Editor’s note: As part of CMN’s ongoing music journalism program, we asked our team of music writers to find and write about a physical piece of music (CD, album or cassette) they had no prior knowledge of. You can find out how it all unfolded by browsing our music section.
Has anyone ever heard of 7 Seconds?
Me neither, which is exactly why I picked up their album The Crew at New Records in New York City. Clocking in at $10 in the discount bin, it was a steal. The album cover looked cool with a picture of the band performing, that made it look like it was a negative from a dark room photo. The back of the record also appealed with pictures of the band members with their names and instruments. Saves me the job of looking up who’s who.
What really endeared me to this album was the quote in all caps, blue, Times New Roman font: “Dedicated to the thousands of kids who, have believed, still believe, and will always believe in being positive, aware, free thinking individuals — together!” A nice sentiment of solidarity.
Although I had no idea what genre this band was, my gut was telling me it was going to be punk. What tipped me off was the spiked hair and gritting teeth of the drummer and the old concert T-shirts the rest of the band were sporting on the back.
The first time I listened to this album, it was a bit of a shock to the system (most likely because I was listening to Dolly Parton just before it), like in a horror film when you know something scary is going to pop out of nowhere, but you still flinch when it happens.
After the first few songs, I became more comfortable and started to settle in. Their sound immediately reminded me of The Ramones, with shouting vocals that almost sound like a chant. It had all the hallmarks of a punk rock album: ranting lyrics, overwhelming sound of guitars and loud drums with a focus on snare and cymbals.
Although the lyrics were a bit difficult to understand, they force focus on the empowering lyrics promoting “positive [… and] free thinking individuals.”
The second and third time through, words became easier to make out. Each song is relatively short, averaging around two minutes, but they are jam packed with themes of teenage rebellion, overcoming sexism, racism and mindless violence, solidarity and even promoting political upheaval and change.
One of my favorite songs on the album, “Colorblind” speaks of prejudice and the ignorance that fuels racism. The reason that I like this song so much is that it sounds different to all the others, utilizing a hip hop sound as Kevin Seconds raps the verses:
“I don’t feel that prejudice/Can’t see divided lines/To me we are all just the same/Our difference in our souls and minds/You tell me that the difference/Is red, brown, black and white/A world of such variety/To you becomes an excuse for hate.”
The song ends with an equally powerful statement of personal political responsibility: “You gotta care enough to end the fight.”
The last song on The Crew is “Trust.” Being the only love song on the album, it’s unclear whether Seconds is speaking of romantic love or love among friends. Either way, this song is a touching poem on a simple theme of trusting and being there for the ones you love.
“Look now, we can share emotion/Something that we both thought was just too tough, Aggression, love and honesty/There could never be enough/All I wanna do is just let you know that I care/And when things get too hard for you/Look back and I’ll be there.”
Extremely poetic words that almost don’t match up to the harsh music that accompanies them.
I actually listened to the album a few more times while I was baking. Turns out punk music makes for an excellent baking soundtrack. And the more I listen to it, the more I like it.
I gained an appreciation for the lyrics that Seconds wrote and am surprised that someone so young at the time — I do not know exactly how old they are, but in the album pictures the look to be late teenage years or early twenties — composed such rich and complex lyrics.
I like this album and am happy to add it to my growing collection.
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