Hailing from Southern California, the band have influenced so many bands while mostly influencing the 90s punk revival. They were also one of the pioneers of the prevailing punk sound (meaning The Offspring, Green Day and such). Against The Grain is considered one of the band's unsurpassed albums and with fine reason. The songs have the ability to stick in your head for days and most of the tracks have that "wow" factor around them. This album also gave punks hope for punk in the 90s.
Bad Religion are like candy to me. They are incredibly sweet but too much and it makes you feel pale. Well maybe the band don't make me feel physically sick but when I listen to them too much it can feel samey and I then reach for the skip button. Against The Grain, the start of Bad Religion's 90s releases is the exact same for me. Most of the tracks are nearly two minutes but every one of them sounds quite the same with no variety at all besides a few songs. Unacceptable
and Quality Or Quanity
are identical for the first few seconds and skipping through the tracks, you begin to notice all the tracks all have a samey feeling to them. Well this isn’t the case for all the tracks, the trend doesn’t apply to a few of them and luckily enough, these ones are the best.
The songs I’m talking about are Modern Man
and 21st Century Digital Boy
, the finest songs on the album. Modern Man
grabs you as soon as it hits the speaker, with it’s melodic lead line and Greg’s sweet vocals (and during the chorus, backed up by chants from the other band members). Instantly catchy and is sure to be the song that gets you on first listen. 21st Century Digital Boy
is probably the track people know from this album (as a video was made from the song and it was re-recorded for Stranger Than Fiction). The band lead onto a pop punk song for this song, it’s very basic but god, is it ever so excellent. The chorus has enough catch to keep you in it’s web for months, the lyrics are also quite interesting especially in it’s sing-a-long chorus:
“Cause I'm a 21st century digital boyI don't know how to read but I've got a lot of toys. My daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual. My mommy's on valium, so ineffectual. Ain't life a mystery?”
One of the best bits about Bad Religion for me is Greg’s voice. He doesn’t have a voice that grains on you throughout the album and it has this brilliant rasp to it. His voice makes songs such as Turn On The Light
and Get Off
sound one hundred times better. I do feel the guitars and bass could have did a bit more but it’s punk so what do you expect? The songs do have some cool noisy solos or a flowing lead line but that’s all really that goes out of a basic power chord. The drums use the same beat over and over again (those who are familiar with The Offspring will get what I mean) but I can’t ask for much cause the bottom line is this is simple punk with pop traces littered throughout. It’s catchy and it’s a nice listen for a while so I really can’t complain. Though with some more variety in the music, this could be more than great.
- Catchy punk with pop traces throughout it.
- The lack of variety in the songs can be irritating
- Hard to listen to the whole way through
- But very catchy and melodic