Bad Religion
The New America


4.0
excellent

Review

by antievilninja USER (2 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2006 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist


Brian Baker - I think there was an initial backlash, but what was really refreshing—and something I seem to understand intuitively, maybe because I play music—people began to understand that the label that gets it to the record store has absolutely nothing to do with what's on the record. I think there was a general understanding of that that fell over the punk community. So many punk rock bands actually wound up on some form of a major label...People began to realize that we weren't on Atlantic for them to mold us into N'Snyc. We were on Atlantic because Brett couldn't run Epitaph and run the band at the same time. (http://www.decapolis.com/musicreviews/interviews/badr.shtml)

Following the release of the sub par album No Substance in 1998, Bad Religion went into the studio with Todd Rundgren, a long time pop/rock producer. On this fact alone, many fans of their earlier work (Against the Grain, Suffer) might not take to this albums catchy hooks and melody's straight away. After No Substance, which was said by many to be just another regurgitation of the now a tired punk genre, its not surprising that Bad Religion decided to take a new direction, which Rundgren would obviously provide. There are raw moments on the album, in songs like 1000 memories, A streetkid named Desire, and The Hopeless Housewife, which serve to give the record a good balance of hard/soft and pop/punk dynamics. This is not to say that the album can be classified as pop by any sense of the word, its just more rooted in melody than something like Against the Grain, which has a few more 'disposable' tracks.

Its argued that Bad Religions songwriting worked best when Gregg Graffin and Gurewitz (who wrote most of the songs pre 1994) worked together, and that the level of songwriting is not quite the same in this album. While thats strikingly obvious at first, the production and overall structure of the record somewhat makes up for it (something which was not as prominent in past records perhaps) This also explains why the albums following this (The Process of Belief and Empire Strikes First) are examples of Bad Religions best work so far. They combine tight production with a harder approach than found in this album. Thats not to say that New America doesnt shine brightly, but its certainly a different taste. The record has a more upbeat sound, which will obviously put some people off.

Ultimately, fans and critics seem divided on this album. Some praise it as being 'some of Bad Religions best work in years' (allmusic.com), while others claim that it lacks the spark of Brett Gurewitz' guitar work and lyrics. (Gurewitz makes a make cameo on 'Believe it').

How should you look at this album then? Well, look at it as somewhere inbetween Stranger than Fiction and The Process of Belief. Its not quite as raw (or conventional) as Stranger than fiction, but its not quite as agressive as TPOB. Id say they reached a pretty happy medium (a happy sounding Bad Religion album, who would have thought) Without Rundgrens production though, this album would most likely have fallen into the same problems that No Substance did. Thankfully though, what the band has left us with is something that is neither as tired as No Substance, nor as inaudible as All Ages.

The album peaked at 88 on the billboard charts, which is probably one of the reasons Atlantic dropped them (no surprise there). After that the band went back to Epitaph, which has proven to be a very wise decision, especially with Gurewitz joining the band again full time.

Highlights are...

1000 memories. The intro is great because it kicks off so fast, and blends into three different time tempos before heading into the chorus. Its a great lead into the chorus, which states "Cant somebody show a sign to you, for me to see". Its a powerful song because all the elements integrate well, and its more complex than the other songs on the album.

Whisper in time. The slowest song on the album, which turns out to be a great thing (slightly resembling 'Sorrow). Its got a slightly folky/nostalgic feel.

There will be a light is probably the only really weak song on the album. The others are all above average. The whole album runs at 42:19 minutes.

Brian Baker - When we came to the end of our contract with Atlantic, at that same time Brett was coming back to the band. We all aren't stupid men and thought, "Wouldn't it be good to be on the label that is owned by the guitar player in your band? That might be a good idea." It was really that simple. I mean, obviously there some history to it and all that, but it was just the right thing to do. (http://www.decapolis.com/musicreviews/interviews/badr.shtml)


user ratings (238)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
January 23rd 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not the greatest review, but it's not the greatest album.

NoC@$hPunx
January 23rd 2006


37 Comments


Albums ok not the beest review in my veiw either


Pizza
January 23rd 2006


687 Comments


bad religion is amazing, im really getting into them. i'll check this cd out

Zesty Mordant
January 23rd 2006


1196 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Terrible album. The songs either have a tendency to be stale and repetitive and when they try to branch outside of punk the results are fairly poor.
The lyrics are abominable.

