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Blank Generation

Blank Generation

A classic early punk album by Richard Hell and the Voidoids, released in 1977 on Warner Brother's "Sire Records" imprint.

The lyrics here may be somewhat nasty and nihilistic but have more poetry going for them than much of what was later done under the "punk" banner.

The off-kilter, high-energy of the music is driven largely by Robert Quine's rapid, complex angular licks, show cased most impressively on the lead song "Love Comes in Spurts", where hell rages against the impermanece of love in the real world compared to the imagination of his youth:

Cuz love comes in spurts
in dangerous flirts
and it murders your heart--
They didn't tell you that part.

There's a minor controversy about the meaning of the song "Blank Generation". Many people adopted it as a nihilistic anthem of the mid 70s, but an off-hand remark about how Hell meant it as a comment on "generation" songs (e.g. "My Generation", etc), produced a long standing notion that it wasn't really about *being* blank, it was blank in the sense of fill-in-the-space-on-the-form. Pretty clearly that's only one of the possible meanings though, and more recently (in a letter in to The Wire magazine) Hell has pointed out that there are other obvious resonances in the lyrics, e.g. references to blank walls, vacant lots:

it's fascinatin to observe what the mirror does
but when I dine it's for the wall that I set a place

To hold the tv to my lips the air so packed with cash
Then carry it up flights of stairs and drop it in the vacant lot

And the chorus:

I belong to the blank generation
and I can take it or leave it each time

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