There are not so many things in my punk rock life that never change, and one of those things is that I really like every release Good Riddance are throwing on the market. But what makes that band so good?
Two major things got me into Good Riddance as a 15 year-old teenager way too long ago. The first thing is of course the music, which is this fast, hard and straight early to mid-80s hardcore sound combined with this sense of pure melodic sounds and the clean perfect vocals of Russ Rankin. To me, Good Riddance always used to be the perfect example to show people what melodic hardcore really means.
The second thing is that Good Riddance also got me in touch with political lyrics. As a young teenager, it was great to find out about veganism, feminism and criticism in punk rock lyrics. To see that there is more than just singing about partying and drinking, that punk rock is also about questioning yourself and the society you live in.
Last week, I first listened to the newest album of Good Riddance, Thoughts and Prayers, released on Fat Wreck Chords, as usual. 12 songs in 28 minutes, which means fast catchy melodycore at its finest. The record starts with a dialogue from the movie Wall Street, ending with the words: “Now, you’re not naive enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you, Buddy?”
One of the first songs that got me listening to it twice was No King But Caesar. A catchy, but also fast and hardcorish song with great lyrics: “When violence breeds indifference we are lost, Release a plague upon us but defer the cost.” This is a perfect example why I’m still so much into that band. And of course, track number 11, Lo Que Sucede, also somehow stands out in its own way, because it’s nearly completely sung in Spanish.
The more I listen to that record, the more it becomes what every record from Good Riddance became in the past: one piece of music and not some significant songs I remember. That’s why it’s also hard for me to pick one or two songs as some kind of “best tracks“. It’s just a record that you should listen to in its entirety.
I’m a lyrics junkie so it’s best to end this review with one of those great lines from the song Our Great Divide: “Build walls out of fear and greed discard the ones in need of, Humanity and grace and so we falter as before.”
Link to the record: https://goodriddance.bandcamp.com/album/thoughts-and-prayers