So Far, So Good…So What! Review

Megadeth - So Far...

Douglas Funes, Student Writer

Recorded under really rough circumstances in 1987, So Far, So Good… So What! Is the third studio album from American thrash metal band Megadeth. The budget Capitol Records, their label, gave them was spent very poorly. They mostly used it on all types of drugs and throwing parties. The album’s neighbors are the almighty “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying” & “Rust In Peace.” Two of the biggest fan favourite albums Megadeth has to offer. Most Megadeth fans don’t even fully appreciate So Far, So Good…So What! until they get a little bored from playing the two records on repeat. But when it happens, and you finally pay attention to this album, it’s revolutionary. 


Into The Lungs Of Hell – The album starts off strong with an epic instrumental. Something Megadeth would do again in their 2009 album ENDGAME with Dialectic Chaos. The title of the track refers to the Bible where Micheal the Archangel and his cohorts “thrust into the lungs of hell” to attack Satan. The opening track’s first riff absolutely shreds, then comes the main one with an almost harmonic solo playing at the same time. This is a great start to an amazing album. 


Set The World Afire – After being kicked out of Metallica, this would be the first song Dave Mustaine would write. Written during his bus ride back from New York to Los Angeles after reading a newspaper and came across the word ‘megadeath’, which means a million dead or the result of a nuclear holocuas, it was also the original name for the song. As the song starts you hear a sample from the 1941 hit “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire” by The Ink Spots. You hear a whistle that’s supposed to imitate a nuke. When it explodes, the guitars hit you hard with it’s heavy & rusty sound. Once the drums kick in though, you can’t help but bop your head. With a song tied with nuclear warheads and death as its inspiration, you can be sure the lyrics will drive it further. With lines such as “Red flash, clouds choking out the morning sky” and “No one will be left to prove that humans existed” paints a pretty picture that the world has gone or is going to go through a nuclear fallout.


Anarchy In The U.K. – Something Dave Mustaine often did in his earlier albums is make one cover song, in this case, it’s Anarchy In The U.K. originally made by Sex Pistols. The difference here is Megadeth plays it much heavier and even ever so slightly faster, Dave also modified the lyrics for he couldn’t understand everything Johnny Rotten sang in his song. 


Mary Jane – As the lead single for this album, it does a great job at representing So Far, So Good… So What! This song is a story about a young witch who was buried alive by her father near the Loon Lake Cemetery, in Minnesota. Anyone who would disturb the grave was doomed to a prompt death. The intro to this song might throw you off for it’s clean vocal and harmonic sound. But don’t be discouraged, this song goes hard  midway through. After the second verse, you can hear the song picking up its pace. But after the third verse, you’ll hear the dirtiest, most rustiest riff in this whole album. Mustaine’s yelling and shouting adds so much to this track, his vocal performance here is very raw. This song peaks from this point to the end. 


502 – Every album has the best and the worst, when picking the least impressive song on So Far, So Good…So What! most would say 502. But man, this main riff is insane. This song is about driving under the influence as the title suggests. “502” is the police code for this exact offence. This song is fast, short and sweet. They even sampled a police scirine in the middle of the song, then after comes the solo that puts everything in a nice little metal bow. 


In My Darkest Hour – This is the song that this album is known for. This is one of Megadeth’s fan favorite songs, also is Megadeth’s first ballad in their discoracy. On September 27, 1986, Metallica’s bassist passed away. This hurt everyone in the metal community, especially Dave Mustaine. As Dave used to be in Metallica, he knew Cliff personally. And though the song isn’t about him, he wrote it when he found out about his death. He immediately took some dope, started crying and wrote this song in one sitting. The song is actually about Mustaine’s ex girlfriend who didn’t pay enough attention to him. In the song he talks about how he doesn’t want to live anymore and how he begs god to send him to the next life. The song starts off slow with an acoustic guitar alongside with the electric guitar for the intro, not long after the electric takes over. Up until the middle of the song is where it starts to pick up some speed. This is a pretty blue song, you can hear his struggle and his emotion in voice. 


Liar – As the second lead single for this album it is quite possibly one of the first distracts of thrash metal. It was written by frontman Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson against their ex guitarist, Chris Poland. Chris was accused of stealing equipment and pawning it to feed his drug addiction. Liar is possibly my personal favorite song in the album, the beginning is just so great. That opening riff is so raw and angry, then when the drums come crashing in, you can’t help but bang your head. “You take great pride in never have lived up to anything.”From the first line you can tell that Dave is pissed. He goes all in to Chris telling him how sh*t he is, and how trash his family is, and saying his girlfriend has herpes. He tells him that he’s a liar, that he will always be a liar until the day he dies. 


Hook In Mouth Debatably the best track on this album, rivling “In My Darkest Hour.” The song is about censorship where Mustaine expresses his dislike towards the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). 

In Mustaine’s words “they were f*cking around with our constitutional rights and trying to take away our freedom of speech.” The PMRC is responsible for putting Parent Advisory/Explicit Lyrics stickers on his and other musicians’ records. He calls the people, cleaning up and sanitizing rock lyrics, cockroaches within the first verse, and calls out Tipper Gore in the second. She is the woman who seem to come out of left field with all this censorship sh*t and tried to ruin creative expression of artists. In the chorus Mustaine spells out Freedom using words that evoke the principles of the US Constitution. The quick little intro and fast pace drums and bass gives this song a great backbone, especially in the second verse where the guitar kicks in. Then comes Jeff Young with his quick & neat little solo, this solo is used twice, before and after the first chorus. The chorus is very catchy and easy to sing along to, spelling “Freedom” whilst talking about losing your freedom of speech. The best part would have to be the ending of the song, when he screams “HOOK IN MOUTH,” it’s just so aggressive and raw. 

After you listen to this album you will realize that it can stand its ground even compared to “Rust In Peace” or “Peace Sells.” Even though you can still smell all the drugs consumed during the recording process, Megadeth does not fail to deliver. The record would be released in 1988, sold roughly 400,000 copies in its first month and eventually went platinum in 1998.