A compilation intended to express outrage at George W. Bush ultimately falls short in the outrage department.
As with any comp, this disc is hit-and-miss, especially since 18 of the 26 tracks were previously unreleased. None More Black opens the record with a fast, intense rocker that shows off singer Jason Shevchuck classic punk voice: a sneer you can hear. It’s followed, however, by predictable shittiness from Sum 41 and tracks from Alkaline Trio and the Epoxies that sound plucked straight from the ’80s.
The Descendents’ “Sad State of Affairs” has lame lyrics, a boring melody and a title that applies more to the band than the nation. You guys have been trying to replace your lead singer for, what, two decades now?
The best song on the comp comes two tracks later. On “That’s Progress,” Jello Biafra joins D.O.A. and proves that his voice and songwriting haven’t lost any anger or intensity since his days with the Dead Kennedys.
Three tracks after that, the Ataris offer an acoustic version of Bad Religion’s “Heaven Is Falling,” written during the first Iraq war. The slower redo is supposed to be emotional, and it is – if you don’t like hearing good songs butchered.
On “Jaw, Knee, Music,” NOFX’s Fat Mike sings, “No one seems to understand / The glory of guitar / When out of tune / The off timing / The singers who can’t sing.” Mike, who runs Fat Wreck and put the comp together, should have remembered his own words when he was picking songs. This collection ultimately fails because there are too many pop-punk acts with pretty-voiced singers. And good singers like doing sad songs, not angry ones. The result is a comp that is more emo whining than punk uprising.
[Travis Hunter has come to appreciate the unparalleled significance of a well-placed, “Aww, maaan.”]