Open main menu

The Argument is the sixth and, to date, final studio album from the post-hardcore band Fugazi released on October 16, 2001 through Dischord Records. It was recorded at Don Zientara's Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, VA and the Dischord House between January and April 2001. Upon release it was met with critical and commercial success. It was the band's last release (simultaneously with "Furniture") before going on indefinite hiatus in 2003, until the release of First Demo over thirteen years later.

The Argument
Fugazi - The Argument cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 16, 2001
RecordedJanuary–April 2001
StudioInner Ear Studios, Dischord House, Arlington, Virginia
ProducerFugazi, Don Zientara
Fugazi chronology
The Argument
Fugazi Live Series


Background and meaningEdit

The Argument saw Fugazi continue to expand upon the more experimental art punk leanings of Red Medicine and End Hits while also heavily incorporating other instruments, such as piano and cello into their sound.[2] The album also featured the first extensive contributions from outside musicians, most notably longtime stage-tech Jerry Busher, who added percussion on a second drum set to several of the album's songs as well as Kathi Wilcox of Bikini Kill and Bridget Cross of Unrest who provided additional backing vocals.[3]

When asked about the meaning of the album's title by Guitar World in a 2001 interview, singer/guitarist Ian MacKaye described it (and the song title from which the album name comes), as "an anti-war manifesto." MacKaye expanded upon this by stating, "A main point of the song is that I will not agree with war across the board. It also talks about a greater argument: that these giant airplanes are dropping tons of homicidal weaponry, blowing the shit out of everybody, and guys are running around with guns. And that is an argument of colossal scale."[4]

Writing and recordingEdit

The band began work on The Argument in 1999, after touring in support of End Hits. This process saw the group taking more time than usual to write and demo material. Each member would bring their own individual riffs and ideas to the band, jam on them, and then begin piecing the songs together into various configurations before deciding on what would become the final versions.[5]

In some cases, the group picked apart songs that were already written to form completely new works. When asked about this process, and the track "Epic Problem" in particular, singer/guitarist Guy Picciotto explained to Pitchfork Media in 2002 "This time, for some reason, we just came up with a new idea for it. The whole verse for that song is different from what we had before, and then suddenly, the chorus. It's like Lego's. I mean, that's really the way that we work. We assemble stockpiles of parts and ideas and then we just kind of just keep clicking them together until something works. There's a song, "Full Disclosure," and there's a song, "Strangelight"; for a long time, they were the same song. But if you listen to the record, they don't sound anything alike. It's hard to imagine that they could ever have been linked, but for a long time they were."[5] Other tracks, such as "The Kill" were arranged entirely in the studio.[6]

The album's recording sessions took place between January and April 2001 at Inner Ear Studios and Dischord House in Arlington, VA, located just outside Washington D.C. The band once again worked with producer/engineer Don Zientara. During the recording process a considerable amount of time was spent finalizing each song's production, in particular the album's drum tracks, in an effort to give the album a unique feel.[3] Drummer Brendan Canty explained to Modern Drummer that "We recorded them all very differently in terms of the drum sounds. We used a lot of different drum kits, cymbals, snares, and miking techniques.[3]

"Oh" is the only song in Fugazi's discography to feature all three of the band's vocalists (Picciotto, MacKaye, Lally) on one song.

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [2]
Alternative Press8/10[8]
Entertainment WeeklyB[9]
Q     [12]
Rolling Stone     [13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [14]
The Village VoiceB+[16]

The Argument was released by Dischord Records on October 16, 2001, along with their EP, Furniture (EP), almost four years after the release of End Hits. Arion Berger of Rolling Stone called it "bracing" and "intellectual",[13] while Chris True of AllMusic referred to the album as "ear-shattering and spine-tingling at once" and stated that "the band has raised the bar for themselves and others once again." He also noted that the album had "touched on strange new territory."[2] Overall critical response to The Argument was very positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 87, based on 20 reviews.[7]


