Album Review: Rancid – “Life Won’t Wait”

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Before I begin my rant I should probably tell you a little about my background/taste in music. I would consider myself your average everyday blue collar worker. I have been working since I was 14 years old & have always loved music. I have been married for over 10 years & have 3 children. My first concert was R.E.M. on their “Green” World Tour. I have always enjoyed alternative/underground/indie music & in high school I was first introduced to punk rock by friends. My first punk show was Bad Religion/All on BR’s “Generator” tour. My friends & I actually hung out with Scott Reynolds from All before the show, but we’ll save that story for another day.

I first heard Rancid on a Sunday night while watching MTV’s 120 Minutes. Their video for “Salvation” was incredible!!! Tim’s snarled singing style along with their F-You look just grabbed me. I went out the next day & purchased their 1994 album “Let’s Go.” I have been a Rancid fan ever since & each album continues to blow me away. It’s amazing how these guys continue to grow/mature as song writers & each album has it’s own distinct sound/style. “Life Won’t Wait” demonstrates my point more than any other Rancid album to date. This album is clearly the pinnacle of their career & perhaps the most hated by their fans (which I have never quite understood).

“The phenomenon your about to witness could well revolutionize your way of thinking. We are presenting the startling facts & evidence that pick up where other explanations leave off. Some of these revelations may very well go against things you have been taught & perhaps believed all your life. Prepare yourself for the evidence which will follow:” –Intro to Rancid’s 1998 album “Life Won’t Wait”–

From the sonic guitar/harmonica on “Intro” to the xylophone on “Hoover Street” to the reggae drums on “Life Won’t Wait,” Rancid truly proved themselves as a songwriting force not to be reckoned with. The infectious Hey-Ho’s…Lars lyrical delivery…Matt’s amazing bassline…”Bloodclot” is pure punk & an absolute punk rock gem on this album. From that to Tim’s quiet snarled poetry & xylophone on “Hoover Street,” you could already tell that the punks from Oakland were taking the listener to a place their previous releases only hinted at.

The song “Life Won’t Wait” is pure reggae/ska bliss. Tim & Lars tag team vocals are exactly what Rancid fans love! Add in surprise guest Buju Banton’s vocals and you have an instant classic. This is Rancid pushing themselves to the limit & proving that they are more than just the stereotypical mohawked 3 chord punk rockers we have all been accustomed to. “Here’s the new face of rock ‘n’ roll.” A lyric delivered with absolute sincerity on another ska tune “Hooligans.” That lyric is a rally call to all of you haters out there who critizied these guys so hard for this album. “Wrongful Suspicion,” “Crane Fist” & “Coppers” are 3 more exquistely written reggae tunes.

“Who Would’ve Thought” is Tim at his best! His vocal delivery along with Lars bluesy guitar…..AWESOME!!! Mighty Mighty Bosstones vocalist Dicky Barrett was a nice touch on “Cash, Culture and Violence.” The harmonica on “Cocktails”…..Matt Freeman’s bass on “1998”…..the rockabilly of “Lady Liberty”…..”Something In The World Today” is more punk rock nirvana…..

I think I’ve made my point. Both lyrically & musically this album is far superior to anything else these guys have put out. The year 2000 found these guys having to prove themselves on the self-titled “Rancid” album all because of you haters who came down so hard on these guys for showing some song writing talent on “Life Won’t Wait.”

If you are a Rancid fan, then give this record another spin. If you’ve never heard Rancid, this is a great place to start.

Thanks for letting me rant. See y’all in the pit……

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