New Maps of Hell
Greg Graffin doesn’t care about influence. He cares about statements. He doesn’t water down his lyrics, for this is post-9/11 ’merica, and you’ll take your truth straight up. Whether you like it is irrelevant.
Subtlety? Um, no. Maps and, for that matter, Bad Religion’s last few records, have pulled what was left of the veil off Graffin’s distaste for political puppets trafficking in paranoia and misinformation. His pen is a potent sling blade, threshing and slicing away with trademark veracity that’s philosophical without being preachy.
Bully pulpit aside, Bad Religion has nothing left to prove musically, having transitioned neatly into the realm of bands that write when they feel like it. While the L.A. six-piece has influenced a legion of imitators that tout self-actualization and worldly intelligence, few put our national disgraces in such stark language. “Maybe we can make it right/Someday, I’ll see you high above the fields of Mars,” is as foreboding as anything Al Gore could ever write. —Mat Herron