Zebra
Moderator
January 23rd 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is fair. 'You've got a Chance' is a great track.
Poor review : You need to tell us more about the instruments, vocals, melodies etc. You didn't tell us about the album, you just told us about your opinions on some selected tracks.

STFDood84
January 23rd 2006


179 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, not a great review or great album, but more detail is needed. At least mention that Brett played guitar on "Believe It", which basically opened the door for his return to BR, return to Epitaph, Process Of Belief, etc...
As an album, it's one of BR's weakest for sure, but the faster numbers are good ol' BR, and Bobby's drumming was surprisingly varied on certain spots compared to his stale work from the previous 2-3 records (especially on "You've Got A Chance"), "1000 Memories" has an awesome riff and melody, and the dueling guitar solos on "Don't Sell Me Short" are fantastic, and it is one of my BR faves.
But BR tried way too hard to write a pop album and failed miserably. It's super-processed, the melodies are uninspired, the lyrical themes outdated and horribly weak compared to their older work, and it's SLOW. And sorry, but using the same five chords slowed-down makes music sound EMPTY. 2.5-3/5 at best.

Pizza
January 23rd 2006


687 Comments


is this really that bad of a cd? i love suffer and no control, is this a lot different?

antievilninja
January 24th 2006


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ty for the comments. When ive written the reviews ive listened to the music while doing it, then written my thoughts on it. How long does it take you guys to usually write a review? Hmmm, i guess some background on the actual album process is pretty necessary too.

Tyler
Emeritus
January 24th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My first review took me hours. My second took me around 15 minutes. It's more about refining the review than it is length.

easypickle85
January 25th 2006


3 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yea this album was a disappointment

atheistpeace
March 16th 2006


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

please this album was not there best work from bad religion but it was by far not there worst. lets not forget into the unknown here, the new america is a good album and just becasuse it did change up their sound to create the even more politicalness of their later albums its still a reely god cd. plus the new america is one of their best songs ever. and of course lets not forget that it was the last album to date with bobby on drums. brooks cant hold a candle to that man

!johnbetray~
June 20th 2006


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Absolutely excellent cd. Not their best, but it's still very good. Not a bad review, keep up the good work.

!johnbetray~

f_u_c_t
July 27th 2006


1406 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i didnt think it was a bad review, you get my vote. It was only your what, 1st..2nd? I'll rate this album later.

wexenhex
August 10th 2008


192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i initially hated this album too, but it grows on you, now i consider it one of their BEST, and i am a HUGE BR fan, have listened to ALL their albums. Suffer being my favorite.

Best Tracks:
New America
Streetkid Named Desire
Hopeless Housewife

Willie
Moderator
August 10th 2008


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really enjoy this album. It's one of the better ones that came from the Atlantic Records era.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

StrizzMatik
October 16th 2009


3201 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album sucks pretty bad in some spots but there are some gems too. But srsly Graffin, "Hopeless Housewife"? Where'd you get the lyrics from, Outdated Generic Women's Lib 101? And don't even get me started on the abomination of "I Love My Computer"! At least "You've Got A Chance", "1000 Memories", "Let It Burn" and "Don't Sell Me Short" rule pretty hard.

Digging: Finch (US) - Back to Oblivion

Nitroadict
October 1st 2010


133 Comments


Took a while to appreciate what they did on here despite being Bret-less & working with an a**hole (Todd Rundgren).

A decent album ruined by one very bad song (sadly, with good ozzin ahhs: i love my computer), and a boring song in the beginning (a long way to the promise land).

Removing those two while keeping the tracklist the same helps the album a lot. Putting in the pretenders b-side between hopeless housewife & there will be a way helps put some meat back on the album with a better song, but this works better without that as a shorter album, imo.

StrizzMatik
October 1st 2010


3201 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Fast Life alone kills about 80% of TNA, and it's one of the b-sides.

Nitroadict
October 1st 2010


133 Comments


I wouldn't say kill, but it's definitely a better "new old school" BR song.

I think it would've been a great track on a hypothetical "back to the known 2" ep in-between TNA & POB that was never made :P

Nitroadict
January 17th 2013


133 Comments


Sigh, I recently found the demos for this album, before they got overproduced & slowed down. So much better when it was raw; it could've sounded like another Grey Race in an alternate universe.



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