If it wasn't for me always looking for new releases to feature in the Music Wrap-Up every month then I would have probably just ignored Anti-Flag's new cd The People or the Gun. I had already been burned twice before with For Blood and Empire and then The Bright Lights of America. They weren't terrible, I just couldn't get into them like I did previous releases.
The faults with The People or the Gun are exactly the same. I'm not the type of person that cries foul when a band changes up their sound or matures their lyrics, I encourage it. That's sort of been what my biggest problem has been with Anti-Flag in the past few records, they seem to think that in order to keep fans happy, they need to keep their formula simple. I've heard these guys speak very intelligently about politics in interviews, but when it comes to some of their lyrics... well, let me provide you with some examples from the new cd.
We’re so f*cked and we don’t give a f*ck, no.
We’re so f*cked, but no we just don’t care, no.
We’re so f*cked, this world is sh*t out of luck and we don’t give a f*ck.
It’s time to make a move,
Change the times or they’ll change you.
False promises of more.
Check that sh*t at the door.
While that stuff might be good for making the 13 year olds scream and shout it, I could care less about it. How old is Anti-Flag at this point? According to Wikipedia Chris #2 is 29 and Justin Sane is 36. That hardly seems like the lyrics match their age.
The real evolution in the bands sound occurred with The Terror State, a cd with which I am prepared to defend to anyone who dislikes it. Around the time of it's release, a lot of bands were disappointing me with more of the same stuff. I was looking for my favorite punk bands to mature and grow with me as I started listening to deeper music. In The Terror State I saw a big step in the right direction. The music was much more complex and layered then that of Underground Network. Sure there were a few duds at the beginning of the cd, namely "Rank-N-File" and "Power to the Peaceful", but overall it more then delivered what I was looking for. Unfortunately that was never to happen again.
Every release since then has failed to expand or change their sound. I've begun to think of them as more of a band for teenagers. Any deep and insightful political insight that I might want will have to be found in bands like Propagandhi. For all the 13 year olds that want to yell "F*ck the system!" they'll have a band in Anti-Flag. My tastes have matured past that.
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May 19, 2009