17 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The three-year burst of creative furor that started with Suffer and No Control climaxed with Against the Grain, released in November 1990. Sonically and thematically it falls in line with its predecessors, but there's an overall feeling of grandeur, especially on “Faith Alone” and “21st Century (Digital Boy),” two meaty, mid-tempo sing-alongs that still sound fresh 20 years after they were recorded. Against the Grain also marked the apotheosis of Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz’s interest in using scientific knowledge to understand the human condition. “Modern man, pathetic example of earth's organic heritage,” shouts Graffin on the leadoff song. “Just a sample of carbon-based wastage, just a f*cking tragic epic of you and I.” Bad Religion didn’t use science as a kitschy kind of nerdspeak—the band genuinely believes that to understand the tragedy of mankind, you have to understand the science behind man’s origins. It was the first (and likely only) band to turn evolutionary theory into a punk rock ethic. Forget safety pins and leather jackets—there’s nothing more defiant than embracing academia.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The three-year burst of creative furor that started with Suffer and No Control climaxed with Against the Grain, released in November 1990. Sonically and thematically it falls in line with its predecessors, but there's an overall feeling of grandeur, especially on “Faith Alone” and “21st Century (Digital Boy),” two meaty, mid-tempo sing-alongs that still sound fresh 20 years after they were recorded. Against the Grain also marked the apotheosis of Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz’s interest in using scientific knowledge to understand the human condition. “Modern man, pathetic example of earth's organic heritage,” shouts Graffin on the leadoff song. “Just a sample of carbon-based wastage, just a f*cking tragic epic of you and I.” Bad Religion didn’t use science as a kitschy kind of nerdspeak—the band genuinely believes that to understand the tragedy of mankind, you have to understand the science behind man’s origins. It was the first (and likely only) band to turn evolutionary theory into a punk rock ethic. Forget safety pins and leather jackets—there’s nothing more defiant than embracing academia.

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