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Rancid - Let's Go (Cover Artwork)

Rancid

Rancid: Let's GoLet's Go (1994)
Epitaph Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
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Contributed by: IronMountainIronMountain
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In the summer of 1994, most impressionable teenagers were still getting over Kurt Cobain killing himself and taking grunge with him, wondering what would come along next and fill the void. Around the same time as Cobain's suicide, Green Day's Dookie and The Offspring's Smash were birthed into the wo.
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In the summer of 1994, most impressionable teenagers were still getting over Kurt Cobain killing himself and taking grunge with him, wondering what would come along next and fill the void. Around the same time as Cobain's suicide, Green Day's Dookie and The Offspring's Smash were birthed into the world and videos from those albums started popping up on MTV. A few months later, they were joined by "Salvation," from Rancid's Let's Go, and the transition from long hair and flannel to mohawks and studs picked up speed.

Twenty years on, Rancid's Let's Go still stands up as the primary entry point for many '90s punk kids —— the record that took them beyond the poppier, skatier leanings of Green Day and The Offspring and introduced them to a richer palette of punk rock. A year prior to Let's Go, Rancid released a debut album that left behind the trappings of Tim Armstong and Matt Freeman's previous band, Operation Ivy, and took a harder, grittier approach to punk rock. For Let's Go the band added Lars Fredriksen on second guitar, infused their sound with a bit more pop and set off a barrage of Clash comparisons the likes of which the world had yet to see.

While "Salvation" became tiresome due to heavy rotation on MTV, other tracks like "Radio" and "Nihilism" are fondly remembered as touchpoints that every '90s punk rocker remembers, such that in many ways they're bigger "hits" than "Salvation." Let's Go, though, had more than the hits going for it —— it was consistent, with just about every track packed with the kind of power and energy that epitomized Rancid in its early days. Matt Freeman's bass, as always, provided an inimitable backbone, and he also turned in some of his best vocal performances on "Tenderloin," "Ghetto Box" and "Black & Blue." Meanwhile, Tim Armstrong was at his marble—mouthed best, channeling his manic energy while demonstrating the best parts of his unique delivery.

In later years, Rancid would reach full—on pop stardom with ‚?¶And Out Come The Wolves explore more diverse influences with Life Won't Wait and eventually end up spending a lot of time hanging out with Good Charlotte. Whatever you think of the band now, in considering Let's Go as a document of a time and place in punk rock, it stands up quite strongly, and compares quite favorably to Epitaph's other notable 1994 releases, which include Smash, NOFX's Punk in Drublic and the first Punk—O—Rama compilation. It also serves as an influence for countless bands, especially of the street punk variety, who continue to ape Let's Go—era Rancid's look and sound today. If it's that kind of lasting influence that's the measure of an album, then Let's Go measures up pretty well, and unlike many 20—year—old albums, it remains a pretty good listen, too.

 

 
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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.
damo (August 20, 2014)

think ...wolves is a better record but i still like this. Hated Salvation as a song (never knew it got radio play). What was the name of the film that had nilhilism on the sound track. Can't remember which one it is

revdom666 (August 19, 2014)

Loved this album! I was much more into the harder bands back then (The Casualties, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, etc.), but Rancid will always have a special place in my heart.

paulrulzdood (August 18, 2014)

"salvation" wasn't as big as the Green Day/Offspring hits of the same time, but it was still a pretty big hit. I remember there was some commercial on Mtv that constantly featured the song...a spot for "alternative nation"? Did I make that up? Anyway, I was first made aware of Rancid through Mtv and "salvation", I was 14 at the time and just getting into Green Day, Offspring, NOFX and Rancid.

Good album, although I feel a lot of the songs are sound-samesy and run together/filler. Very similar formula to most of the tracks, though there are several standouts (nihlism, radio, jimmy & johnny, tenderloin, black & blue). I am a much bigger fan of "wolves" though, where I feel they perfected their sound and made it a little more diverse by bringing in more pop/commercial/catchy songwriting elements and structures, bigger chorus', and phasing in some of their ska sound to change it up a bit more.

And "life wont' wait" is their London Calling IMO, a near-perfect record that stylistically goes all over the place, and finding success every time.

JayTee (August 18, 2014)

I still feel like people rewrite history when it comes to Rancid. They were "mainstream" I guess, but more hidden. Much more people liked Bush and Presidents of The United States and Live and Smashing Pumpkins than the straight up harsh punk sound of Rancid. Mohawks and chains were definitely still a minority to the alt-rockers. "Heavy rotation" on MTV translates to "A few times late at night and once on Beavis and Butthead".

77punker (August 18, 2014)

Awesome record!!

kickaha (August 17, 2014)

davebrave & sleepwalker - word up on the love for Indestructible. I didn't realize it was so disliked. I always felt it did a good job of running through the different styles of the Rancid Archetype. Operation Ivy was a major gateway band for me in '92, so for me these guys could do *almost no wrong in my eyes ( *I was pretty disappointed with how lazy Dominoes sounded - Especially Tim's delivery, he lacked the energy & urgency in his vocals).

allbutone (August 17, 2014)

I had a dream I was a vigilant sidekick

stevilpromotions (August 16, 2014)

Great f'n album!!!

sleepwalker (August 16, 2014)

This was my punk "gateway" album as well. 20 years later and it is still perfect. In fact, I was listening to its Side A just two days ago. I shamelessly love this band and probably always will.

Also: Indestructible IS a great album. I like it more now than I did in 2003, actually...

davebrave4 (August 16, 2014)

Kickaha -- thank you. I thought I was the only person in the universe who liked Indestructible.

kickaha (August 16, 2014)

Such a great album, then & now. When this was released my friends & I debated endlessly on which Rancid Album was better. I still don't know the answer. I think the first 4 Rancid albums are all fuckin perfect. Rancid 2000 & Indestructible are pretty solid too.

BarleyPat (August 16, 2014)

Great album, easily the best Rancid album.

uscbdaddy (August 15, 2014)

favorite song from this album is St. Mary. "Mary's out the door with a loaded .44 in her hand..."

korbendallas89 (August 15, 2014)

Ridiculously good album. First one that made me explore more punk than just early Offspring/Green Day.

davebrave4 (August 15, 2014)

My first Rancid album. "Nihilism" was my shit back then. I was so full of scotch, I could not stand up.

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