Sunday, September 8, 2013

Song Of The Week: 9/8/13

Song: "Lulu"

Artist: Rancid

Album: "Let The Dominoes Fall"

Year: 2009

On the surface, "Lulu" could be seen as a tribute to the women of soldiers who have to hold down the homefront while their husband's are overseas fighting wars. I think the song goes a little deeper than that. To me it appears "Lulu" is about how America is being lost or better yet, stolen by warmongers and corporations that work to snuff and stifle the middle class or the working people. Lulu represents what America is all about. The people who work and labor and try to provide for their families while bigger powers that be try to basically squash them, their hopes and their dreams. Rancid formed as a band back in 1991. Hailing from Berkeley, California, Rancid formed out of the ashes of legendary punk/ska outfit Operation Ivy. Former Operation Ivy members Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman toiled around in a few other bands until finally forming Rancid along with Brett Reed on drums. In 1992, Rancid released an EP through Lookout! Records. This caught the attention of Epitaph Records who went on to sign the band and released their self/titled debut in 1993. Around this time Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day co-wrote the song "Radio" with Armstrong and was even asked to join the band as a second guitarist but he declined the offer to focus on Green Day who was about to explode. Lars Frederiksen would ultimately join the band as second guitarist and vocalist. In 1994, the band released "Let's Go" which featured the song "Salvation". This album was the band's first to reach the Billboard 200 charts. It was also sparking interest from major labels as well, most notably Epic and Maverick, which was owned by pop star Madonna. The band decided to remain underground and stayed with Epitaph Records. In 1995, Rancid released the classic "...And Out Come The Wolves". This album would reach #45 on the Billboard 200 charts and in 1996, was certified gold, thanks in part to singles such as "Roots Radicals", "Time Bomb" and "Ruby Soho". In 1998, Rancid released "Life Won't Wait". This album is sometimes called their own personal "Sandinista", which was recorded by legendary punk band The Clash. Rancid dove into several different genres on "Life Can't Wait" such as punk, ska, reggae, dub, etc. Stylistically, it was their most diverse record. In 1999, Rancid signed with Tim Armstrong's own label, Hellcat Records which was basically a sub-label of Epitaph. Their first release on Hellcat was a second self/titled album in 2000. This album saw the band go back to their hardcore punk roots and offered less ska or reggae influence. In 2002, Rancid and NOFX released a split which featured both bands covering each other's songs. 2003 saw the band release "Indestructible" which was distributed by Warner Bros. records. At #15, this was Rancid's highest charting album to date. From 2004 to 2006, Rancid went on a bit of a hiatus and most members focused on various side projects, most notably Devil's Brigade (featuring Armstrong, Freeman and Reed), Transplants (featuring Armstrong), The Bastards (featuring Frederiksen) and Armstrong's solo material. In 2006, Reed decided to leave the band and was replaced on drums by Branden Steineckert, formally of The Used. 2007 saw the release of the compilation "B Sides and C Sides". This album featured mostly rare tracks and compilation songs over the years. 2009 saw the band release "Let The Dominoes Fall". In the late 2000's, Rancid began taking longer and longer between album releases. Between 2009 and 2012, the band did do extensive touring but also focused on their many side projects as well. In 2012, some three years after the band released anything, they offered a free download of a new song titled "Fuck You". The band also offered a box set of all their albums and compilations titled "Rancid Essentials". Currently, Rancid began recording their new album in February of 2013. In June of 2013, Frederiksen announced that the album should be out in either late 2013 or early 2014. For more than twenty years, Rancid has become one of the most influential and respected punk bands that are on the scene. Though they release music more sporadically than in the past, between their plethora of side projects and their own material, it's quite easy to get a fix if you're yearning for all things Rancid!

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