Steady Diet of Nothing, the 3rd Fugazi album, was a somewhat difficult proposition upon its release in 1991. When I think back, it was a time of great uncertainty; one of the early Iraq Wars was going on, and I think people were looking to be comforted by the Waiting Room-era Fugazi. I remember reaction among fans to be disjointed, at best.
However in the context of the grand Fugazi oeuvre, it fits perfectly. They were aiming slightly higher, the arrangements were denser and the content was more mystifying than before. Sure: there’s the obvious politics (Reclamation, Dear Justice Letter), but they also started to lyrically arrive at different locales on this one. Runaway Returns hints at a kind of familial, internalized conflict and Stacks deals with definition as a concept. To me, it is the equal of any of the other Fugazi records, which is no small feat.
But hey, that’s just my opinion, an Amazon.com reviewer offers an alternate perspective:
So, as well as somehow financing metro gentrification, this hardcore version of Phish basically stole all their music from Ted Nugent. How did I miss all this?