Suicidal Tendencies – “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today” (1988)

Suicidal TendenciesSuicidal Tendencies exuded coolness in the late eighties.  They had a cool name, a cool logo, and a cool look.  Who could forget the ball cap with the flipped-up brim and the word “Suicidal” underneath?  Or Mike Muir’s trademark blue bandanna?  My favorite, though, is Rocky George’s classic “pill-box” Pittsburgh Pirates hat.  Not many people could rock that hat and look cool — but Rocky did.  (Eat your heart out Kent Tekulve!)

S.T. approached heavy metal from a totally different angle — making them unique and refreshing.  They started as a hardcore punk band but morphed into a full-fledged metal band by the time of How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today arrived in 1988.  It was their first album after signing a deal with Epic records.  S.T. were predominantly thrash but they still maintained a bit of their punk ‘tude.  They also weren’t afraid to defy convention — whether it be by slowing things down, getting mellow, or using melody to bolster their songs.  On of the most distinct attributes of How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today is that every song has its own identity.  No two songs sound alike.  That’s a pretty rare occurrence in the thrash genre.  But again, to pigeonhole Suicidal as simply a thrash band undermines their breadth.

Though vocalist Mike Muir possessed an unremarkable voice, he was still able to put a stamp on his tunes thanks to his provocative lyrics and formidable presence.  S.T.’s secret weapon was guitarist Rocky George.  His lead playing was surprisingly tasteful — especially for a band pegged with the “crossover” label.

My favorite track on How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today is the pulverizing opener Trip At The Brain.  Other faves include Pledge Your Allegiance, Sorry?!, and How Will I Laugh Tomorrow.  My score: B+

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2 thoughts on “Suicidal Tendencies – “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today” (1988)

  1. I bought this one a year ago – its no ‘Lights Camera …’ but I do like it and if forced to go to a fancy dress do tomorrow, I’d go as Mike Muir.

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