TBT Morning Fuel: Bad Religion - Unacceptable
Bad Religion was a band that I never owned a CD or tape of in high school on their own with the exception of the Clerks soundtrack. That was definitely where I heard them most, as a lot of people I knew owned that one. After all, you could get it through BMG. Some other people I knew were obviously into them during the mid 90s, even if later on they graduated to bands with a little less subtlety in their messaging and their music (Rage being the obvious one).
They were a band I was certainly aware of, and enjoyed, but I didn’t give them much thought or attention. At the time, I didn’t have the appreciation for them that I should’ve. I liked the guitars, the vocals, but I didn’t have the trained ears for listening to the lyrics. I didn’t “get” actual punk until later because I was too much of a cookie-cutter alternative/grunge kid at the time. The sound of that melodic punk they specialized in and helped cement did always seem to reverberate through music every few years. Ten years later, in the mid aughts, I was at someone’s apartment and they were playing Bad Religion and I’d forgotten how good they had been and how interesting they sounded with a fresh listen. I immediately bought a ton of their albums, mostly the early stuff like Generator and Against the Grain. Against the Grain was where I found this one, and it still makes me think of how utterly stupid we are about everything related to the planet.
I guess that’s the thing. Bad Religion has plenty of political ideas and notions, but even if it’s now from over 20 years ago, it’s suprisingly timeless. How can you not hear a song like Unacceptable and NOT think it’s still relevant? Maybe it’s even sad in a way that all of the angry 90s protest punk that bands like Bad Religion turned out in droves barely needs an update for today’s conditions. Same shit, different day. But this isn’t about being depressed, it’s about listening to something that can wonderfully express your frustration over certain things in less than 2 minute increments. At that, Bad Religion excels.