more pitchfork + bad religion

By on Sep 18, 2007 in Music

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i admit it. i was spurred to search pitchfork for bad religion reviews after hearing that a friend’s hipsterific brother stopped liking bad religion after pitchfork called their lyrics ‘politics for seventh graders.’ (let’s not even get into the fact that this person blindly follows pitchfork …) the previous post on their review of los angeles is burning was just my first foray.

next in google’s “more from pitchforkmedia.com” is:

the process of belief:

well i respect them for not dissing too hard on br; on refusing to give their readers what they want: “You want to see your friendly neighborhood elitist thoroughly skewering a band long past its prime.” (what does that say about their readers? only 28 year olds in girls jeans one size too small plastered on by the modern marvel of spandex can make good music?) at least, they are mildly aware of the roots of the shitty hipster indie rock crap they listen to.

but it’s statements like these that i really don’t understand: “Obvious pleas for radio play, like the mid-tempo and acoustic-flavored “Broken,” make you feel a little sorry for the band and their memories of brief mid-nineties alt-rock stardom (sing it: “You and me-ee/ Have a disea-ease!”)”

let’s review something here …

the highest a bad religion song ever charted on the us modern rock charts (never hot 100) was 11 … and it was 21st Century Digital Boy not Infected. (Infected only got to 27). That was over 10 years ago. Somehow I don’t think a band that has been around since 1980, that seems to be doing quite well financially, and in which most members have kids and other jobs is really looking for that #1 in celebrity magazine hit. I guess it’s just me but maybe, just maybe, they, as Jay Bentley says in their latest dvd, “want what they have.” Bad Religion makes good money off their music … what else can a punk rock band ask for? Personally Bad Religion with their just under the radar record sales in the hundreds of thousands (250,000 to 800,000) is something to aspire to. Plus I look like an ice cream cone in skinny jeans.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think Process of Belief is their best album and yes, Bad Religion can do wrong. I just don’t trust the self-proclaimed “elitist” who consistently lists animal collective under best new music.

~ * ~ * ~

ah-ha! found it! the impetus for the search!

“Therefore, I think discovering Bad Religion and their Chomsky for Dummies rhetoric is an important experience for a youth in his/her formative musical years. Sure, their politics are a little flimsy and idealistic (the line “when all soldiers lay their weapons down” would make even a 1967 Haight-Ashbury drum circle queasy), but Graffin’s lyrics at least can plant questions in a seventh grader’s brain more profound than whether that girl in study hall likes him. And it’s all delivered in the kind of sugar-high sonic package that speaks most directly to the age range in question.”

I can barely begin here. Are you saying that adults who like bad religion are intellectually immature? That punk rock is only for kids (kind of like trix)? Bad Religion has the largest age range of fans of any band i know.

And Chomsky for Dummies? Flimsy and idealistic? Here they call it “thesaurus rock.”

Have they ever actually written a song? Have they ever tried to use “transubstantiation” in a lyric?

The truth is that pitchfork media exemplifies the old adage that those who do do and those who can’t teach … or in this case, review. Now I don’t believe that of teachers but I definitely believe it of critics and reviewers of all kinds.

More importantly, we forget that songs are not dissertations (which Greg Graffin has successfully completed for his Ph.fucking.D). They are short and rhymed and there is no way that a song could ever capture the nuance of life, especially politics. Songs are a moment of thought and feeling and shouldn’t be held to the standard of say, Chomsky’s books. And if you read Greg Graffin’s books and articles you will find a very well-read, intellectual, solid mind. More importantly, why don’t you try to fit a Chomsky book into 2 minutes of verse/chorus/verse? oh right, because you can’t even strum an E chord.

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