Let's Go

Let's Go

While their eponymous debut introduced Rancid’s sound, the band’s persona crystallized on Let’s Go. With new member Lars Frederiksen contributing second guitar and vocals, Rancid sounded beefier than ever before. Bassist Matt Freeman and drummer Brett Reed still provide a giddy bounce, but the riffs of “Harry Bridges” and “St. Mary” come down with the force of a brickbat. Like all punk bands, Rancid sings about police harassment, nonconformity and hatred for the mainstream, but what really sets them apart are their thumbnail portraits of the urban landscape and the street punks that live within it. “Nihilism” captures the “white ghettos” of Campbell, California, where the members of Rancid were raised. On the other hand, “Tenderloin” and “The Ballad of Jimmy & Johnny” zoom in on other neighborhoods in the Bay Area, inviting the listener to spend a few moments with a midnight prostitute, or a skinhead street-racer. Like all great art, Let’s Go focuses on a specific place and time, but unlike most punk rock albums, it forgoes sloganeering in favor of humanistic portraiture.

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