Bad Brains -- Pay to Cum!
"Stay Close to Me," a non-album reggae track whose mellow melody is occasionally punctured by slashing guitars, presents a young man's impassioned plea to a woman to stay with him rather than return to a man the former believes is inferior to himself.
This single is truly one of the undisputed classic punk releases and is undeniably a fantastic introduction to the Janus-faced nature of Bad Brains. One the one hand, you've got one of the most technically adept punk bands (despite the lo-fi qualities of the disk, little can disguise the sheer talent carried over from the group's origins as the jazz-fusion outfit Mind Power) playing one of the most blisteringly supersonic tracks ever recorded and, on the other, you've got the same group of guys playing some great reggae.
Of course, this makes sense. H. R., the band's frontman, was just as likely to be arrested for busting a fan's head as he was for selling pot to an undercover cop.
While the entire group is tight on the recording, the Hudson brothers (singer H. R. and drummer Earl) give especially stellar virtuoso performances. With H. R.'s unusually wide (and delightfully nasal) vocal range and Earl's jazz-on-amphetamines drumming, "Pay to Cum!" was light years ahead of its time: hardcore played at the concentrated speed most subsequent bands failed to equal with the musical complexity associated with post-hardcore acts before hardcore was even a bona-fide genre.
Sobriquet Grade: 95 (A).