Review Summary: Ballads from the Revolution is the perfect stepping stone between Good Riddance's punk rock melting pot and their later melodic hardcore albums. Its filled with GR's signature sound, plus some really pop punk tunes and a lot of blazing hardcore music. Def
Good Riddance's 2nd album, A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion, was a punk rock masterpiece from 1996. It blended several sub-genres of punk rock together, such as regular punk, pop punk and hardcore. Lyrically it also succededed, as it broadcasted GR's dedication to their causes. The album was critically acclaimed and made old fans and new fans eager for the next Good riddance release.
Ballads from the Revolution was released 2 years later, and was a worthy successor. GR became more of a hardcore based band in the late 90's and early millenium, and this album was a good stepping stone between their sound in 1995 and 1999. The first thing to recognize about the album is that it seems the production quality is higher then from past releases.
The album opens up with "Fertile Fields" which are similar in style to GR's past work. It seems that Ballads from the Revolution will be like A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion, just with better production. Songs like "Understood", "Eversmile" and "Slowly" also reflect similarites to For God and Country and A Comprehensive guide to Moderne Rebellion.
Out of all the pop punk songs GR has written, some of their poppiest ended up on here. The cheesy yet likeable "Jeanie", the relatable "Not With Him" and the catchy "Salt" all grace the album. They give the album some bright moments in an artillery fire of punk rock.
Despite having some songs that are poppy and similar in style to past albums, Ballads from the Revolution also displays an example of GR in the near future - angry, agressive, melodic hardcore that is hardcore sound emphasized on Operation Phoenix and Symptoms of a Levelling Spirit is shown to be developing more here than on their past records. Songs like "State Control", "Choices Made", "Waste", "Sacrifice" "Years from Now" and "Without Anger" are prime examples of GR moving into a more hardcore punk style, rather than the mixture they were known for up to this point.
The lyrics are similar in nature to typical GR. The lyrics reflect the band's frustration towards the government, corruption, religion, racism and violence. Vocalist russ Rankin, possibly in his prime with this record, also sings about society in general, failed relationships and hopeless romance. One of GR's best songs, "Holding On", is about sticking to your beliefs and holding on against whatever coems your way.
Ballads from the Revolution was GR in their prime. This was around the time they were starting to get big among the independent punk scene. Whether or not you think this was GR's last good album, Ballads from the Revolution was a great punk record, and one of the best albums from 1998.