Fugazi have undertaken numerous worldwide tours and produced six studio albums as well as a film and comprehensive live series. All of their output has been well received critically and they have had worldwide success, proving that it is possible to be commercially successful without the backing of major labels. Since 2003, they have been on an indefinite hiatus.
10. Glue Man
Opening our top 10 Fugazi songs list is the final track from the Fugazi EP. The Fugazi EP was their originally released in 1988 as 7 Songs. Unlike most of the rest of the band’s discography, Piciotto did not perform any guitar parts, with all of them being performed by MacKaye. Picatto does, however, perform vocals on several of the tracks on the album. “Glue Man,” was written by MacKaye.
9. The Kill
The Fugazi song “The Kill,” is taken from their final album The Argument which was released in 2001. Although many songs on the album were developed from parts of previously written songs, this was a track that was composed entirely in the studio. The album reached number 1 on the Independent charts.”The Kill,” is one of the band’s more mellow tunes and actually features bassist Joe Lally on vocals. His vocals are rather Dylan-esque. It fits the laid back feel of the song very well. All of the track has a very spacey post rock feel to it.
8. Shut the Door
Continuing with our top 10 Fugazi songs list we turn to 1990’s Repeater album. The 1999 documentary about the band entitled Instrument features a live performance of this song. The performance shows the intensity of the band live.
The song “Shut The Door,” makes use of the various dynamic play that the band are known for. MacKaye whispers during the verses while the guitars glisten with hard melody.MacKaye’s vocals transcend from the opening whispering moments to his trademark shouting style.
This album was the band’s full-length debut. It is considered to be their landmark release as well as a milestone in alternative rock music in general. It has been compared to post punk bands such as Gang of Four specifically as “an updated angry American version” of their Solid Gold album.
7. Smallpox Champion
This track is taken from 1993’s In on the Kill Taker which was the band’s third album. Released at the height of the alternative rock boom of the early 90’s, it was their breakthrough album and the first to chart reaching 153 on the Billboard charts.
Like most tracks on the album, it is very upbeat. The sound in general could very much be seen as a precursor to what would be known as “emo” in years to come. However, unlike the horrible commercialised genre it has become today, this track truly lives up to the name, containing real emotion that comes from the heart.
6. Margin Walker
“Margin Walker was the title track from the Margin Walker EP released in 1989. The EP was later re-released along with 7 Songs as part of the compilation 13 Songs.
As the sole guitarist here, MacKaye plays his instrument with utmost force. All of the band put in a tight performance. Picciotto is far from a fantastic technical singer but here he uses his voice as his sole instrument with a growl that makes him sound very angry indeed.
5. Bed for the Scraping
From 1995’s Red Medicine, this is a track that would be worthy of being a single if the band were to entertain such a thing. This was an album where the band ventured into much more experimental territory, incorporating elements of noise, psychedelia and dub. It charted at number 126 on the Billboard 200.
This song has been covered by seminal Swedish post-hardcore band Refused and American math rock band No Knife.
4. No Surprise
This track is taken from the band’s fifth album End Hits. The album’s title led to many believing that it was to be their final album. The record continued with the experimentation of Red Medicine and took things further by way of introducing all kinds of unusual sound effects. This was done by placing the microphone in different positions in the studio as well as the use of electronic drums and synthesizers.
It opens with a classic Fugazi riff that is easily recognisable. The drums and bass provide a rather funky rhythm. It then unexpectedly stops a couple of minutes in before ending on an improvised jam which is the highlight of the song.
The great Fugazi song Turnover was released on the album Repeater. This track is a classic example of what made the band’s early material so ground-breaking: mixing the intensity of hardcore with the funk-laden grooves of dub. On paper, this does sound like something that would work, but here the band very much prove otherwise. Lally’s bassline throbs along nicely. It gives enough time for his bandmates to develop the track’s composition
The song slowly builds up before exploding into a blistering hardcore number. On their early eps they largely lunged straight into the fast and frantic parts whereas on this record they invested more time into building song structures.
2. Full Disclosure
This track from The Argument was one of the tracks that was developed from an earlier recording. It is a combination of many different things. One could almost say that it is a mixture of everything the band has done throughout their career.
1. Waiting Room
Closing out our top 10 Fugazi songs list is the is the band’s most well known song entitled “Waiting Room.” The song has been covered numerous times, even by multi-platinum selling artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers. Lally’s bassline is one of the all-time greatest. MacKaye like Picciotto is not a singer in the true sense of the word, but his performance here is very good, as he showcases his unique shouty style. This is an aspect of the song that many of the covers have not quite managed to pull off due to the style of the vocalists.
It is the opening track from 7 Songs. It is notorious for its “attention-getting drop into silence that occurs at the 22-second mark,” which was apparently suggested by playwright Brian Love.