Release Date: August 19, 2003
Producer: Brett Gurewitz
Record Label: Hellcat
Upon reading that Rancid would be releasing a new album, I was quite excited. Reading their interview in the July 2003 issue of Alternative Press only made me want it more. Then the rumors came, and the news dropped like a bombshell. Rancid inked a deal with the most “evil” of all major labels, Warner Brothers. The flood gates opened up and all of the haters flowed on in. A lot of people in the punk community felt betrayed, others just wanted something to bitch about. How could a band that preached DIY and spoke out against major labels sign with one? How could a band who Brett Gurewitz of Epitaph just talked up as being the most loyal band alive, turn their back on the label that gave them life? Everywhere I looked all I read was “Rancid sold out.” Myself personally, I couldn’t care less what label they released the album on. Whatever it takes to get the music out there and heard by the masses, then so be it. Unfortunately, not everyone has that same mindset. Regardless, August 19 rolled around and the album, Indestructable, was released. I bought it. These are my thoughts.
The album leads off with the fast-paced title track, Indestructable. This is one of my many favorites on this album, and a perfect way to jump-start the album. It’s like them saying, Look, we’ve been through some fucked up shit through the past few years. We lost some people along the way. But we’re strong, we’re still standing, and we aren’t going anywhere. We’re indestructable. Excellent. It’s also dedicated to Joey and Dee Dee Ramone, as well as Joe Strummer.
The next track, Fall Back Down, fits perfect back to back with the title track. It opens up with a church style organ, which is a nice touch. You can hear the organ in the background throughout the track as well. This song is a tribute to friendship and being there for one another though hard times. Some people have dismissed the song because it has a “poppy” feel to it, but I like it. It’s a great way for them to say thank you to each other and their friends.
I find myself pressing repeat on my stereo quite often when I play this next track. Red Hot Moon, a song about a late friend of the band, named K.C. This reggae-influenced track is pretty damn catchy. I dare you not to sing along with the chorus, “Under the red hot moon/you take the bus downtown to the graveyard shift tonight.” Skinhead Rob from Transplants drops by and raps a verse for the song as well.
The following track, David Coutrney, is sang by Lars. It’s a fast-paced track dedicated to the man of the same name as the song. An introduction to the song calls him the “Robin Hood of London, England.” It’s a good song, though not one of my favorites. I’m sure it will get lots of love in the pits though. Start Now, a song about war, violence, and the overall fucked up place this world is right now. “I’m not looking for a fight now/And I don’t care who’s wrong or right now/So release the dove into flight now,” the addictive chorus sings.
The next track, Outta Control, seems like it would have fit better on their last album, Rancid 2000. It’s not a bad song by any means, it just doesn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the songs on the album. I do catch myself skipping over this song occasionally. Django keeps up the fast pace set by the previous track. Django is a “metaphore song about a guy who drags his demons around with him.” A good song, though not one of my favorites. The next track slows things down a bit. Arrested in Shanghai is sung by Tim from the perspective of an incarcerated protester. Travis Bickle is about Robert De Niro’s character from Taxi Driver. It’s also a tribute to their “home away from home”, New York. Memphis is another catchy song with an equally catchy chorus. It’s about being out on the road and traveling from city to city.
Spirit of ’87 takes a trip into the punk scene past and pays homage to the places “that had balls enough to put on punk shows.” Check the chorus of this hard hitting punk anthem…“Saturday/Where else are you gonna go/There’s no way/I’m gonna end up at a disco/Make my way/To fist fights and stilletos/To rock and roll/Rock and roll/Rock and roll”. The next track on the album, Ghost Band, is a break up song, so they say in the liner notes. Ever feel like all the sad songs play when you feel like shit? That’s what this song’s about. Tropical London, the next song, is also about a breakup. A more specific breakup though, Tim and Brody. If you lose me/you lose a good thing Tim tells his former wife in this reggae-influenced track. Up next is Roadblock, a song about playing live. It speeds up the pace quite a bit from the previous track, and it’s dedicated to Motorhead. Born Frustrated explores American consumerism and shopping malls. I’m guessing that the latest punk fashion trend being mass produced also motivated this track.
The next track, Back Against the Wall, has a bit of a reggae feel to it at times. The unemployment rate in America seems tobe constantly growing, and this is their take on it. The intro to the next song, the fast-paced Ivory Coast, reads “They suspended the curfew on New Years Eve so people could come out and celebrate the new year. The French soldiers were given champagne and a few drunken one’s shot their machine guns in the air when the clock hit midnight. The next day people were told they would be shot if they were out after dark.” The next track seems like it would fit better on a Transplants album, which isn’t really a bad thing. You can definitely hear the Transplants influence in Stand Your Ground, a song for the homeless in Los Angeles. “Hold your head up high/Cuz tomorrow you may die/Cuz there’s no one safe around here” reminds us how fragile life can be. The following and final track on the album is the heartfelt tribute, Other Side. The song is sung by Lars, and is directed at his late brother Robert, who passed away in 2001. This is one of my favorites on the album.
Overall, this is an excellent album which will be getting loads of play in my car stereo. In my opinion, this album did exactly what I thought it would do. It proved the haters wrong. It grabbed them all by their shirt collars, slammed them against the wall and told them to shut their mouths. Rancid haven’t changed and they haven’t sold out. Not even close. They’re still the same Rancid that I’ve come to love, with that wonderful punk rock sound. In the end though, it doesn’t matter what people say or think. They’re just four regular guys doing what they love…playing punk rock music.