Rolling Stone - 5/14/70, p.52
"...Chuck Berry simply oozes from the album...a very conscious attempt to do for teenage America what the rock and roll of the Fifties did instinctively and naturally--create a young community of spirit, affection, excitement, and self-conciousness..." -Greil Marcus
Entertainment Weekly - 9/11/92, p.90
"...MC5 played simple songs with ferocious, claustrophobic energy, taking cues from Chuck Berry and setting an incendiary rock & roll standard that still stands..." - Rating: A
Q - 7/93, p.1104 Stars
- Excellent - "...The finest hours of Detroit's nearly men, MC5...[the album] opts for a crackling, toppy sound...an energetic reinvention of classic rock moves spiced with their radical politics..."
Alternative Press - 11/92, p.79
"...Harnessing their manic energy to an extremely precise rock & roll format, producer Jon Landau and the band created an unique no-frills sound which has endured as one of punk's ancestral inspirations....A furious testament..."
Since it was impossible to top the in-concert exuberance of their debut, KICK OUT THE JAMS, the MC5 re-emerged with a more refined sound for their sophomore effort, 1970's BACK IN THE U.S.A., their first studio record. The music is comparable to other Detroit proto-punk rockers of the same era (the Stooges, Alice Cooper, etc.). As with the aforementioned peers, raw garage rock serves as the main ingredient for most of BACK IN THE U.S.A. Producer Jon Landau may have lessened the volatility of the MC5 as compared to JAMS, but the band was equipped with another great set of songs.
Two covers bookend BACK IN THE U.S.A.--an uptempo reading of Little Richard's rock & roll standard "Tutti Frutti" kicks things off in fine fashion, while the album-closing title track was originally done by Chuck Berry. The original material ranges from the abstract "The Human Being Lawnmower" to the heartfelt soul ballad "Let Me Try," a surprise highlight. Nervy, high-octane rockers bristling with pure adolescent energy--"Teenage Lust" and "Call Me Animal," among them--balance politically charged tracks like "The American Ruse." BACK IN THE U.S.A. may have been the MC5's most conventional album, but it is still an endlessly listenable rock & roll classic.