As I sift through albums for that Top 11, and realize that it's been a really great year for music, it dawned on me that I never wrote a word anywhere - save a few tweets - about this year's album from Bad Religion, The Dissent of Man.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Bad Religion - "Avalon"
This is the first time I've listened to a BR album and had the thought that these guys are clearly getting old. Maybe it's because the lyrics are starting to sound more reflective and personal, or maybe it's because "I Won't Say Anything" and "Turn Your Back On Me" sound tired. Really, they should have been left off the album.
Let's look on the bright side though: "Only Rain," "Resist Stance," "Meeting of the Minds," "The Day The Earth Stalled" and even "Cyanide" with it's country-ish solo courtesy of Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell. They're all good. And there are several more too. "Won't Somebody," one of the bonus acoustic tracks on the expanded re-issue of New Maps of Hell, is given good heft in its plugged in form.
The thing about the entire album, taken as a whole, is the sound of a band slowing down. I don't think they're settling, despite the fact that this should have been a 12-track album with three or four great bonus tracks. If this isn't the last Bad Religion album, and I sincerely hope it's not, this could be a transition album. I don't know what they're becoming, but there might be an interesting next step. Or they'll just put out another BR record they we all expect them too.
Which brings me to "Avalon." This was one of two songs on the album, "Only Rain," being the other, that really floored me. "Resist Stance" and "Won't Somebody" had long been out there, but continued to floor me. But I digress.
No regrets is one of the longtime themes that, along with the ideas of thinking for yourself and questioning everything, Greg Graffin returns to over and over. On "Avalon," Graffin is pretty solidly suggesting you stop looking over your shoulder and keep searching for it, whatever it is. That's an important message from a guy who has managed to pursue knowledge and experience like few others in punk rock. Henry Rollins comes close, but without a doctorate, he comes up short.
I say it with every new Bad Religion album, and I'll say it again with this one - if you're not already a fan this one probably won't be the one to rope you in. There's a reason they've stuck around though, and whether it's the oozin' ahhs, Brooks Wakerman kicking the beats or Graffin and Brett Gurewitz keeping their Mick-and-Keith streak alive, it's never too late to love the best band in punk rock.
Buy The Dissent of Man at Shockhound.