teh last sucker iz u 5

Posted by othiym23 Sat, 26 Apr 2008 01:33:00 GMT

After spending the week wrestling with my own bad conscience, trying to decide just how accountable to hold myself for the music I own by murderers, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and other sorts of people with whom I do not hold, it’s something of a blessing to listen to something I can wholeheartedly support: the most recent Ministry record is loud, it is pissed, and it is pissed for all the right reasons. We are tangled in the thresher of a very stupid war, we are governed by mendacious, authoritarian idiots who have committed very real crimes against whatever morality we collectively share, and our society is beset by corruption – corporate, environmental, moral – on all sides. Al Jourgenson belts out all these sentiments and more with the same cartoony hard-edged clarity that has always been Ministry’s stock in trade.

The Last Sucker is a very fine Ministry album on its own merits, being at least as good as Psalm 69, and having one or two songs that are far better than anything on that album. Somewhere along the line Ministry transformed from an arty industrial techno parody of thrash metal into the real thing, and on this album they can stand toe to toe with Strapping Young Lad – the band who, in my opinion, took the latent promise of Burning Inside and converted it into something powerful and real, in much the same way that the Pinocchio at the end of the tale is more real than the puppet at the beginning. It’s not real subtle, but isn’t that the point?

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Ministry is a product of Clan Bush. Ministry’s finest albums (StigmataThe Land of Rape and Honey and Burning InsideThe Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, of course) were a product of Bush I, and during the Clinton years, Jourgenson – and Ministry – sunk into a torpor that has only lifted in the last couple years of Bush II’s seemingly endless reign. There have been tons of distractions in Jourgenson’s life (smack, booze, swingin’ dick contests with ex-bandmates and miscellaneous others), but I have this pet theory that he takes the Bushes personally, and that’s what reignited his fire. They’ve fucked up his country, they’ve fucked up the world, and – most importantly – they’ve fucked up the reputation of Texas, and that shit will not stand.

Looked at in that light, it makes sense that Jourgenson claims The Last Sucker will be the final Ministry album. This time next year, the Texans will have left the White House (at least until the Jenna / Barb ticket in 2024), and the United States will in all likelihood have an entirely different set of problems to confront. Jourgenson’s bête noir will have retired to the ranch, obdurate in his refusal to take any responsibility for the wholesale fuckup that was the 43rd Presidency. In my mind I see Jourgenson with a bottle of Jägermeister in one hand, watching the George W Bush Library burn to the ground as the tears stream down his face, having come as close as he dares to facing down his own Colonel Kurtz at last.


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  1. Avatar
    Jesse about 3 hours later:

    Erm, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a copy of Burning Inside or Stigmata. Are they singles or something?

  2. Avatar
    Forrest about 3 hours later:

    Stigmata coverBurning Inside cover

    Don’t you remember my huge Stigmata poster?

    But of course, I meant The Land of Rape and Honey and The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. I need to start getting a lot more sleep.

    Teh last sucker iz me!

  3. Avatar
    Invisible Oranges 7 days later:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Ministry lately, and while I agree that The Last Sucker is a good record, I don’t think it’s as good Psalm 69. Somewhere along the line Ministry lost some mystery and darkness and became straight-up pissed-off. Which suits their purposes, and which makes their last three records hit hard. But they just don’t have the apocalyptic aura that Psalm 69 had.

  4. Avatar
    Forrest 8 days later:

    It would have been helpful for me to state my own prejudices as background there, viz: I agree with you that somewhere along the line Ministry lost some of their mystery and darkness, but I think that by Psalm 69 it was already gone. “Dream Song” is where that sense of mystery ends. “Jesus Built My Hotrod” is a fun song, but it doesn’t have the spookiness of “Hizbollah” or “Dream Song”. Or even “Isle of Man”, truth be told (I’ve got a weak spot a mile wide for that song).

  5. Avatar
    mmo 5 months later:

    Thanks for giving me the heads up on The Last Sucker. Will be sure to check it out.