Review - The Big Bang! Best of the MC5

Artist: The MC5


Decades before Rage Against the Machine was old enough to vote, the MC5 proved that political rock could be more than ineffectual acoustic umbrage. "The Big Bang!" is an overdue overview of the checkered Detroit outfit's rise and fall, but its odd emphasis on lesser material leaves mere hints of its heroes' true achievements as ear-shattering agitators.

Only four tracks are included from the Five's 1969 debut, "Kick Out the Jams" -- a philosophically and sonically incendiary live album -- while the tinny, timid studio follow-up, Back in the U.S.A., receives an unnecessary eight-song revisitation. Though the three early singles that begin the disc are rough gems of protopunk, there's no mistaking the Jams cuts as the pinnacle of the band's campaign.

Thrill once again to their frenetic, fire-bombing fury, and curse the cowardly "counterculture" that extinguished the flame.