It’s been more than 30 years since the punk band Bad Religion formed in Los Angeles, transitioning from rough hardcore (and a very brief stint as keyboard-driven progressive) to a more melodic sound that they’re best known for today. Like many, I was introduced to them in that style: they were featured alongside The Offspring in the first Crazy Taxi arcade game, so when I first heard them there in the late 1990s, I became interested. I started my collection with the first Bad Religion album that I could find: their fifth full-length Against The Grain, originally released in 1990. They've managed to sell over five million records, with their sixteenth full-length True North having been released on Epitaph Records on January 22nd.
Upon listening to it, it’s clear that Bad Religion still remains faithful to their philosophies and observations about society and politics while sounding thrilling and catchy musically. For example, “Land of Endless Greed” and “Robin Hood in Reverse” certainly speak to people tired of corporations and institutions that care only about getting bigger and fatter, with the less-financially powerful suffering. “Dept. of False Hope” and “Past is Dead” stress the importance of banding together to persevere despite living in a non-caring world. The most quick-and-to-the-point statement, though, is one that certainly doesn’t require a vastly complex mindset like lead singer Greg Graffin’s to relate to when someone needs to be brought down: “F*** You.”