It's taken me years to put together what I consider the "essential" collection of Black Flag releases. I've listened to everything in their catalogue, and their body of work is...extensive. But how do you come up with the ultimate collection of albums/singles/EPs? Well, "Wasted...Again" is a pretty good place to start. Before I go any further, let me say this: I had "The First Four Years," but I was looking for more of a career overview when I bought this album, and that's exactly what this is. "Wasted...Again" is more of a retrospective than a greatest hits album. "The First Four Years" is a compilation of the pre-Henry Rollins releases (everything on that album had been previously released), and "Everything Went Black" was basically a collection of demo recordings (if you can call them that). My collection includes "Nervous Breakdown," "Jealous Again," "Six Pack," "Damaged," and "Wasted...Again." That's it. In my opinion, those are the "essential" Black Flag releases. Unfortunately, "Wasted...Again" covers only a portion of Black Flag's earliest releases, which are among my favorite, but it does manage to cover some of the best of their later releases, too. The first half of the album are covered in "The First Four Years" with the exception of "T.V. Party," which is from "Damaged" (not the "T.V. Party" single; I've listened to both versions, and this one is from "Damaged") and "I Don't Care," which is from "Everything Went Black." It's the second half of the album that makes it worth the money. Of the second half, "Louie Louie" can also be found on "The First Four Years" and "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" is from "Everything Went Black." The rest of the songs are album cuts, my favorites being "Slip It In" and "Drinking and Driving." If I were to come up with an overall career overview of Black Flag's work, it would be different. I think the same goes for pretty much every fan out there. However, the twelve songs here are an excellent introduction to the mind of Greg Ginn & Co., and I think that was the point. Keep in mind that the "I Can See You" EP would not be released for another two years after the release of "Wasted...Again," and no live cuts were included on this album, either. Everything here was recorded in the studio.
I would recommend this to a friend