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Against Me! - I Was a Teenage Anarchist (Cover Artwork)

Against Me!

Against Me!: I Was a Teenage AnarchistI Was a Teenage Anarchist (2010)
Sire

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


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

Against Me! used to be one of those rare bands with the ability to unify people. It didn't matter whether you were a fan of folk rock, pop-punk or straight-up D-beat hardcore--there was something about the Florida four-piece that could cross the boundaries of genre. Perhaps it was the pure heart and.
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Against Me! used to be one of those rare bands with the ability to unify people. It didn't matter whether you were a fan of folk rock, pop-punk or straight-up D-beat hardcore--there was something about the Florida four-piece that could cross the boundaries of genre. Perhaps it was the pure heart and soul of the music; perhaps it was uniqueness of the sound; perhaps it was both. The songs were powerful and their delivery potent, but those days are now long gone. Against Me!, with the I Was A Teenage Anarchist EP, are still as honest and sincere as ever, but they no longer unify--rather, they polarize. Once a band that sung about being content living off dumpsters and selling blood to pay rent, they now seek mainstream approval and stadium rock superstardom. A major paradigm shift has taken place.

Does this bode well for the music? The answer is both yes and no. Like the songs on New Wave, the four tracks on the Teenage Anarchist EP lack the sense of urgency that once characterized the sound of Against Me!, but where edge and rawness is lacking there is an abundance of exceptional melody.

The eponymous opener, "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" is essentially just a great power-pop song--full of hooks and dominated by a big chorus--that sees Gabel finally bite the bullet by publicly distancing himself from his own back catalogue. The rest of the EP, however, is less catchy and is certainly not as bold. "Rapid Decompression" and "Bitter Divisions" are mediocre, although "One by One" is outstanding and is strong enough to stand alone as a single--why it has been excluded from the standard track listing of forthcoming album White Crosses is bewildering.

There is no doubt that this EP marks the shape of things to come. Against Me! are no longer scruffy young Florida radicals--they are now aging, married career musicians with futures to think of and babies to care for. Their music was once explosive and pioneering but now it is predictable. I Was a Teenage Anarchist is essentially a safe bet played by four men looking for the winning hand--a reminder, as if we needed one, that the glory days can never last forever.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! - White CrossesThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Against Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityNOFX - The DeclineThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimAlkaline Trio - This AddictionAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl Rose

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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.
skalastics (June 3, 2010)

the new shit is awful when you start to sound like bands you influenced its time to put the guitar down.

patod (May 31, 2010)

Meh, it's ehh.

yummygrass (May 31, 2010)

I cannot force myself to like something, even it it's by one of my all-time favorite bands. I am never a person to bitch about new records and major labels, fuck, I liked New Wave. But in all honesty, I cannot sit through one song on this album. It's cool if it works for others and Against Me!, but I'm just moving on. I loved them for what they did, their wild shows, and dedicated fans. It was fun, but for me it's over.

xcarlupanddiex (May 31, 2010)

this is really bad bad bad

R3vengeTherapy (May 31, 2010)

Officially: the b-sides on this are great, but the album is better. Blown away by this batch of songs they wrote this time around. I can't wait to hear the other b-sides.

swiftjustice (May 31, 2010)

good review, I like this album a lot but theyre not what they once were

joeg (May 31, 2010)

"@ilikenothing: It's ridiculous to call out the reviewer for not dumpster diving himself, being a hipster, etc. The point isn't that the reviewer wants to show how punk he is; he's making the point that the band has changed a damn lot, and I don't think anyone will challenge that"

The review does indeed do a great job of showing how much the band has changed .......through an incredibly condescending and dismissive tone. Keep the snarky editorialzing out of the reviews and stick to the music please because you've neglected that, which is kind of the point of reviewing the MUSIC. Words like mediocre, oustanding, and strong don't mean anything if you don't explain what about the song makes it mediocre, outstanding, or strong.

TheKidsSuck (May 30, 2010)

White Crosses was leaked on purpose to boost support for their upcoming tour with the Silversun Pickups...as well as the fact that NOONE was expecting White Crosses to be epic as fuck.

It is their best album, by a lot.

Quit looking to music to make life important. This is a good EP from a good band.

new_wave (May 30, 2010)

Some of you really need to grow the fuck up. Hahah I love this part of the review:

Once a band that sung about being content living off dumpsters and selling blood to pay rent...

God forbid they actually make a living now! How dare they no longer struggle to feed themselves and pay rent! Bad capitalism! Bad! Making money is so evil! They should avoid making money at all costs and NEVER write music that appeals to more than 2% of the American population.

I used to feel that way too when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Then I entered the real world and discovered how nice it is to make money and a hefty paycheck. You guys will experience this too, don't worry, everyone goes through their anti-wealth stage while they're in college or living with their parents. Hahah

moistphily (May 29, 2010)

haven't listened to this album yet, love their early stuff but new wave is awful

hobbzoid (May 29, 2010)

ps you're all idiots.

hobbzoid (May 29, 2010)

against me has never been a "unifier" Since day one it's been more of a dividing camp kinda thing. I'm still with them.

R3vengeTherapy (May 29, 2010)

The conclusions people jump to on this website...oi. The reviewer was pointing out the progression the guys in AM! have made in their lives, not saying that you have to dumpster dive and sell blood to be punk or something brainless. This website will never forgive AM! for "betraying" them, and it's pathetic. It's a fucking band. It has no real bearing on your life.

