Discovering a band through their singles is usually the epidemic that occurs over cookie-cutter television stations such as the likes of MTV. As it's inevitable as life goes on, you get slapped with a music video that really makes you drum your fingers on the nearest desk. This was the case with me and Rancid. After hearing some material from their highly acclaimed album "...And Out Come The Wolves" I was hooked onto the song "Ruby Soho" and never really decided to excavate the rest of Rancid's music. Pretty soon, my friend loves them and owns all of their stuff, and I'm left in the dirt, even though I'm pretty sure I knew about Rancid before him. Either way, I knew it was time to get my shovel ready.
After hours of searching, I felt like a moron for not doing this months before. Rancid truly have a infectious being in their music that will keep you coming back, whether you listen to Alternative, Punk, or even Pop/Punk. Just about anyone could get into their music, as long as you have a sweet tooth for brutality. The majority of stuff that Rancid make isn't balls to the wall hardcore, but they use their axes when they have to. Four albums later, I'm left concluding that "Let's Go" is my favorite. But in all honesty, how could you not like "Let's Go". It's full of fist-pumping power punk that is just irresistible to the human ear. It's some of the catchiest music I've ever heard.
The instrumentation in "Let's Go" is basic, that is if you exclude the bass guitar. The bass on this album is some of the best I've heard in punk. Matt Freeman is a genius as he puts down the sweetest lines in punk rock. Check out songs like "Tenderloin" and "Radio" for some excellent lines. Lars Frederiksen can also produce some mighty guitar riffs, but they're nothing out of the ordinary. But Lars is also exceptional with his backup vocals. Sometimes, I feel he can carry a song better than Tim Armstrong, but Tim will always be the face of Rancid. Tim plays the rhythm guitar parts, and also does lead vocals. Some call his vocals "drunken" but it's mainly just because in the majority of the songs, he sounds almost too calm. The ex-Transplants member can really carry the songs well with the vox. Brett Reed is a good drummer, but some of the stuff can get too repetitive. He mainly uses the most basic beats for "Let's Go", and so far I'm concerned that it may be the only negative thought I have on this album.
23 songs on a 5-star album from me means that there are a lot of songs to listen to. Some of them can sound slightly similar, but what else is going to occur when you have well over 15 songs. "Nihilism" is good because it gives that really nice feeling of an anthem song. "Burn" is good because Tim just completely owns on that track. "Radio" is my favorite song on "Let's Go" because it's overall message is perfect, and has some great bass guitar to boot. "Ghetto Box" owns because it features Matt Freeman singing in the chorus and is just so damn catchy. "Name" is the only one I find annoying. I could go on all day about each song, but I want to keep them fresh so when people decide to hear this, they can get some slight surprise out of each track.
The lyrics also stand out here, which could be surprising to some considering the length of each song combined with the amount of them. Songs like "Radio" can deliver the best chanting lines such as "When I've got the music, I've got a place to go!" Not to mention that "St. Mary" could make even the shyest kid jump up and shout "Now Mary's at the door with a loaded .44 in her hand!" I just feel it's astonishing that a band would work so hard on their lyrics if most of the songs were meant to be little jams back and fourth. There isn't one disappointing line on this album.
In my opinion, "Let's Go" is Rancid's best. It features the bass well and with 23 tracks, how could you go wrong. This is one of the obvious choices for a list containing "The 100 Best Punk Albums Of All Time". As I said before, anyone can get into Rancid so this is worth a listen in everyone's case. If you're ready to pump your fists and chant along with the various punk anthems, then "Let's Go" is definitely for you.
If you like Rancid and you haven't heard this, I'd be really surprised. Even more surprised then if I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet.