Paul Carr: This is an artifact from the origins of punk that still sounds as vital and alive as it did then. The song is a powerful, spit and vinegar, aural assault, full of genuine working class angst. Chords are torn and shredded with the words hurtling past at a furious pace. A testament to the powers of youth, yet as important now as it ever has been. This is punk. Nothing held back. No thought of tomorrow. No pauses. No rest. No future. [9/10]
Andrew Paschal: The re-issue of “Breakdown” is a reminder of how important context is to understanding music. If this song were to come out for the first time today it would sound like punk-by-numbers but as a document from the ’70s it carries more weight and demands more appreciation. Still, perhaps that discrepancy suggests that the track hasn’t aged all that well. They apologize upfront for being “jittery”, and the song mostly begins and ends in expressing that feeling. Likely something that will appeal to fans of the genre, but these days I can’t see it going far beyond that. [6/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Iconic, high-energy punk that perfectly captures the unpolished appeal of punk. “Breakdown” has all the youthful angst, grimy guitars, and octane that a disillusioned teen could want, and who doesn’t have a little puberty left in them? A short, speedy, and cathartic number that is sometimes unintelligible but a real classic. [7/10]
Chris Ingalls: The Buzzcocks are a terrific British band that managed to capture the anger of UK punk while still managing to sound tuneful and melodic. Not unlike very early XTC. Two minutes, in and out, they’re done. This kind of concise punk single is pure perfection in that there’s zero fat with plenty of attitude to spare. [9/10]
Scott Zuppardo: Old-school, circa 1976 video of one of my favorite songs in the glorious Buzzcocks catalog. So glad someone’s reissuing these classic gems. Only 1,000 of these are available, and they certainly don’t look cheap, but conversely a must have for any Pete Shelley fiend. [9/10]
Buzzcocks‘ “Breakdown” is from Time’s Up and Spiral Scratch newly reissued on Domino.