That said, I think Eternal Cowboy and Clarity are classics, but I thought New Wave was painfully mediocre, so I didn't expect much from White Crosses and I was very surprised. It's easily one of the best records this year, and I need to get this EP for the b-sides.

racecargrin (May 29, 2010)

@ilikenothing: It's ridiculous to call out the reviewer for not dumpster diving himself, being a hipster, etc. The point isn't that the reviewer wants to show how punk he is; he's making the point that the band has changed a damn lot, and I don't think anyone will challenge that.

XchinatownX (May 28, 2010)

This scene alone is better than Against Me!'s entire recorded output:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKAzfd8oTWs

drewshaw (May 28, 2010)

I can't believe people are still whining about how great against me used to be. Who gives a fuck. You either like their new stuff or you don't. Who cares anyway.

punker001 (May 28, 2010)

Rapid decompression is a much song than teenage anacist! ur crazy!

thepopeofchili-town (May 28, 2010)

expanding their AUDIENCE. Not night.

thepopeofchili-town (May 28, 2010)

I know music is subjective and all that, but some of the posts in here are just WRONG.

@ FaithIsForFools: I'm sure they will enjoy their tour with Silversun playing to thousands of people every night and expanding their night.Just as I'm sure you'll enjoy sitting on here trying to prove how punk you are.

@ bassxface: What a random song to pick as their only good one. I love "Violence", it's probably one of my top 10, but if you like that one, there's no reason you wouldn't like at least half of the other songs on that album.

gutless (May 28, 2010)

its not that i dont like the new cd cause theyre not dumpster diving, its that it sounds like tom petty.

bassxface (May 28, 2010)

AM! old or new is the most boring shit on the planet. Truth. "Violence" is the only good song, and it's damn good, but it's the only one.

FaithIsForFools (May 28, 2010)

I "discovered" Against Me! in 2002 shortly after Reinventing Axl Rose came out. I fell in love, and sought out their pre-Axl material... which (with the exception of Acoustic) all blows ass.
When they signed to Fat, they got better. Hell, even New Wave and it's better-than-the-shit-that-was-on-the-album b-sides were pretty good.

This EP? The reviewer said it... p-r-e-d-i-c-t-a-b-l-e.
"I Was A Teenage Anarchist" is decent enough, "Rapid Decompression" is pretty tight, but both "One By One" and "Bitter Divisions" are just bland and boring-as-fuck.

The album White Crosses, I was actually diggin' it when it leaked, but trying to listen to it now... meh. This review 100% sums up Against Me! in 2010... and that blows.
Enjoy your tour with Silversun Pickups... ridiculous.

ilikenothing (May 28, 2010)

Really curious as to the last time the reviewer went dumpster diving in order to stay true to "the scene". Fucking pretentious hipster shithead. I remember why I hate this site so much. God forbid a band would like to be successful and not have to play 100 cap rooms their entire career. Grow up douche.

ozmanx (May 28, 2010)

Who the fuck would be content living off dumpsters? Boo-urns to those people!

kylewagoner (May 28, 2010)

I kinda think most people miss the meaning of "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" and only judge the song by the thought of "WAS a teenage anarchist?! So long, Gabel!" I, for one, absolutely love everything they've been doing lately in a different (though just as strong of a) way that/as I loved their older music. I've actually really, really grown to love New Wave since I've heard White Crosses.

Blackjaw_ (May 28, 2010)

Blech.

k-dubs (May 28, 2010)

score is for the single, love it.

nedsammy (May 28, 2010)

come now, Rapid Decompression is a great song. when Tom Gabel was on the BBC radio 1 punk show he came accross as an awesome guy, awesome enough to be an anarchist and punk, but smart enough to turn his back on scenesters and closed minded people within those groups. after explaining his motivations for writing teenage anarchist, he played a brilliant acoustic version of it. i want more, so i think i'll buy this soon

thepopeofchili-town (May 28, 2010)

The B-sides are rad. I'm excited to see what the other two bonus tracks on the physical release are. White Crosses is still album of the year.

trolley (May 28, 2010)

"Once a band that sung about being content living off dumpsters and selling blood to pay rent, they now seek mainstream approval and stadium rock superstardom."

When have they ever been "content" living off dumpsters and selling blood? Those were sacrifices they made to live their dream, and now that they don't have to live like that anymore why should they choose to? But I guess in the punk rock cred handbook there's a rule that says you're not allowed to be successful and still be good musicians at the same time.

gabbagabbamike (May 28, 2010)

This is more of a comment on the state of Against Me! then a review of the music on the EP. No review on production, the new drumming, the music in general other than the single, or even the topics of the "mediocre songs" and why they are classified as such. Not to nitpick but this is a Music Review and should be about the music and not a referendum on their standing amongst fans.

Luke12 (May 28, 2010)

Good review. I think what most people feel with this latest material is that it's fine, albeit quite bland, rock. No problems with that if it wasn't Against Me! producing this very unmemorable music.

skankbook (May 28, 2010)

"One By One" is such an amazing song, it's worth the $5 alone.

Problematiclogic (May 28, 2010)

Agree with pretty much all of this, good review.

carlo_cabinetti (May 28, 2010)

Totally agree - great power pop song. Nowt wrong with that.

Calling White Crosses "forthcoming" always makes me do a double take...feels like it got released aaaaaages ago. But then it didn't.

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