Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting

Concrete Blonde
Bloodletting
(Shout Factory)

Though hair metal was still finishing off the last few cans of Aqua Net in 1990, the year actually closed with a fantastic list of influential albums, from Depeche Mode’s Violator to the Sunday’s debut Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. And toward the top of that list sits Concrete Blonde’sBloodletting.

The album, recently re-released from Shout Factory Records with completely remastered tracks and six B-sides and rarities on its 20th anniversary, is still as exciting as when it was originally put out. Songs like “Joey,” “Caroline” and “Tomorrow, Wendy” all have the hallmarks of classic songs.

Bloodletting was the band’s third album and although they still managed to turn out some solid records up until their final break up (one of two) in 2006, this one was by far the band’s finest. Part Beatles and part Siouxsie and the Banshees, Concrete Blonde blended the aesthetics of punk rock and the strong melodies of pop music, with brilliantly dark lyrics (“I told the priest don’t count on any second coming/God got his ass kicked the last time he came down here slumming/He had the balls to come, the gall to die, and then forgive us”).

In our overly-nostalgic world, we take any album that sold over 100,000 copies and re-release it every decade with big fanfare, but in this case the fanfare is well deserved.