"The New America" by Bad Religion (2000)
Bad Religion has been around in one incarnation or another since the earliest years of the southern California punk movement (TSOL, Social Distortion, Black Flag). Members have played for Redd Kross, Circle Jerks, and a number of lesser known proto-punk outfits. They are also responsible for the creation of Epitaph Records. Since 1986 they have essentially released an album every year and The New America keeps this remarkable streak alive.
The thing that has always set BR apart from the hundreds of sound-alikes is their solid songwriting--particularly their scathing lyrics. They go far beyond the typical pissed-off, anti-everything punk fare--and eloquently skewer bigger issues. Their words are often personal, very intelligent and insightful reflections of the whys and wherefores of the world's tragedies and the human condition.
On the negative side of the ledger The New America offers nothing new in the way of the band's musical approach. Don't fix it if it ain't broke applies here, but times change and I guess I was hoping for a little something more. (There's no"21st Century Digital Boy" here). Then again, as long as there are adolescent boys and skateboards--the adrenaline-drumming, powerchord artillery will always sell records--and Bad Religion appears content to keep that faith.
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