Songs You May Have Missed #190


Bad Religion: “Prodigal Son” (2007)

If Bad Religion are a punk band, or a hardcore band, as is commonly asserted, they aren’t a typical one. Let’s start with the fact that they’ve been together for more than 30 years. Punk bands have a life expectancy of next Tuesday.

Also, punk bands don’t tend to use wall of sound harmonies to back up strong melodic hooks–unless they’re latter-day Social Distortion. And they don’t typically have the vocabulary and wordplay skillz that Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz put on display:

Modernistocrat Horatio Alger…ever waiting for that canticle of manacles abating…he’s a mourning star with a champagne heart at his curtain call…you better redress the level of the cowardice rising to drown you…

A little more Elvis Costello than Ramones in the lyric department. Actually, this band sounds to me like a power pop band slapped up against chugging hardcore guitar and punk drumming–a pretty thrilling combination to me when you throw in intelligient lyrics.

I really always thought smart punk–or at least snarky punk–was more powerful than the dumbed-down kind anyway. Elvis Costello was more artful than the Ramones, and therefore spoke more directly even to my visceral receptors. (I’ll have to check to make sure I have visceral receptors, but I feel like I do…)

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