Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
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Well, I can’t believe it has been 20 years since Propagandhi’s How to Clean Everything was released, and yet behold, the 20th anniversary re-mastered release is upon us! For most, this will be more of a review on the upside or downside of re-buying a classic you already have on the shelf, so lets get to it.
Before certain excitement hits, understand that this is a re-master and not a re-mix; meaning, the treble is still rather high on most of the album and the compression still sounds on every crash of the cymbals. What you can expect from this is a little bit of a more balanced sound overall and a few goodies to those who like demos and unreleased(ish) tracks. There are 7 bonus tracks total, 4 demos (Middle Finger Response, Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette, This Might Be Satire, and Fuck Machine) and 3 that were cut from the original but were released on other albums (Pigs Will Pay and Homophobes Are Just Pissed ‘Cause They Can’t Get Laid, and Leg-Hold Trap). If you don’t have How To Clean a Couple of Things or Where Quality is Job # 1, these tracks may be new to you. As for the demos, they are actually decent quality for being early 90’s mic’d demos and give a different feel to the songs from their studio counterparts.
As for the album itself, what could I add that hasn’t been said over these 20 years? It is a classic! It is a highly satirical reflection of the growing scene at that time and a mockery of socially accepted ignorance. It is a blend of the poppy generic sound that radio stations started playing and added a mocking yell (Anti-Manifesto, Ska Sucks, This Might Be Satire) and some mild thrash (Stick The Fucking Flag Up Your Goddamn Ass, You Sonofabitch, Who Will Help Me Bake This Bread). Granted, there are a few showcases of John Samsons vocals as well (Showdown, Leg-Hold Trap), which many regard as “horrible”, but hey, to each their own right?
Bottom line: I wouldn’t feel right mindlessly selling this as a “must have” to those who already have the original. The truth is, it has some nostalgia to those of us who have been fans of the band since the early days but it truly adds very little as the album needed to be re-mixed, not re-mastered. If you are a vinyl collector such as myself, you will most likely shell out the money to maintain the discography. If you already own the album and do not care about demos or previously released tracks, you may want to skip out on picking this up. However, if you do not own the original, I would highly recommend you pick it up!
Favorite tracks: Stick The Fucking Flag Up Your Goddamn Ass, You Sonofabitch, Who Will Help Me Break This Bread?, Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette, Pigs Will Pay, Fuck Machine