City Slang: “Too Good to be True” revisited

by

comment

Sometimes these things happen by accident. I was bought this album by the Malakas as a Valentine’s Day gift by my wife. Sure beats candy.

The first thing to note is that the Malakas were not from Detroit, rather they were out of San Diego. Singer Cranford Nix was a Detroit native though, before his untimely passing, and this album (at least) was released by the very Detroit-based I-94 Recordings, the label that released a lot of Trash Brats and B-Movie Rats (more damn Californians) stuff, as well as some cool comps.

Nix died of a heroin overdose in 2002. I didn’t know him, but I’ve read a lot about him online since discovering this album, not least Brian Smith’s excellent 2002 feature, Too Late to Die Young. I didn’t need to read anything, though, to know that Nix had drug and alcohol dependency problems. Really, you only have to listen to the lyrics.

On “Suicide or Alcohol”, for example, Nix sings of the only choices he feels he has left. Uplifting stuff, right? In fact, that’s the kicker. Nix sings songs of desperation, devastation and a complete lack of hope and, much like Johnny Thunders, manages to make it sound fun.

The songs are simplistic in that awesome, stripped-down garage way, but the bubblegum tunes are undeniably prevalent. And when Nix sings that all he wants for Christmas is the girl who is “so bad ass, she’s got tattoos, she’ll fuck you till your thighs turn black and blue”, you almost believe that he’s enjoying himself. He wasn’t. He was grasping at that dragon that he could never get his fingers on. Now he’s gone, and there will never be another Malakas record.

Click here to join the City Slang Turntable community!!!

Tags

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.