The subject matter is personal relationships and hypocrisy instead of sociopolitical themes. The final three tracks are from a posthumous extended-play humorously titled Salad Days, where the band teases themselves for selling out and getting soft at the time of their break-up4.

Recommended for fans of early post-hardcore and punk rock. The Complete Discography is a great introduction to the D.C. hardcore punk scene and Dischord Records, although the completely uninitiated may dislike the low-fidelity of the first half. Some ideas might seem cliché by today’s standards, but that’s only because Minor Threat – much like Black Flag – is the archetype for hardcore punk. If Complete Discography sounds like it’s been done before, that’s because Minor Threat did it first. Minor Threat is one of the very few bands where their work may be recommended with regards to its historical value alone, as it can facilitate one’s appreciation of already favored bands.

1. Filler – (1:32) – ★★★★★
2. I Don’t Wanna Hear It – (1:14) – ★★★★☆
3. Seeing Red – (1:02) – ★★★★☆
4. Straight Edge – (0:45) – ★★★★★
5. Small Man, Big Mouth – (0:55) – ★★★★★
6. Screaming at a Wall – (1:31) – ★★★★★
7. Bottled Violence – (0:54) – ★★★★★
8. Minor Threat – (1:29) – ★★★★★5
9. Stand Up – (0:52) – ★★★★
10. 12XU [Wire cover] – (1:04) – ★★★☆☆
11. In My Eyes – (2:49) – ★★★★★
12. Out of Step (with the World) – (1:15) – ★★★☆☆
13. Guilty of Being White – (1:17) – ★★★★☆6
14. (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone [Paul Revere and the Raiders cover – (2:11) – ★★★★★
15. Betray – (3:04) – ★★★★★
16. It Follows – (1:50) – ★★★★★
17. Think Again – (2:18) – ★★★★★
18. Look Back and Laugh – (3:16) – ★★★★☆
19. Sob Story – (1:50) – ★★★★★
20. No Reason – (1:57) – ★★★★★
21. Little Friend – (2:17) – ★★★★★
22. Out of Step – (1:20) – ★★★★★7
23. Cashing In – (3:43) – ★★★★★
24. Stumped – (1:52) – ★★★☆☆
25. Good Guys (Don’t Wear White) [The Standells cover] – (2:22) – ★★★★★
26. Salad Days – (2:45) – ★★★★☆

Overall: ★★★★½

1Few of the early hardcore punk bands lasted longer than two or three years, as many of their members were teenagers or early twentysomethings. Ian MacKaye was 21 upon the release of Out of Step in 1983, at the end of band’s career. Guitarist Brian Baker was 15 when the band started.
2This might not sound like a small deal with the saturation of hardcore punk bands nowadays, but this was mind-blowing back then. Early rockabilly and R&B singles were usually two-and-a-half to three minutes long for radio airplay and because that’s pretty much all the run-time that a 7”, 45-RPM vinyl record could handle (hence why most modern pop songs are that long today). Partially due to ideology and partially due to practicality, punk rockers would try to fit as many songs as they could onto a single 45. It would cut down on money spent per record, and early bands could get their message(s) out pretty efficiently. Because if there’s one thing that punk doesn’t have, it’s a lack of things to scream about.
3With an original runtime of 21:36!
4Wonder if that’s where Refused got it.
5Anthem for disenfranchised college students everywhere.
6This one is controversial: the lyrics ostensibly detail MacKaye’s frustration with racism directed toward him during his time at an inner city high-school with a predominantly African-American population. It’s easy to misinterpret this as the rants of an oblivious white kid.
7I prefer the re-recorded version from the Out of Step album than the original 7″ version. It’s simply better recorded, and it features MacKaye’s minor spoken word part.


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