Album Review: "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables," Dead Kennedys

Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, the debut LP from Dead Kennedys, came out 40 years ago today. 

It's a darn good record, but don't kid yourself; it's not "ahead of its time." In fact, it's very of its time, with paper thin production and references to Jane Fonda, Jerry Brown (back when Jello didn't like him), and Pol Pot (the worst, least effective strain, if you ask me). 

See, Jello wrote all the songs before Ronald Reagan got elected, so there's a very 1970s, Carter-era, "the hippies sold out and became yuppies" kinda vibe throughout the album. Songs like "Kill the Poor" and "When You Get Drafted" are actually attacking the corporate neoliberal establishment, so in that way, I guess the album is rather timely, even if Jello doesn't see Trump as a solution to this. 

Otherwise, "California Uber Alles" sounds like Blue Oyster Cult, "Holiday in Cambodia" (which might be problematic due to its use of the "n-word") should have long been used as a travel ad jingle, and "Let's Lynch the Landlord" (which might be problematic due to its use of the word "lynch") is total 60s garage throwback with the catchiest surf solo ever. And I still think that their cover of "Viva Las Vegas" is a hoot. 

Too bad Jello Biafra has basically become a slightly quirkier Bono.

Edwin Oslan
Revenge of Riff Raff
3rd September, 2020
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