FORTY YEARS ON from the release of Penis Envy, Crass’ third studio album, the A Pop Life considers the political resonance of the record within the punk scene and beyond.

Released in February 1981, Penis Envy was an unambiguous declaration of feminist intent on behalf of the band. With very different musical signatures than Crass had relied on before, the record also offered a more unified, singular political focus than the band had presented on either Feeding of the 5000 or Stations of the Crass. The main vocals on the record were shared between Eve Libertine and Joy de Vivre, who fronted a collection of extraordinary and powerful songs.

A Pop Life looks at the significance of the record, and the band’s other musical and cultural activities at the time.

Next to being a feminist pamphlet, Penis Envy is also a call to save the world and a call to be true to oneself. Of course it’s also a furious anarcho punk album. Musically diverse and original and all immaculately produced as well. It was Crass’ most melodic and musical album to date.

Erwin Barendregt. 2021. ‘Crass, Freud and feminism: Penis Envy’, A Pop Life, 14 February,

The retrospective on Penis Envy is the latest in an ongoing series of features on Crass on the A Pop Life site.