This past Saturday marked 20 years since Rancid released their second studio album Let’s Go, which broke the band into the punk rock mainstream. To commemorate this anniversary, Stereogum wrote a lengthy column about Let’s Go, which focuses on the making album and its success as well as the band’s history. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“With Let’s Go, intentionally or not, Rancid banged together a blueprint for American gutter-punk life, knocking out 23 songs in 44 minutes, most of them about living punk life in economically stratified America, its liner notes stuffed with thank-yous to random regional punk bands and reproduced punk-show fliers. And in the wake of Green Day and the Offspring taking off out of nowhere during the summer of 1994, Rancid suddenly emerged as the grittier, realer cousin of those two bands — albeit the grittier, realer cousin who still wrote catchy-enough songs to get on the radio. The black-and-white video for “Salvation,” which Armstrong directed himself, went into light MTV rotation, and the album eventually went gold. This being the era of the major-label bidding war, Rancid naturally became the subject of their own, but they fended off all advances and stayed with Epitaph — at least until the moment that the ’90s pop-punk boom had died down completely and it made no sense for them to sign, at which point they promptly signed. They were perma-drunk scuzzballs who remade themselves as patron saints of lost causes, and they somehow stumbled into something like stardom in the ’90s, a time when stories like that happened with shocking regularity.”
Let’s Go was originally released on June 21, 1994 on Epitaph, the same era when Green Day and The Offspring brought punk rock back into the mainstream with their respective albums Dookie and Smash. The album peaked position at #2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and #97 on the Billboard 200, and spawned one of their famous hits “Salvation”. Let’s Go was certified gold by the RIAA six years after its release.
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