Review by GetMusic.com
AMG EXPERT REVIEW: For album number three, the band upped stakes for Los Angeles, switched drummers along the way with Scott Garrett taking over on the skins, and created a thoroughly and totally lost rock classic -not just punk, but something more than that. Armed with all the fire and fervor of the music the members grew up with but not content to simply do that over again, Dag Nasty at this point even moved beyond its earlier work for something at once more mature, gripping and energetic. Easily the equal of the Replacements at their best -- and as much a forebear of the Goo Goo Dolls' eventual success as the Minneapolis quartet -- Field Day is just that for the group. Cortner's singing in a mere year's time has moved from the edgy, high-pitched rasp of Wig Out to include a ruminative, gently expressing tone, with more vocal control and sweet edge than one will find in most of the band's peers. As for his lyrics, besides the analysis of personal interaction that defined earlier Dag Nasty material, Cortner addresses everything from being in a band and wanting to write "songs, powerful songs" to reflections on death, loss and separation. The tone is pretty much of the guy Cortner found himself to be -- a transplant in LA, finding new haunts (the at once funny and touching "La Penita"), new friends, but also new challenges. "Dear Mrs. Touma" as a result might be the band's high-water mark and one for punk in general, retelling a scenario of accidental death, faith and hypocrisy with cutting, affecting depth. Baker, meanwhile, can still create the basic three-chord chargers, but the earlier signs that he wanted to try more with his work get full flower here. Still thankfully avoiding his soon-to-come descent into metal hash, everything from post-Byrds shimmer and gentle fingerpicking (even acoustic flamenco!) to big, heroic leads gets an airing. Two fine covers -- the Ruts' "Staring at the Rude Boys" and Wire's "12XU," doubtless an echo of Baker's previous take with Minor Threat -- and a good version of the first album effort "Under Your Influence" help fill out this unfairly forgotten record. - Ned Raggett, All Music Guide
Review by Satan Stole My Teddybear /Review by Randall Helmstutler
Field Day : A funny thing happened on the way to L.A.--a great band became, well, "mushy." This being the last Dag Nasty record, we can see why they decided to end the band later that year. The once-blistering DC emo-core band (emphasis on the "core") relocated to L.A. and lost all of their oomph. There are essentially three great songs on this record, one of those being a cover. The rest are simply unbearable. "Trouble Is" is one of the greatest DN songs ever released. The lyrics are well-crafted, among the finest DN ever wrote. The guitar work is a continuation of the Wig Out sound. Competent drumming completes the track. A very compelling song about love and loss which, while it is standard DN material, is delivered with feeling unmatched on the remainder of the record. The other winner is "Dear Mrs. Touma," for which the comments for "Trouble Is" can be applied here as well. This song is about the death of a "different" neighborhood boy and the guilt that wells up inside those who made fun at his expense. Good lyrics that are quite capable of evoking an emotional response from the listener. Dag Nasty do a decent job covering the Ruts' "Staring At the Rude Boys," but how many times is the cover better than the original? Never, but this comes close. The rest of the songs can be ignored. The title track is an inane tune regarding the lazy beach life in L.A. (even a drug reference?!?), while in "Things That Make No Sense" Peter sings the overly sappy chorus "If you doubt it, let me remind you: I'm in love with you." C'mon guys, you have been known for your introspective lyrics, but give me a break. Dag Nasty does the unforgivable and covers themselves on "Under Your Influence," ruining one of the greatest emo-core songs of all time. I guess this is where Bad Religion got the idea from (and with the same end result). Avoid this record at all costs. If you are a fan, I will personally make you a copy of the three decent songs on the album and mail it to you instead of forcing you to buy/hear the rest of this album - it would only break your heart.
Review by Robert Christgau / "Christgau's Record Guide - The 80's"
Dag Nasty - Field Day. DC posthardcore postboys with an ex-Descendent on bass, their apostate pop is like "Milo Goes To College" only more expansive. Concise and propulsive the way hardcore's supposed to be, the music could carry any old lyrics half the time, but that's not necessary - these descriptions and accounts of their growing store of experience are no less metaphoric for their factual aura, and remind us that most postboys understand their own troubles better than they do the world's. Vide "Typical Youth": Now that it's gone, just admit it to yourself / It was nothing special, no more special than yourself."
Review by The Village Voice 1988, by Chuck Eddy
Dag Nasty's Field Day: This is far and away the best (non-rap) songwriting-as-songs (and the best collegiate) LP I've heard this year. Which could be because all's relative and Dag Nasty just happened to know something about the world I just happen to be in. Seizing control of the disillusioned-white-youth majesty staked out in Husker Du's "Real World", Mott The Hoople's "The Moon Upstairs", Boston's "Don't Look Back", Field Day's also the only DC punk associated record I've cared about since Minor Threat's "Out Of Step", and it's a headrush. Dag Nasty refuse to flee from feeling.
Review by the CMJ new music report - 1988
Field Day : Hell, is there a single American indie band from the `80s that didn't start off playing hardcore? The genre itself is a strange phenomenon, because so few of the bands that started this decade by thrashing their brains out are still doing it. What's interesting are the directions the bands end up following-the ones that don't turn into metal bands seem to follow the energetic power rock paths blazed by the Replacements, Bad Brains or the Descendents. Fittingly, the new Dag Nasty LP falls somewhere between those three. The vocals are calm, but the guitars and beats are heavy on adrenaline, pushing the music into realms that include Descendents-ish hard pop (the main course here) or even neo-bluesy territory ("The Ambulance Song," "La Penita"). Featuring ex-members of the Descendents (aha!) and Minor Threat, the Nasties are sounding better than ever. Also recommended: "Things That Don't Make Sense," "Trouble Is."