Bad Religion
Stranger Than Fiction


3.5
great

Review

by Ryan Cleary USER (16 Reviews)
May 29th, 2009 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Great release from punk collegiates Bad Religion. Far from their best, but a quality listen nontheless.

Bad Religion – Stranger Than Fiction

Personnel:
Greg Graffin – lead vocals
Greg Hetson – guitar
Brett Gurewitz – guitar, backing vocals
Jay Bentley – bass guitar, backing vocals
Bobby Schayer – drums, percussion

Bad Religion is a great band. A bold statement, but it is safe to say that a poorly done album by Bad Religion equates to a good to great album generated by any other band. They have their formula; simple catchy punk songs with intelligent lyrics and the occasional guitar solo; but it rarely gets old. Stranger Than Fiction is no different, a usual Bad Religion album; it consists of fifteen short, simple tracks with infectious power chords and hefty political content in the lyrics. It is nothing new, just a regurgitation of a tried and true formula that works.

Everything starts with vocalist (and life science PhD) Greg Graffin and his deep, nearly sage-like voice. His singing is what it is on this album, decent, but the strong lyrics are present. Among his best moments are the thirty seconds of “The Handshake” where his voice chants “fend for yourself and shun the handshake” a powerful line topping off an already spectacular song. His voice is complemented by the appearance of punk gurus Tim Armstrong of Rancid and Jim Lindberg of Pennywise on the songs “Television” and “Marked” respectively.

Now-vilified guitarist/backing-vocalist Brett Gurewitz shines on his last release with the band with great performances on singles “Infected” and “21st Century Digital Boy”, two of the most successful tracks ever composed by Bad Religion. Composing those two tracks along with lesser known punk gems “Better Off Dead” and “Incomplete” Gurewitz makes the most of his final album, being personally responsible for the majority of its stronger tracks.

Stranger Than Fiction’s strongest track is easily Graffin’s punk masterpiece, “Inner Logic”. A chugging rhythm is layered with brilliant, insightful lyrics and a solid guitar solo. Though given little love in the face of hits like “Infected” this song is the highlight of the album, and should be given a shot by all who listen.

Bad Religion did not do much wrong with Stranger Than Fiction. The songs do get a bit repetitive, and several could be considered filler, but the album is by and large a great listen. It is by no means BR’s best release, but stacks up in the top five. It could be battered for selling out the punk spirit by being commercially successful, but any attempting to discredit the quality of this one would find themselves horribly mistaken.

The major complaint most detractors have of Bad Religion is that they do little to vary or create orginality within thier music. Not only is that difficult to do within the punk genre, it would me even more difficult to break habits that have earned you acclaim for over twenty years. As previously stated, Bad Religion have a formula that works, a formula that has kept them intact and popular for twenty plus years. This one is a typical Bad Religion release, a release substantially better than that of many of today's modern "punk rockers".

3.5/5

Check Out
Inner Logic
Infected
21st Century Digital Boy
The Handshake

Diehards Should Also Check
Television
Hooray For Me…
Better Off Dead



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user ratings (455)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
cleary21
May 29th 2009


671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been away from reviewing for a good amount of time now and feel this may be a bit too short or just generally suck. Please give me feedback as warrented.

Willie
Moderator
May 29th 2009


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm too burned out on writing to provide feedback, but this is an awesome album. Their last really good one for quite a few years, actually.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

WatchItExplode
May 29th 2009


3264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the album that got me into this "thesaurus" band. Love it to death, however, Marked bugs me for some reason.

Review is totally solid, but the line "His singing is what it is on this album, decent, but the strong lyrics are present." reads awkwardly. Nice.



cleary21
May 29th 2009


671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks. I'll see if i can't change the line.

For me "that album" was the Grey Race

These guys are a bit before my time, this came out a year after my birth

WatchItExplode
May 29th 2009


3264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're never to young to have good taste...By the way I thought Process of Belief is the best thing they've done in this decade. Are you talking before the return of Mr. Brett Willie?

cleary21
May 29th 2009


671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm talking just period.

I really haven't gotten into any of the 80's material, just heard bits and pieces. I hated No Substance but enjoyed everytihng since. POB is probably the best of the decade.

WatchItExplode
May 29th 2009


3264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Songs were even shorter, and Greg's voice was far weaker until the very late 80's. Suffer and No Control are still essential.

I DON"T ASK QUESTIONS

cleary21
May 29th 2009


671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So I've heard. Most 80's bands had weak vocals period. NOFX 80's material has seen heavy listening from me and it is pretty painful. The song length on 90's stuff is ideal for me. Anything shorter would probably bother me.

Willie
Moderator
May 29th 2009


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

By the way I thought Process of Belief is the best thing they've done in this decade. Are you talking before the return of Mr. Brett Willie?
I'm just talking in general. It was nearly 8 years between this release and "The Process of Belief". That's a long time between really good releases.
The song length on 90's stuff is ideal for me. Anything shorter would probably bother me.
Try "Generator" and if that works for you then work backwards until the songs finally become too short. You should at least try to do it that way or you're really missing out on some peak Bad Religion releases.

WatchItExplode
May 29th 2009


3264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Blenderhead off against the grain is barely over a minute and one of my favorite BR songs...but I have so many. Many on this album. I could probably recite the lyrics to every song on this album off the top of my head.

cleary21
May 29th 2009


671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

care to throw a pos my way?

I have a feeling that this will get little attention considering the album went unreviewed since the site's inception.

I have an obsession with getting pos's, though I;ve learned to control it and not beg like a pauper.

WatchItExplode
May 29th 2009


3264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd...check out my lone review

WatchItExplode
May 29th 2009


3264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

by the way ditto...

cleary21
May 29th 2009


671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

YAY

WhiteNoise
May 29th 2009


3169 Comments


I only have a few Bad Religion albums, This one doesn't do too much for me.

Masochist
May 31st 2009


8037 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Glad this album finally got reviewed.

This was the first Bad Religion album I ever bought (in fact, it was the first album PERIOD I ever bought). I loved it a lot more back then...I still enjoy it, but they've got quite a few better albums (TESF, TPOB, TGR, Suffer, ATG, etc.). Still, this is awesome anyways; some true classics on here. "Tiny Voices" is my favorite from this one, I think (besides perhaps "Infected").

The review itself was sort of short, but you get a nice overview of the album. Wish it would've gone into a bit of depth on what makes this album work (which, in my opinion, is because no one is given the spotlight, which puts all the focus on the music and songs themselves). Also..."Oozin' Ahhs." But yeah, not bad review anyways.

One more thing: best thing BR have done this decade is "The Empire Strikes First," easily.

cleary21
May 31st 2009


671 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea those were my first impressions

but i haven't reviewed since november. My last one was intronaut.

Whateves though. It;s not terrible and now im back for real

StrizzMatik
May 21st 2010


3201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably the strongest of their Atlantic period and some of Brett's best lyrics and songwriting. "Tiny Voices" and "Better Off Dead" are my favorite jams on this.

Digging: Finch (US) - Back to Oblivion

WatchItExplode
May 21st 2010


3264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Seeing Stranger Than Fiction live on 120 minutes is what started my love affair with this band espicially infected, hooray for me..., and I love the lyrics for inner logic

owl316
September 20th 2010


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

villified guitarist? explain



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