10. War Inside My Head
We open our top 10 Suicidal Tendencies songs list with a track from the band’s second album Join The Army. The album was long awaited, not coming out until four years after their debut and is considered one of the most crucial albums to combine thrash and punk. The record is one of the band’s most celebrated and it reached number 100 on the Billboard 200. It was their first album to feature Rocky George on guitar and R.J Herrera on drums as well as their last with Louchie Mayorga on bass who did, however, co-write some songs on their next album. This was also their last LP where they played hardcore punk, as they adapted a more metal style on the next release which they have continued with ever since.
This track was featured on the video game Guitar Hero: Metallica. Two re-recordings of it were featured on Still Cyco After All These Years.
9. Get Whacked
This next track is taken from the group’s fifth album Lights…Camera…Revolution! which was released in 1990. It was the final album to feature what is considered the band’s strongest line-up. Drummer R.J Herrera would leave before the recording of the band’s next album.
The record saw the band veering even further away from their punk roots and becoming more refined as a pure thrash metal band, although it could be argued that this had been the case for some time. They had now begun to employ more complex song structures and the lyrics were written in a more verbally diverse way as opposed to the very to-the-point chants of the earlier material. This album also notably introduced more elements of funk metal which was likely due to the addition of Rob Trujillo on bass.
The album was very commercially successful, with several singles from it receiving heavy rotation on MTV.
8. Nobody Hears
Up next is this track from the band’s sixth album The Art of Rebellion. It was the album’s first single and became their biggest hit at the time in the US reaching number 28 in the Billboard Chart.
After the departure of Herrera, the band recorded the record with renowned session drummer Josh Freese, known for his work with Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle amongst many others. To this date, it is their most commercially successful album with this track and “I’ll Hate You Better” being the only top 40 hits that they have ever had.
Many fans often describe it ST’s “experimental album.” Guitarist Mike Clark acknowledged this, but also stated that this was not the intention and that the album’s sound was just a natural progression. The funk elements that had been introduced were continued and expanded on on this record. It also featured more progressive elements and pop-oriented sounds that helped the band to blend in to the then-prominent 90’s alternative movement. This track had a video which was directed by Samuel Bayer who had recently directed the video to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Another aspect of its experimentation was it’s 60-minute length which made it their longest album until 13.
7. Cyco Vision
This track is from 1999’s Freedumb which was Suicidal Tendencies’ first album after they reformed. This track harks back to their hardcore days, featuring none of the thrash-funk that had become a key aspect of their sound over the past few years. It was featured on the video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.
6. Trip at the Brain
This song is from the third album How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today released in 1988 and was also its first single.
The album was their major label debut on Epic Records. It was also Mike Clark’s first recording with the band and the only one with bassist Bob Heathcote who would be replaced by Trujillo on the next album. The record further continued the band’s progression from a punk band to metal with the band learning more complex playing styles leading to longer songs. It also had a better production which enabled the new sound to develop well. It was moderately successful reaching 111 in the Billboard Charts.
5. I Saw Your Mommy
With this next entry we go all the way back to the first album, their self-titled debut from 1983. Despite being a lot less commercially accessible than much of their later material, it sold very well which was no doubt a factor in the band’s future success. It received a positive critical reception and has gone on to sell well in consecutive years. It was re-recorded ten years later as Still Cyco After All These Years.
4. Send Me Your Money
This track is yet another single from Lights…Camera…Revolution! It also had a video which received heavy airplay on MTV, notably being featured on Beavis and Butthead. It was their only ever single to chart in the UK. Despite not being released until 1990 the song was written several years earlier, being a regular staple of their setlist as far back as 1985.
The track begins with a drum intro and is then followed by one of Trujillo’s funky basslines. The riff is re-used from “You’ll Be Sorry” (which is part 2 of the track “Suicides An Alternative”) from the first album. The lyrics are about crooked preachers taking money from gullible followers. Trujillo performs two impressive bass solos during the song.
3. How Will I Laugh Tomorrow
This (partial) title track from the third album was its second single which also had a promo video. It is definitely one of the highlights of the album, featuring some rather deep lyrics dealing with depression.
The track generally shows the bands ability to successfully write a slow ballad without it sounding clunky. There is an acoustic remix which suits the tone and lyrical content of the track even better.
2. You Can’t Bring Me Down
At the number two spot on our Top 10 Suicidal Tendencies Songs list is one of the band’s best-known songs from Lights. It was a successful single despite failing to chart.
The song takes time to build up. It begins with a whammy bar solo followed by an acoustic part over which a solo is played. After a while it speeds up and then kicks in properly. Muir’s lyrics deal with the general stress that comes from dealing with people who have always tried to put him down. He puts in a very angry performance but also adds a humorous touch. It was written by Muir and Rocky George.
The video was a favourite on MTV’s Headbangers Ball. It had its own story to tell, taking the opportunity to take a stab at censorship groups such as the PMRC and places in Los Angeles that banned them from playing. It depicts Muir being arrested by a group of authority figures who then put him into an electric chair and execute him.
At the top of our Suicidal Tendencies Songs list is this single from the first album which has always been a favourite with fans and a staple of the band’s live shows. It was the album’s only single and it played a vital part in terms of the band achieving mainstream success.
It was re-recorded ten years later and featured on Still Cyco After All These Years. That version was nominated for the Best Metal Performance at that year’s Grammys but lost to Ozzy Osbourne’s “I Don’t Want to Change the World.”
The track is also known for its video which see’s Muir walking through various locations whilst ranting the lyrics about being institutionalized by school, the church and his own parents. His father in the video is played by Jack Nance of Eraserhead fame.