"Frankie Teardrop," one of the duo's definitive moments, and one of the most harrowing songs ever recorded. A ten-minute descent into the soul-crushing existence of a young factory worker, Rev's tense, repetitive rhythms and Vega's deadpan delivery and horrifying, almost inhuman screams make the song more literally and poetically political than the work of bands who wore their radical philosophies on their sleeves.
Frankie Teardrop is almost the extreme expression of what they were trying to achieve. The stabbing rhythm of the drums, the repetitive and threatening keyboard, the odd sounds of horror in the background all serve to carry and reinforce the song’s story: of a young factory worker who, beaten down by poverty and futility, kills his wife and child. But what makes it genuinely terrifying is Vega’s extraordinary vocals: partly-sung, mostly spoken and fairly detached. That is, until, he lets out some horrifying screams that jolt us out of that similar feeling of detachment and make us aware not only of the terrible events but also of Frankie’s pain and insanity. It’s very disturbing, and difficult to listen to – but frighteningly compelling.
The Daily Guru
In 1978, the founders of D.I.Y. magazine Art-Rite, Edit deAk and Mike (Walter) Robinson, collaborated with video artist Paul Dougherty in creating this eerie film and video montage for Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop” in which ordinary images are suffused with dread.
“Frankie Teardrop” is a homicidal Punk epic. It’s a working-class ballad about Frankie who’s working from nine to five and can’t survive. His solution is to kill off his family and then himself. But it’s not done in an angry way. It’s done in a frustrated way so the film implies this frustration.” Edit deAkShards of New York in the 1970s flutter like the wings of dying birds.