I got a bit nostalgic a few days ago. I decided to bring out some of my favourite ska and punk albums from when I was a teenager. I got rid of most of them, the shitty third wave ska compilations and tongue-in-cheek punk albums (Diesel Boy unfortunately does not withstand the test of time). Among the albums I kept was Good Riddance’s 1997 album Ballads From the Revolution, a fierce combination of pop punk, hardcore, and political ideology. When I became a vegetarian, I remember really cherishing this album for its cruelty-free ideals and powerful messages.
What I think I love most about this album, setting it apart from most other punk albums I kept, is that there are too few bands these days that play this combination of breakneck speed melodic hardcore and poppy punk songs. I used to play a folk version of ‘Jeannie’ when I was about 15, because it defined my high school experience, wanting to say to the girl I had a crush on that her current boyfriend was using her and I would treat her right (alas I never could). The only weak spot on this album is the novelty cover of Kiss’ I Stole Your Love, which I sort of feel takes away from the general seriousness of the album. I like that in a way it shows that for all the band’s political rhetoric, they can still have fun, but then it’s just not that good of a song.
I’ll probably put this disc away and revisit it in another five years. But I hope it still has the same effect it did on me when I was 15. Because there aren’t enough albums that have such a great impact as this one had on me.