Best Lucky Find - Music
Without question. Discovering this band was one of the best things that happened to me this year. I had to fight to get a hold of their most recent album, and when I did, I expected some decent music.
What I didn't expect was to like every single song on the fucking album. That's pretty much unheard of for me.
Rise Against is a punk-rock/alternative-rock band with a fairly obvious political bent. Your mileage may vary on their politics, of course, but the simple fact is, their music is very fucking good, and they do their best to achieve one simple goal: to get people thinking.
That's honestly the best any activist band, book or television personality can do. It's what I'm trying to do with at least one of my stories.
Appeal To Reason (2008) was pretty fucking mind-blowing, I've not heard a punk/rock album so good in my entire life. Their previous albums are interesting too. Though not managing to make me adore every single one of their songs, they're very good, and it's funny to notice how screaming and spastic drumming has taken a backseat to vocal harmony and melody.
I actually don't mind some screaming and such. I grew up on punk and alternative rock, and honestly, I like some metal as well. But there's a limit. Oh, god there is a limit. Suffice to say that the album with the least screaming, more complex drumming and melodies that are fucking awesome is the best album I've heard from Rise Against -- and tempering the hardcore influences really do help to get their message across.
The other albums are still good. But after 6 songs with the same rapid-fire beat (that seems a little incongruous at times) and unmusical screaming, it's a little old. Worst of all, the first 6 songs in their first big-label album are probably their most politically themed! This is very bad.
See, an activist band has to be palatable to people who AREN'T already a part of their scene. So honestly, being a little more mainstream is a boon. You don't want to win the underground awards, where all the other activists pat you on the back, you want to win the adulation of the mainstream crowd and get the next generation (not the next generation of hardcore punk fans -- MOST kids don't listen to that sort of music, believe it or not) to hear your message.
I'm going to repeat what I just said: most kids do not actually listen to hardcore/grindcore/sludgecore/death-metal/goth-metal/super-growly-bullshit. A lot of them genuinely don't like it. My second high-school and my current university, both places I studied politics and loved it, had absolutely zero such people in the classes. Muse for some reason was insanely popular.
Something like Linkin Park, with its memorable melodies and occasional screaming is excellent -- but of course, LPs lyrics are garbage.
But of course, if I said that to some hard-core punk fanatic, he'd try to rip my head off because I just insinuated that a "mainstream band" had the right idea. The problem is, buddy, they DO. Linkin Park sucks, but they had a run as one of the most phenomenally popular bands ever with the kids. They did it for the money. Now it's time for someone to do it for a more noble reason.
Back to the topic. Rise Against does this neat little thing where they put quotes and recommended reading on their album covers. Not only do you get some astoundingly good quotes, but the things they suggest you look at? Fucking look at them.
I think the best way to sum up Rise Against, the material they recommend, and the purpose behind every single solitary person to ever speak out against a political injustice is with one of the quotes from their album, The Sufferer and The Witness. In fact, it's from the band itself.
"Real revolution begins at learning. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention." -- Tim McIlrath.
That's all there is to it folks. The world is fucked up, and it's time we all quit being complacent and ignorant about it. Whether or not you agree with all of Rise Against's political values (I do not), just get fucking educated about it and let's get about the business of discussing these issues. We won't make a better world, and democracy will not be a true possibility, until educated citizenry discuss, debate and, most importantly, admit there are big, big problems.
Rise Against is the best musical find of 2010 for me. I only regret not finding them sooner.
7 years, 9 months ago
11 Jan 2011 05:03 CET