What’s Up With the Kids
5:11 min • Paralogy Records • 2001
Walter Beck reviews
The debut seven-inch from Limp Wrist, What’s Up With the Kids, remains the hardest, meanest, most revolutionary five minutes in American queercore. Forgoing a vibrant celebration of the LGBT lifestyle, this quartet of hardcore punks raises the Rainbow flag in a battle cry, a call to arms for all the brothers who reject the pretty boys and the fashion for which they stand.
Opening with the blistering title track, ‘What’s Up with the Kids’, Limp Wrist strikes at a familiar target in the punk scene, posers. Driven by the choppy guitar work of Mark, vocalist Martin lashes out against the kids in the scene who cling to their Bibles, barking;
What’s up with some of the kids?
Call yourselves hardcore punks
Well you’re full of shit
You’re so not radical you closeted wimp
You got the bible up your ass
And Christ is your pimp
Following on the heels, ‘Stabbed in the Back’ is the shortest cut on the record. Clocking in at thirty-eight seconds, it’s a vicious assault on those who seek “ex-gay” therapy, the heavy, frantic drumming of Paul dominates this track, providing a pounding backing to the indictment against those who turn their backs.
‘Punk Ass Queers’ is one of the highlights of the record, a roaring call to arms and a bold defiance to any semblance of the mainstream. Anti-assimilation, anti-war, anti-authoritarian, this is the anthem of gay revolution in the 21st Century;
Yeah, we’re the freaks in town
Creepy horny queens with our
Won’t wed for the church or state
We’re punk ass queers normalcy is
What we hate
Military gays what a bore
Don’t guinea pig me for your fucked up wars
Log cabin queens, stuffy conservative shit
In the spirit of stonewall queens
We’ll put an end to it
But it’s the last lines of the song that nails it home:
I’ll hang with hustlers, leather boys, and punks
I’m not down with this normal world junk
‘Rainbows’ starts off the B-side of the record and it’s another favorite of mine, a complete and total rejection of the pretty boys and a call to solidarity for all queer outlaws. This song is a driving hardcore war cry:
How do I fit in this rainbow machine?
Pride and waves of flags in this beauty boy scene
Shaved bodies tight tummies all around
I am such a lost queer walking the streets of boys town
The ending of the song sums up the outlaw queer philosophy and a demand to step out of the closet and let the colors fly:
Punk queers let’s put it where it’s at
Balk or hairy thin or thick you know I like that fat
Pull off your punk shirts and let’s not hide
Let’s rework this thing they call pride
The record ends in another classic punk vein, once again driven by the insane rhythms of drummer Paul, the forty-one second burner ‘Define’. The track is a short burst call to individuality, a trademark of the punk scene since its beginnings in the early 1970s.
Limp Wrist have delivered nothing short of an iconic masterpiece. This seven-inch is the audio legacy of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a reminder that not all of us are going to sellout to the mainstream safe and sterile gay community. It is short, it is powerful, and for any outlaw queer who still feels the revolutionary blood burning in his soul, it is nothing less than essential listening.