Pansy Division The Essential

[Alternative Tentacles; 2006]

Styles: punk, queercore
Others: Village People, Green Day, Supersuckers, Dead Kennedys

You have to give up a lot of things when you accept the fact you were born gay: rock 'n' roll, normal-looking dogs, your right to vote... oh, wait... no, you don't. Well, you might have to give up your right to marry whomever you want or adopt otherwise homeless children, but at least you don't have to worry about your right to abortion any more, eh? In any case and country, as presented by the lyrics to "Anthem," you don't have to throw away your Dead Kennedys albums, start listening to showtunes, and dress like Judy Garland. Here's 15 years of definitive proof to that end. San Francisco's Pansy Division have been rocking out with their openly gay cocks out since the early '90s, releasing six LPs on Lookout! Records before finding room on Jello Biafra's noble imprint in 2003. So, the majority of the tracks found here are pulled from pre-millennium Lookout! albums that are no longer in print. Every song was personally picked by the band, though, so The Essential is assuredly an accurate portrait of PD as they want to be remembered.

Talent-wise, they ain't exactly Cream. Early in their career, they got by on really basic song structures and humorously graphic lyrics (many claimed to be culled from the gay vernacular at the time), almost always thematically dealing with sex and/or relationships with fucked up people. Well, damned if that isn't the basis and breathing lifeblood of punk incarnate: low on talent, big on tellin' it. A lot must've happened in the five years leading up to their last studio album, Total Entertainment, though, because all the songs used from that release really open up the Division to different styles, care of individual growth. "Alpine Skiing" is ripping garage rock that Nickelback doesn't have the balls to make; HIV awareness anthem "No Protection" draws on Depeche Mode-synth-pop; and the hilariously titled "He Whipped My Ass In Tennis (Then I Fucked His Ass In Bed)" even tosses about some pre-Brokeback ironic country influences. If there was any doubt before, those tracks alone —lyrically and musically— prove Pansy Division to be much more than a mere novelty or token act. In light of the 30 hand-picked songs and a well-stocked bonus DVD featuring plenty of videos and live footage, this is the very first "essential" compilation I've ever seen that actually lives up to its title.

1. Who Treats You Right
2. Fem In A Black Leather Jacket
3. Anthem
4. I'm Gonna Be A Slut
5. Horny In The Morning
6. Dick Of Death
7. Bad Boyfriend
8. The Summer You Let Your Hair Grow Out
9. Spiral
10. Denny (Naked)
11. Boyfriend Wanted
12. Luv Luv Luv
13. James Bondage
14. Vanilla
15. Alpine Skiing
16. Bunnies
17. Groovy Underwear
18. No Protection
19. Sweet Insecurity
20. Deep Water
21. You're Gonna Need Your Friends
22. The Best Revenge
23. Negative Queen (Stripped Bare)
24. Headbanger
25. Political Asshole
26. I Can't Sleep
27. I Really Wanted You
28. The Cocksucker Club
29. Homo Christmas
30. He Whipped My Ass In Tennis (Then I Fucked His Ass In Bed)
31. Two Way Ass (unlisted bonus track)

1. Hippy Dude
2. Homo Christmas
3. Touch My Joe Camel
4. I Really Wanted You
5. Manada
6. Bad Boyfriend
7. Vicious Beauty
8. Fem In A Black Leather Jacket (live in Chicago)
9. The Cocksucker Club (live in Chicago)
10. Fuck Buddy (live in Chicago)
11. Versatile (live in Chicago)
12. Bad Boyfriend (live on Italian TV)
13. Interview (live on Italian TV)
14. You're Gonna Need Your Friends (live on Italian TV)
15. The Best Revenge (live on Italian TV)