Punknews.org
Greg Graffin - American Lesion (as American Lesion) (Cover Artwork)

Greg Graffin

Greg Graffin: American Lesion (as American Lesion)American Lesion (as American Lesion) (1997)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: TheTommunistThe Tommunist
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I'm not going to lie. Bad Religion is my favorite band, and as such, I rushed out when I found out that Greg Graffin was releasing a solo record. I went into it without any prior knowledge as to what it would be like, and I'll admit I was fairly disappointed at first. But upon repeated listens, it r.


I'm not going to lie. Bad Religion is my favorite band, and as such, I rushed out when I found out that Greg Graffin was releasing a solo record. I went into it without any prior knowledge as to what it would be like, and I'll admit I was fairly disappointed at first. But upon repeated listens, it really grew on me. This album is as, like their 1983 bomb Into The Unknown, as far away from the typical Bad Religion sound as it gets. Here we have no signs of anything punk. Most of the songs are slow to mid-tempo, and for the most part they are subdued. It is very mellow but has hints of poppiness in it. Yet, no matter how different it is from Greg Graffin's usual fare, this is a terrific album.

Greg Graffin plays all the instruments on the album. All the songs are drums/bass/guitar, but many songs add extra instrumentation such as the piano and perhaps a horn or two on songs like "Maybe She Will." "Fate's Cruel Hand" is very soft, heavy on the piano, and very somber. Other songs, like "Predicament" and "Maybe She Will" are a bit more lively, but still retain an element of somberness. These songs have bombastic choruses, and instances like these are where the album really shines. That's not to say that the softer parts are no good, it's just that the extra oomph really grabs the listener. Of particular interest is a slow piano version of "Cease," off Bad Religion's 1996 album The Grey Race. It seems even more powerful stripped down than its original electric version. Overall, the songs are quite varied, even including an almost country-esque song, "The Fault Line."

Lyrically, it's typical Greg Graffin. Songs are intelligently written, though with a lot less of his gargantuan linguistic palette that is typical of Bad Religion. At the same time, they are much more personal. "Maybe She Will" is a sad tale that tells of a breakup and all the questions and feelings of doubt that fill Greg. "When I Fail" lets Greg talk about the pressures of responsibility. "In The Mirror" is a bit of an angry song, where Greg chastises people who think they are better than the rest. The song climaxes when Greg repeats effectively, and ever so slightly humorously, "you piece of shit!" This is a rare instance of anger on an otherwise poignant and reflective album.

Melody and "oozin' ahhs" are the name of the game on all Bad Religion albums, and on American Lesion, Greg recruits his bandmates to contribute some backing vocals to many of the songs. It goes without saying that this works wonderfully, and really adds a nice touch to the songs.

So, Greg Graffin's solo album is a must have for fans of good music. Bad Religion fans might not like it, but it's on par with everything the band has released, just different in execution. Greg's smartly written songs and lyrics showcase his abilities as a songwriter outside the sphere of punk rock. This album makes for a good listen on a cold, quiet evening.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Descendents - Milo Goes To CollegeBad Religion - SufferMasked Intruder - Masked IntruderBad Religion - No ControlGood Riddance - For God and CountryBad Religion - The Dissent of ManNOFX - Punk In DrublicOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAlkaline Trio - Good MourningALL - Mass Nerder

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 19, 2004)

I love to dryhump children.

-BSD

Anonymous (December 19, 2004)

Greg graffin without mr brett = boring songs with pompous uninspired lyrics, like a rocket scientist trying to make poetry but sounding like a bad encyclopedia... true for Bad Religion, true for this record... i was very sad when buying this one cos i'm a BIG BR fan and was expecting at least a couple of good songs. Go get Johnny Cash or will oldham, it's waay better...

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Thought i'd let you all know that Greg Graffin is a pedaphile. I promoted shows in Canada for Bad Religon and at his request greg took 3-12 year old girls back to his hotel

libel=written slander

your comment=your a fucking pilon

Barkley

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

the songs on this were written over a long period of time, though his divorce does show up on a few songs.

"in the mirror" was about mr.brett back when they weren't on good terms.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Thought i'd let you all know that Greg Graffin is a pedaphile. I promoted shows in Canada for Bad Religon and at his request greg took 3-12 year old girls back to his hotel

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

I read somewhere that almost the whole album was written about his divorce.

TheOneTrueBill (December 18, 2004)

I love the 'Cease' on this album. I'm also surprised that the major label put this out.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

wonderful album. with little to no variation in bad religion's repertoire, it's refreshing to hear what the brains of the band could branch out to make (alliteration unintended). though the songwriting is strong, i only wish graffin would put more emotion into his words--both the text and delivery. his lyrics have always been poignant and appropriate, but they border on stale sometimes.

but don't get me wrong. bad religion has been one of my favorite bands over the years, with an underappreciated and unarguably solid career. this album does come short to the usual songwriting prowess of graffin, but shows one thing remarkably well: potential. i personally would like to see him (perhaps with a little collaboration with mr. brett) get that piano back out and give american lesion another chance--this time over the radar and with the emotion and diversity that i know is in him somewhere.

-duped

Anonymous (December 17, 2004)

Shut up.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (December 17, 2004)

Dear Chinatown:

Fuck You.

Anonymous (December 17, 2004)

it's about fucking time that this album gets reviewed here. i passed this up in 98 and thought it was out of print, but i had no problem ordering it online about a year ago. great music.

Anonymous (December 17, 2004)

Not interested.

-Chinatown

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go