Bad Religion - Stranger Than Fiction (Cover Artwork)

Bad Religion

Bad Religion: Stranger Than FictionStranger Than Fiction (1994)
Atlantic Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: DesertBurst92DesertBurst92
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Shame on me! SHAME! ON! ME! I completely forgot how awesome this album is. Literally all 17 songs are fantastic. Stranger Than Fiction didn't come without controversy though, because this was Bad Religion's first album on Atlantic Records, a major label. They had always been on Brett Gurewitz's Epit.
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Shame on me! SHAME! ON! ME! I completely forgot how awesome this album is. Literally all 17 songs are fantastic. Stranger Than Fiction didn't come without controversy though, because this was Bad Religion's first album on Atlantic Records, a major label. They had always been on Brett Gurewitz's Epitaph Records up until then. But leaving Epitaph and signing to a major label, typically a huge taboo in the punk rock community, did not stop the band from making arguably one of the best albums of their career. This was perfect timing for them because as most of us know, the '90s were the years when punk rock broke out and entered into the mainstream music realm. The year Stranger Than Fiction was released it even made it fairly high on the Billboard 200 (#87 at its highest point). Of course it's natural when a punk band goes to a major label like this that they would get a at least a little bit of backlash from their fans, but despite that former Epitaph peer Tim Armstrong of Rancid did some guest vocals on "Television" and Jim Lindberg did some guest vocals on "Marked." Perhaps to symbolically show support and to show that nothing has really changed with Bad Religion other than their label.

Signing to Atlantic was good, if not better for the band. They kept their sound and they kept their trademark three—part harmonies and killer melodies. And again, there is not one bad song on this album. It's incredibly easy to listen to all the way through without losing interest anywhere in between. Some of their most famous songs came from Stranger Than Fiction like the title track, "Infected" and "21st Century (Digital Boy)." It's important though (at least in my opinion) to definitely not overlook the songs "Incomplete," "Leave Mine to Me," "Tiny Voices" and "Better off Dead." The label change may have been a breath of fresh air that the band needed to improve.

In terms of influence though, Bad Religion has been around for so long that it would be hard to not be influenced by them a little bit. Especially since Stranger Than Fiction came out during those famous Epi—Fat years many melodic pop—punk/punk—influenced bands emerged soon after (i.e. New Found Glory, who are currently on Epitaph, Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, etc.). Whether those melodic punk—influenced bands were any good is very debatable though. Of course, Bad Religion was still one of the crucial bands (along with Green Day, 7 Seconds, etc.) in making it acceptable for punk bands to write songs that have more prominent melodies and harmonies. Not everything has to be like "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" or "Chemical Warfare."

Today, Bad Religion is still back on Epitaph and after about 35 years of being a band and 20 years since Stranger Than Fiction was released, they are still going strong. They have been able to keep their sound, while still keeping it interesting, most recently with 2013's True North; an album that is easily comparable with Stranger Than Fiction, which is just another example that as long as the artist has creative control, the label that they are on doesn't matter as much. Then again, not everyone may agree with that.

Let's go back to 1994 when Bad Religion originally "sold out" and see the band play "Infected" live!


People who liked this also liked:
NOFX - Punk in DrublicThe Offspring - SmashBad Religion - True NorthRancid - …And Out Come The WolvesThe Clash - London CallingRancid - Let's GoGreen Day - DookieWeezer - WeezerAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Menzingers - On the Impossible Past

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
piffbreak (August 18, 2014)

Yeah I loved Mediocrity. I don't understand how Bad Religion hasn't cashed in on their bsides, some of them are almost better than songs on the album. It will always shock me that Shattered Faith never made it onto Process.

levidolphin (August 17, 2014)

Mediocrity (is a good bside)

faithisforfools (August 15, 2014)


elliot (August 15, 2014)

Somewhere in their Top 5 for sure. I think it's quite clear that this record is one of their most developed, fully-formed, confidently put together efforts they ever put out. The songs are really well-written, and the production just cuts right through, the way it always should have. Just imagine No Control or Against the Grain, but with THIS production. Good lord.

Jonny0110 (August 15, 2014)

This and Generator are my favourites. The Handshake, Better of Dead and Infected. One heck of a 1-2-3 punch,

NattyBoh (August 15, 2014)

No Control, Suffer, Against the Grain... then Generator... then everything else. That being said, this is a pretty good album.

joeg (August 15, 2014)

Not even close to a 5 star album. This is one of my least favorite albums of theirs and it has nothing to do with the fact that it was put out on a major. I listen to Recipe For Hate and Grey Race fairly regularly.

BarleyPat (August 15, 2014)

No Control
The Process of Belief
Against the Grain
Stranger Than Fiction

VERY close race between the last 3 though....

hpxjosh (August 15, 2014)

I guess I also signed up to post this:

If you haven't listened to Stranger Than Fiction in a while, and you find yourself loving it even more than you thought you would, I suggest trying it out with The Grey Race as well. I had basically give up on that album for a long time, but went back to it about a year ago, and now I listen to it once a week at minimum. There's a few songs that are maybe a little weak (Spirit Shine, The Streets of America), the rest of the album is a beast. Them and Us, A Walk, Ten in 2010, Cease, Come Join Us, Punk Rock Song are all amazing. And honestly, I think Nobody Listens is one of the punkest songs BR ever wrote.

Do yourself a favour, go back and give it a real good listen.

hpxjosh (August 15, 2014)

Of course, 21st Century Digital Boy is from Against The Grain, though it got arguably more popular after STF came out.

Yep, that's right. I signed up for an account just to post this.

mclz (August 15, 2014)

Last GREAT album of theirs until Process of Belief. The albums without Brett have good tracks, but they aren't killer like this.

nedsammy (August 15, 2014)

You saying Chemical Warfare has no melody, punk?

badseed (August 15, 2014)

For me it's behind Suffer, No Control, Process of Belief and probably about level with Against The Grain and Generator. Holds up pretty well but I reckon 5 stars is very generous.

filbunke (August 15, 2014)

uscbdaddy: and you just forgot about "Suffer" and "No Control"??

krid (August 14, 2014)

Top 10 punk albums of all time for me!

uscbdaddy (August 14, 2014)

In my top 3 BR albums along with Against the Grain and Process of Belief

magnetbox (August 14, 2014)

I like this album, but it's nowhere near the top for me as far as BR albums go.

I do think the "oozin' ahs" never sounded better than they do on the title track.

MN_DrNick (August 14, 2014)

This is actually my favorite album of theirs.

kickaha (August 14, 2014)

Suffer, No Control, & Stranger Than Fiction are the 3 BR albums I find myself listening to the most. When this was released in '94, 15 year old me wanted to label this the "Sellout" BR album, but it was just too good. Made me think how ridiculous it was to judge a band by it's record label. Oh the punk rock politics of my youth.

paulrulzdood (August 14, 2014)

not their best album, but in their top 5 for sure. pretty damn essential punk rock right here, and has aged very well.

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