BAD RELIGION: TRUE NORTH (2013)
1) True North; 2) Past Is Dead; 3) Robin Hood In Reverse; 4) Land Of Endless Greed; 5) Fuck You; 6) Dharma And The Bomb; 7) Hello Cruel World; 8) Vanity; 9) In Their Hearts Is Right; 10) Crisis Time; 11) Dept. Of False Hope; 12) Nothing To Dismay; 13) Popular Consensus; 14) My Head Is Full Of Ghosts; 15) The Island; 16) Changing Tide.
Each of us is at liberty to select the final stage when the ensuing judgement for a Bad Religion record is made of just one statement — «Verily, here is one more Bad Religion record that feels exactly the same way as any Bad Religion record». The majority of the not-giving-a-damn public would have been likely to go through that final stage circa the release of No Control or, at the latest, Generator. I did give a damn, and eventually succeeded in making it right to the finals, even if nary a single of those album descriptions could qualify as somewhat instructive.
With True North, I end up throwing in the towel. All right, so here is one more Bad Religion record that feels exactly the same way as any Bad Religion record. I only have to mention that the prominent tracks include Graffin's power-poppy ʽCrisis Timeʼ, with a colorful guitar solo, and Gurewitz's ʽDharma And The Bombʼ (unusually titled for a Bad Religion song, despite the usual antiwar sentiments of the lyrics).
If these two paragraphs feel stylistically close to the beginning of the previous review, this is understandable — reviews have to reflect their object, and what better way is there to reflect two near-identical objects than writing two near-identical reviews? Especially considering that, under standard conditions, Bad Religion are immune to most criticism. Here is how the average critic is expected to act: [A] Listen to the latest Bad Religion album; [B] Admire how fast, energetic, socially conscious, and deeply sincere all the songs are; [C] Write a review, beginning with "[N] years into their career, Bad Religion are still at it / going strong / rocking their heads off / tearing down walls / kicking establishment's ass / ... / ..."; [D] Forget every single thing about the album three seconds after the review has been submitted; [E] Go out there, have a life, meet your lifemate, have a kid, marry, settle down, wait 2-3 years; [F] Loop back to [A], repeat process. (Okay, so it doesn't really mean you should have a new kid every 2-3 years, but you do get the overall message, I hope).
It all works perfectly unless you make the haywire decision of reviewing all the Bad Religion albums at the same time — and just as I put a final stop to the pseudo-review of Dissent Of Man, lo and behold, here comes another Bad Religion. Fresh from the oven, sixteen songs in thirty-five minutes, half Graffin, half Gurewitz, a few slow ones, mostly fast ones, and each one is either predicting the apocalypse or hinting that it might already be here, we are all simply too dumb and zombified to notice. The most introspective that Graffin gets here is when he is trying to explain to us why he likes saying «fuck you» so much (ʽFuck Youʼ) — apparently, because "sometimes just a word is the most satisfying sound". Well, uh, yes, whatever. He probably wrote that one for his university colleagues or something.
But I have spent too much time with these guys to even pretend to feel bored about it — I know perfectly well what to expect, and I sort of... expect it. In fact, I'm probably going to feel a little something missing from my life once Bad Religion finally breaks up for good — except I suspect that they are going to outlive me eventually, because Greg Graffin ain't gonna stop until The Man is down and The People are totally enlightened, so get ready for repeating the Bad Religion ritual in a couple more years.
Check "True North" (MP3) on Amazon