Year 6, Day 3: Rise Against – Appeal to Reason
- Collapse (Post-Amerika)
- Long Forgotten Sons
- Re-Education (Through Labor)
- The Dirt Whispered
- Kotov Syndrome
- From Heads Unworthy
- The Strength to Go On
- Audience of One
- Hero of War
- Hairline Fracture
- Whereabouts Unknown
About the Album
Appeal to Reason is the fifth studio album from Chicago based punk outfit, Rise Against. The album was recorded from January to June of 2008 and released on October 7th 2008 through DGC Records and Interscope Records. The album produced three singles: Audience of One, Re-Education (Through Labor), and Savior. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. The album is certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Thoughts on the Album
Day three is upon us and we are continuing the theme of guitar heavy rock here on the project. Rise Against, a punk band from Chicago, Illinois, holds a special place in my heart. Quite a few of their songs have got me through incredibly rough times. One such song is from today’s album, Appeal to Reason; it’s Savior. Rise Against is not a band that shies away from politics…. and 2008 was the year to release a politically charged punk album. (Of course, 2016 would eclipse 2008 in terms of releasing politically charged punk albums.) Appeal to Reason is a sincere and socially conscious album that is slick, melodic, and gritty.
Following up the successful The Sufferer & The Witness, was by no means an easy task to do. But the Chicago based punk rockers rose to the occasion. Opening track Collapse (Post-Amerika) is a thrilling, fast paced rocker. It’s a song that hearkens back to the forefathers of modern punk, Bad Religion. Collapse highlights the band’s political chops with a verse of…
When our rivers run dry and our crops cease to grow
and a chorus of…
This is not a test, this is cardiac arrest
The bridge of Collapse is amazingly multidimensional where the guitars and bass really shine through. It sets up a blueprint for songs Kotov Syndrome and Entertainment to play around with.
One of Rise Against‘s strengths is their ability to create impressively strong vocal hooks with little to no background sound. This is featured heavily with the lead single, Re-Education (Through Labor)‘s opening line,
To the sound of a heartbeat pounding away…
Re-Education (Through Labor), is a scathing rebuke about the dog-eat-dog, 9-to-5 lifestyle that many of us have to do to survive. It’s something we do to survive and it’s a mutual feeling that’s felt not just in American society, but around the world. It’s distortion heavy guitars power the song. However, this is not the song you were probably looking for when coming here to read about this album.
It is obvious that Savior is the humongous big, colossal, and monumental hit. Clocking in at slightly over four minutes long (4:02), Savior is by far the best song on the album and arguably the band’s best. It’s an aggressive, fast paced, and in-you-race punk rocker that discusses broken relationships. A phenomenal track that despite being four minutes long, is just as rapid fire as most of it’s compatriots/competitors in the genre. It’s an infectiously catchy song that is easily one to mosh to go, or shout along to, or dance along to, or air band to. It comes oh-so-close to entering pop-punk territory, but it stays melodic enough to stay hardcore. Looking for a less activist/politically charged song? This is it.
If you are looking for something more mellow and turned down, once again, Appeal to Reason has you covered with Hero of War. Hero of War, an unplugged track about an Iraq war veteran looking back on all of the hardships he faced in Iraq. Arguably one of the most divisive tracks on the record, Hero of War is clearly an anti-war song. The song tells the story of how a naive youngster who is inexperienced of the world, and not understanding what they are getting into when joining the armed services. Upon entering the service the “hero” eventually succumbs to group peer pressure while on assignment in Iraq. It’s a somber and poetic song and is as stunning as it is beautiful.
While most will lambaste and pan this album for trying to hard to be mainstream with more mid-tempo rockers, it is all relative to the band’s past. Appeal to Reason is far from being tame and still includes the same base punk aesthetic. Appeal to Reason is a more melodic and slick production that is more accessible to a wider audience. Tracks like Long Forgotten Sons, From Heads Unworthy, and Audience of One still have the same passion and urgency. There is definitely less variety than usual Rise Against albums, there isn’t a bad song on the album. It’s a criminally underrated album that often times gets overshadowed by it’s predecessor.
Also: Hero of War > Swing Life Away. Don’t @ Me.
Tracks to Listen to: Savior, Hero of War, Collapse (Post-Amerika), and Re-Education (Through Labor)