so before I get started with my album review, I went ahead and deleted some of my older entries in the hopes of streamlining this blog. I want people to be able to pick up and read the blog from the begining and some of those early entries were really painful to read. This blog is going to be about albums that have influenced me and why I think you should listen to them. I’ll also have sporadic movie reviews and politics scattered here and there… but mostly album reviews.
With that said, today I want to write about one of my favorite albums of all time. The Riot Before is a punk band from Richmond VA. and they put together a stirring album in 2008 that tells a story punk needed to hear. “Fists buried in pockets” is a game changer.
For example listen to “5 to 9” a song about the struggles of Mexican immigrants who cross the border to feed their families and face prejudice and hate for living their lives across these invisible lines on a map. Brett Adams writes introspective lyrics and approaches the global debate on immigration from the heart, he sees human beings trying to feed families and really what greater perspective is there. The songs chorus changes from “I am not a man” what the immigrants must think of themselves in the face of hate, too “I am a Hu-man” them realizing that we are all one people on this planet and that borders and language barriers may divide us but they do not separate us from what we are.
Following the global heaviness of that song numerically is the fun breezy “you can’t sexy dance to punk rock” an anthem that cements this band into a force necessary to listen to. the song kicks off to an uptempo flurry of music with a shout “A scientist, a golden age”. I love this song from the intro to the breakdown the music reads perfectly, in my eyes punk has never been more clear than when he closes off the music and sings “it was gone in the moment,we tried to hold on”. I can’t help but feel like he captures the very spirit of punk.
Finally I can’t leave without talking about “words written over coffee” Brett’s song about his struggle to come to terms with his burgeoning Atheism. Many can relate with the struggle of disbelief but most don’t talk about how difficult it is to give up on a belief in a higher power. I have gone down that well many times and while I have found my own brand of spirituality I can’t help but respect Brett’s commitment to backing out of the race for heaven. He gave it a shot, but in the end over the course of an absolutely beautiful acoustic song, he drops out, and leaves behind the religion of his parents and family only to walk alone fists buried in pockets against the grain redeemed by his music.