Stars & Stripes
Shaved For Battle
Serious skinhead attitude is what this is about. The title track says it all in a barrage of melodic Oi!core: “Our heads are shaved for battle/ And that’s what we’re gonna do/ Our Docs were made for kickin’/ And they’ll kick the shit out of you…” The song goes on to call to arms skinheads across the planet to unite and fight for their lives. “We’re Not Criminals,” the next song, along with “Skinheads on the Rampage,” should be seen by child psychologists as clear warnings of some sort of schoolyard outburst. Both songs explain that “…there’s no place to hide [from skinheads on the rampage],” and that “…even if you put some of us away, they’ll be more that’s for sure…” This attitude continues on “In the Right” (“We [i.e., skinheads] are in the right…”). Truly, though, the Stars & Stripes’ argument, as stated in “In the Right,” is with the “white collar faggots” and others who are perceived as denying working men a way to make a living. Although “Nowhere,” with the excellent line “…to get anywhere in life you’ve got to finish what you start…” certainly puts all the blame on the individual, which is a statement that needs to be heard by some of the skins with an unfounded persecution complex (yes, I know most persecution complexes are founded…).
The band’s passion should be appreciated, even if their songs have an almost Spinal Tap quality (“Doc Marten Army,” “Drop the Bomb” and “American Oi!”). “Street Kids,” “Dedicated,” and “Here’s One For the Lads” are about unity amongst outlaws/outcasts, like skinheads. Really. To be in a skinhead band means you are going to play out and not disappoint your fans, which is just what “Here’s One for the Lads” is about.
“The Power and the Glory” and “Proud, Strong, and Free” are pro-American military songs. The former primarily deals with the plight of Viet Nam war veterans, the lyrics of which were probably taken from a conversation with a disgruntled vet. “Proud, Strong, and Free” is jingoist to the nth degree and, surprisingly to Stars & Stripes, looks like they’re supportive of America being the world’s policeman. Check it out for yourself…
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