OTR: Bad Religion - The New America


24. Feb. 2008, 4:40

The New America is Bad Religion's eleventh studio album and one of the first things I can remember putting on WAIH's playlist as the station's newest music director. The station had spent the previous school year under the direction of a musically ignorant ingrate who worshipped both Led Zeppelin and Limp Bizkit - two of the most testosterone-infused groups of dipshits to ever mar recorded media with their cacophony. When I took over as the music director, I had to rebuild the station's promotional contact list because there was literally nobody calling anymore! Upon calling one promoter, I can still remember what he said about my predecessor upon hearing the news that I was the new MD: "good - I fucking hated that kid!" Another one asked me if the format of the station was still modern rock. "What," I replied incredulously, "this is supposed to be a mixed format alternative station!"

If you want to be a music director at a college radio station, you'd damn well better be able to see past your own biases and preferences. I'm not big on Phish or Dave Matthews, but I still put them on the playlist - they're big college bands and not only did staff members want to play their music, but people on campus wanted to hear it as well. By contrast, the guy who was ruining the show before me wouldn't put a new Violent Femmes album in rotation because, "they won't ever have another hit." Fucktard.

But back to Bad Religion: the single for "The New America" came several months in advance of the album. When the album did come, it was bundled with another promo from Atlantic. What it was packaged with, I can't remember for the life of me at the moment. Obviously Bad Religion was the more memorable release.

They had me hooked with the single. Every song on this album is a fucking mini-epic. Still, what strikes me now is how optimistic this album is - this was before 9/11, before Al Gore was robbed of his presidential win and before George Bush was anything more than a sad governor with a hard-on for busy execution chambers in Texas. The song "I Love My Computer," which criticises isolation through technology (specifically the internet - a subject which Chumbawamba hit a month prior on the song "Pass It Along") seems kind of trite compared to Bad Religion's post 9/11 release The Empire Strikes First.

Still, Bad Religion has always been a socially concious band, so it is inevitable that the subject matter of some of their songs will date them somewhat. Frankly, it doesn't matter though, because this album still sounds fucking awesome! Anybody who doesn't start pumping their fists to songs like "You've Got a Chance" (a killer opener), "The Hopeless Housewife" and "Don't Sell Me Short" needs to check for a pulse.