The album's cover features a photographic illustration composed of two tightly cropped images of what appears to be a bronze relief plaque: two arms of justice extended in opposite directions, one with a torch in-hand and the other empty. The CD insert has two silver folds that open to reveal a booklet which includes a picture of a plaque memorializing Kent State shooting victim Sandra Lee Scheuer, with her name and the date of her death; May 4, 1970 engraved upon it.[17] When asked about the meaning of the cover in a 2001 interview, Picciotto offered the following; "You'll understand the meaning in time. It's like a chemical -- you put it out there and the reaction that it creates is what art is."[6]


Publication Country Accolade Rank
Pitchfork US Top 200 Albums of the 2000s 45[18]
Cokemachineglow Canada Top 100 Albums of the 2000s 29[19]
Decibel US Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums Of The Decade 23[20]
Michigan Daily US Top 50 Albums of the New Millennium 40[21]
One Thirty BPM US Top 100 Albums of the 2000s 80[22]
PopMatters US The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s 66[23]
The A.V. Club US The best music of the decade 32[24]
eMusic US eMusic's 100 albums of the decade 12[25]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Fugazi.

No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Untitled" 0:52
3."Full Disclosure"Picciotto3:53
4."Epic Problem"MacKaye3:59
5."Life and Limb"Picciotto3:09
6."The Kill"Lally5:27



Additional musicians

  • Jerry Busher – second drums on "Epic Problem", "Oh", and "Ex-Spectator", percussion on "Cashout", "The Kill", "Strangelight", "Nightshop", and "Argument"
  • Bridget Cross – backing vocals on "Life and Limb", and "Full Disclosure"
  • Kathi Wilcox – backing vocals on "Full Disclosure"
  • Amy Dominguescello on "Untitled", "Cashout", and "Strangelight"


  • Fugazi - producers, engineer, mixing
  • Don Zientara - producer, engineer, mixing
  • Chad Clark - CD mastering
  • John Loder - vinyl mastering
  • Jem Cohen – cover design, photography
  • David Bryant – photography
  • Steven Skovensky – photography



Year Chart Position
2001 The Billboard 200 151 [26]
2001 Independent Albums 1 [26]


The Argument won the A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) award for Best Rock Album.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2002 "The Argument" Best Rock Album Won


  1. ^ "10 Essential 21st Century post-hardcore albums". 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  2. ^ a b c True, Chris. "The Argument – Fugazi". AllMusic. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Perlah, Jeff. (2005). Brendan Canty Archived 2011-01-09 at the Wayback Machine. Modern Drummer Retrieved 4/28/11.
  4. ^ ^ a b c d Perlah, Jeff. "The Independent". Guitar World. March 2002.
  5. ^ a b Chanko, Chip (2002). "Interviews:Fugazi". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  6. ^ a b "Guy Picciotto of Fugazi:The Argument (2001): Interview". Morphizm. Morphizm. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  7. ^ a b "Reviews for The Argument by Fugazi". Metacritic. Retrieved March 19, 2009.
  8. ^ "Fugazi: The Argument". Alternative Press (163): 82. February 2002.
  9. ^ Brunner, Rob (November 9, 2001). "The Argument". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  10. ^ Empire, Kitty (October 6, 2001). "Fugazi : The Argument". NME: 42. Archived from the original on November 2, 2001. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  11. ^ Tangari, Joe (October 21, 2001). "Fugazi: The Argument". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  12. ^ "Fugazi: The Argument". Q (185): 135. December 2001.
  13. ^ a b Berger, Arion (November 13, 2001). "The Argument". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  14. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Fugazi". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 315–16. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  15. ^ Ryan, Chris (January 2002). "Fugazi: The Argument". Spin. 18 (1): 107–08. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 29, 2002). "Consumer Guide: Throw Your Hands in the Air". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  17. ^ "Fugazi:The Argument (2001): Reviews". Sputnik Music. Sputnik Music, Inc. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  18. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 2000s - Pitchfork".
  19. ^ "Cokemachineglow".
  20. ^ "The Old Acclaimed Music Forum".
  21. ^ "The Old Acclaimed Music Forum".
  22. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 2000s - Beats Per Minute".
  23. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61". 7 October 2014.
  24. ^ Staff, A.V. Club. "The best music of the decade".
  25. ^ "eMusic's 100 albums of the decade - FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". 26 November 2009.
  26. ^ a b "The Argument - Fugazi". Billboard. Retrieved 12 May 2011.