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Released: July 1984

Rating: 4.759 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: punk rock

Quotable: “The adventurous melodic sense of jazz tempered with the bite and concision of punk rock.” – Mark Deming, All Music Guide

Album Tracks – Side D. *

  1. Anxious Mo-Fo
  2. Theatre Is the Life of You
  3. Viet Nam
  4. Cohesion
  5. It’s Expected I'm Gone
  6. #1 Hit Song
  7. Two Beads at the End
  8. Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth?
  9. Don't Look Now
  10. Shit from an Old Notebook
  11. Nature Without Man
  12. One Reporters Opinion

Album Tracks – Side Mike *

  1. Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing
  2. Maybe Partying Will Help
  3. Toadies
  4. Retreat
  5. The Big Foist
  6. God Bows to Math
  7. Corona
  8. The Glory of Man
  9. Take 5, D.
  10. My Heart and the Real World
  11. History Lesson – Part II

Album Tracks – Side George *

  1. You Need the Glory
  2. The Roar of the Masses Could Be Farts
  3. Mr. Robot’s Holy Orders **
  4. West Germany
  5. The Politics of Time
  6. Themselves
  7. Please Don't Be Gentle With Me
  8. Nothing Indeed
  9. No Exchange
  10. There Ain't Shit on T.V. Tonight
  11. This Ain't No Picnic
  12. Spillage

Album Tracks – Side Chaff *

  1. Untitled Song for Latin America
  2. Jesus and Tequila
  3. June 16th
  4. Storm in My House
  5. Martin’s Story
  6. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love **
  7. Doctor Wu
  8. Little Man with a Gun in His Hand **
  9. The World According to Nouns
  10. Love Dance
  11. Three Car Jam **

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • This Ain’t No Picnic (?) --
  • Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (?) --

Notes: * The track listing above reflects the original 4-LP set.

** For the 1987 CD release, the songs marked by double asterisks were omitted to fit the album on to one CD. In addition, the CD version opens with “D’s Car Jam.”

*** “No singles were released…, but two videos, ‘This Ain't No Picnic’ and ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,’ were released…[The former] features the band playing amidst rubble as a fighter plane ‘piloted’ by Ronald Reagan, edited from public domain footage, fires at them…[while the latter] was a 40-second recording of a live performance.” WK


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of Blender’s 100 Greatest American Albums Spin Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums

Double Nickels on the Dime
The Minutemen
Double Nickels on the Dime was the finest album of the Minutemen’s career, and one of the very best American rock albums of the 1980s.” MD “If What Makes a Man Start Fires? was a remarkable step forward from the Minutemen’s promising debut album, The Punch Line, then Double Nickels on the Dime was a quantum leap into greatness, a sprawling…set that was as impressive as it was ambitious.” MD “From start to finish, the Minutemen play and sing with an estimable intelligence and unshakable conviction, and the album is full of striking moments that cohere into a truly remarkable whole; all three members write with smarts, good humor, and an eye for the adventurous, and they hit pay dirt with startling frequency.” MD “As with their previous material, the Minutemen ignored conventional song structures and chose to experiment with rhythm, texture and dynamics.” WK

“While punk rock was obviously the starting point for the Minutemen’s musical journey (which they celebrated on the funny and moving History Lesson Part II).” MDDouble Nickels on the Dime combines elements of punk rock, funk, country, spoken word and jazz.” WK Singer/guitarist D. “Boon’s gnarled guitar” BL also adds elements of everything from “hardcore and John Fogerty.” BL The end result is “the adventurous melodic sense of jazz tempered with the bite and concision of punk rock.” MD

“While songs such as Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want the Truth? and Take 5, D. are a combination of spoken word and free jazz, others, including One Reporter’s Opinion and This Ain’t No Picnic, are more inspired by punk rock and funk.” WK “The band tackles leftist punk (Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing), Spanish guitar workouts (Cohesion), neo-Nortena polka (Corona), blues-based laments (Jesus and Tequila), avant-garde exercises (Mr. Robot’s Holy Orders), and even a stripped-to-the-frame Van Halen cover (Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love).” MD

The album also “references a variety of themes, from the Vietnam War and racism in America to working class experiences and man’s use of language” WK with “Boon and bassist Mike Watt spitting political rants and brainy working-class yarns.” BL Boon “tended to write the band’s anthems, and often explored wider political issues…[such as on] ‘This Ain't No Picnic,’ a song denouncing racism.” WK Mike “Watt favored complex and abstract lyrical themes, exemplified by songs such as The Glory of Man and My Heart and the Real World. Influenced by James Joyce’s novel Ulysses (the subject of June 16th) and the stream of consciousness literary technique in general, Watt's lyrics were often complex and philosophical.” WK His “full-bodied bass was the perfect foil for Boon’s leads and drummer George Hurley possessed a snap and swing that would be the envy of nearly any band.” MD

“The Minutemen had originally recorded an album’s worth of material in November 1983 with producer Ethan James” WK after hearing labelmates Hüsker Dü double album Zen Arcade (1984), which had been recorded a month earlier, the Minutemen” WK “wrote almost two dozen more songs for a second recording session with James in April 1984.” WK “Unlike Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade, the Minutemen did not have a unifying concept, but soon decided that the record's concept would be their cars.” WK

“For sequencing, the band decided that each band member would be allocated a side of the record, an arrangement inspired by Pink Floyd’s 1969 double album Ummagumma. The band drew straws to select songs…The fourth side of the record was named ‘Side Chaff;’ an admission that the songs present were the leftover songs.” WK

“The album was named Double Nickels on the Dime as a reaction to the Sammy Hagar song ‘I Can’t Drive 55,’ a protest against the federally-imposed speed limit of 55 miles per hour on all U.S. highways…The band illustrated the theme on the cover…, which depicts Watt driving his Volkswagen Beetle at exactly 55 miles per hour (‘double nickels’ in trucker slang) on California’s Interstate 10 (known as the ‘Dime’).” WK

“Although not commercially successful upon its release, Double Nickels on the Dime marked the point where many punk bands began to ignore the stylistic limitations of the hardcore punk scene.” WK In his book Our Band Could Be Your Life, Michael Azerrad called the album “‘one of the greatest achievements of the indie era.’” WK

Review Source(s):

Last updated March 20, 2010.