It is no small secret that Bad Religion lead singer Greg Graffin (PhD) has a vocabulary that trumps most other punk rock plebeians. Guitarist Brett Gurewitz isn’t one to shy away from some beautiful lyrics of his own as well. They may be graying at the temples, but the use of monosyllabic words to fuel pick slides and three-part harmonies are as fresh and youthful today as they were back in the 80s. Today, we highlight some of the more colorful words in Bad Religion’s repertoire. These definitions are the primary definitions of the words as shown by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. Will it help make sense of the lyrics? I am honestly not too sure. Pay attention, kiddies, these words of wisdom may well be on an upcoming SAT, GRE or LSAT (what, punks can’t be lawyers?). Special thanks to plyrics.com and Merriam-Webster.com for help on this one, ya-hey!
Check out the list below.
1. Aplomb (noun): Complete and confident composure or self assurance.
Seen in: “The Lie” on The Process of Belief.
Lyric: “Freedom is such a loaded word/So full of hurt and such aplomb.”
2. Clairvoyant (adjective): Able to see beyond the range of ordinary perception.
Seen in: “Pessimistic Lines” on Suffer.
Lyric: “And the professorial truth/And the dear clairvoyant youth/And of course the nightly news will deceive you.”
3. Senescence (noun): The state of being old or the process of becoming old.
Seen in: “Materialist” on The Process of Belief.
Lyric: “You’re obsessed and distressed ’cause you can’t make any sense/Of the ludicrous nonsense
and incipient senescence.”
4. Obsequious (adjective): Too eager to help or obey someone important.
Seen in: “1000 More Fools” on Suffer.
Lyric: “The masses are obsequious, contented in their sleep/The vortex of their minds ensconced
within the murky deep.”
5. Discomfiture (noun): The act of discomfiting (to defeat in battle) someone.
Seen in: “Against the Grain” on Against the Grain.
Lyric: “I seek a thousand answers/ I find but one or two/ I maintain no discomfiture/my path
6. Assuage (verb): To make less painful.
Seen in: “I Want to Conquer the World” on No Control.
Lyric: “Your labors soothe the hurt/but can’t assuage temptation.”
7. Jurisprudence (noun): The science of philosophy of law.
Seen in: “You Are (The Government)” on Suffer.
Lyric: “You are the government/You are jurisprudence/You are the volition/You are [sic]
8. Moiety (noun): one of two equal parts.
Seen in: “Them and Us” on The Gray Race.
Lyric: “Despite that he saw blatant similarity/He struggled to find a distinctive moiety.”
9. Anechoic (adjective): Free from echoes and reverberations.
Seen in: “Delirium and Disorder” on Suffer.
Lyric: “The anechoic nebula rotating in my brain/Is persuading me, contritely, to persist.”
10. Ratiocination (noun): The process of exact thinking or reasoning.
Seen in: “Beyond Electric Dreams” on The Empire Strikes First.
Lyric: “Ratiocination is a practicable way to derive/An attitude of altitude and probity by which
From these ten words we can come to some interesting conclusions. For one, in the smattering of songs highlighted here we can see that they really had fun with vocabulary on Suffer. This should help with the long unanswered question by The Menzingers: Suffer is the better Bad Religion album. At least for word fetishists.
Did I miss a good one? Disagree with my top ten? Wanna bare knuckle box over it? Lemme know in the comments!
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