Banned in D.C.: Bad Brains Greatest Riffs

The Bad Brains have been my favorite punk band since the moment I first heard I Against I in Justin’s room when I was a freshman in high school. They are possibly the most rhythmically together rock band of all time, and I say that in all sincerity as a freakishly avid fan of Living Colour and Meshuggah.

And dammit, bassist Darryl Jennifer is continually underrated. I’ll never understand why he isn’t universally hailed as a model of what a bass player should be. He’s versatile, solid, flexible, solid, always has a sound that perfectly fits the tune, and is totally solid.

Banned in D.C. is not your basic greatest hits album. A lot of the tracks are not the canonical recordings; for example, “I Against I” is taken from the decidedly lo-fi Omega Sessions instead of the I Against I album — but it’s no less exciting and funky.

This record filled me with love and admiration, and reminded me that it’s well past time to replace all the Bad Brains audio cassettes I had in high school and college that I had to throw away because they wore out.

The only thing I’d change about this CD is the order of the tracks, because all the reggae tunes are grouped together at the end. I like to have them mixed in with the hardcore tunes, like on all other Bad Brains albums. I can’t stay mad for long though, because they included “At the Movies” and a healthy helping of songs from Quickness, which remains their best studio album ever.

You can’t get away with just buying this compilation. You still need all the other Bad Brains records!