Nowhere Generation

Rise Against

Nowhere Generation

Political punk squad Rise Against has always maintained a strong connection with their fans, and their ninth album is a result of that connection. Nowhere Generation comes partly from the band’s conversations with their Gen Y and Z supporters who feel society’s deck has been stacked against them. From crippling college debt and poverty-level wages to labor automation and political malfeasance, the album seeks to voice the frustrations of the increasingly disenfranchised. “Much of this was written before the pandemic, but if the pandemic hadn’t happened, I don’t think the lyrics would hit as hard,” vocalist Tim McIlrath tells Apple Music. “A lot of the cracks in civil society—the stuff we were writing about anyway—were made bigger during the pandemic. The ugliness rose to the surface and a lot of our weakened support systems became apparent to everybody.” Below, he comments on each track.
“The Numbers” “‘The Numbers’ is the classic punk-rock message of reminding people how much power they actually do have. Anybody that's in a position of power—any of the global elite that run the world—they still rely on people falling in line. They rely on people to approve of what they do, and they still exist at the whim of the people—even though they would like to create an illusion that they don't. I think every generation needs that reminder that this power does come from people, and people do have power.”
“Sudden Urge” “This song is tackling an age-old question: Is the system something that can be reformed, or is the system something that should be torn down to its foundations and then rebuilt? That's something that I think a lot of us wrestle with when we look case by case at different institutions that run society. I think there are days when we just want to burn the whole thing down, and there are days where we're like, ‘Let's try to fix this.’ But ‘Sudden Urge’ is about the days when you feel like you need to burn the whole thing down.”
“Nowhere Generation” “This song definitely came from conversations and interactions with our own community of fans and friends—people that are existing in a society where it feels like it's harder and harder to get ahead. I grew up at a time when a single-income family could live a middle-class lifestyle. Now we're normalizing the idea that someone can work a full-time job and still live below the poverty level. I think young people are trying to figure out what tomorrow looks like for them, because the finish line has become blurrier and even further away, but they’re being asked to run the same race.”
“Talking to Ourselves” “This is about that feeling you get when you're trying to shake somebody awake and they're not listening—you feel like you're just talking to yourself. It's also a comment on how we feel as a band—we never thought of ourselves as radical or controversial. We’re just saying things that make sense to us. The more it seems that people are listening, the louder we get. That’s Rise Against: We’re getting loud and disturbing the peace to get your attention.”
“Broken Dreams, Inc.” “It’s certainly touching on the changing landscape of labor, how it's affecting people and how people are getting alienated from what it is to work. They're trying to figure out what that looks like, and they’re getting left behind. In some ways, technology is making lives better for people and erasing some really dangerous jobs—but it’s also eliminating other jobs, too. So this is kind of like a big, complicated worker’s anthem.”
“Forfeit” “This is our acoustic song on the record, and it’s about not surrendering, not giving up on somebody no matter what—even when they want you to give up on them. It’s just about that commitment—knowing somebody needs your help and committing to being there, either in that moment or letting them know, ‘When you're ready, I'll be here,’ or ‘You can say whatever you want to say to me, but you're not going to push me away.’”
“Monarch” “There’s a little bit of a double meaning in this title. It's talking about someone who has complete control over you, that you've listened to for far too long, but then something snaps and you figure out you don’t need them anymore. I like the idea of ‘Monarch’ being that person with total control, but also a monarch butterfly, where the person in the song grows wings and becomes someone different, someone that can’t even be recognized because they’ve changed so much.”
“Sounds Like” “As cliché as it might sound, this song is about living in the moment. It’s about embracing the time you are living in right now and not waiting for something to happen. Everything is happening right around you at this moment and you don't need to waste time waiting for something that might come or may never come.”
“Sooner or Later” “This song talks about reaping what you sow, how the things that you do have consequences. If you live life with a very short-term attitude and you don't plant seeds for the future, bad things happen. There’s some obvious environmental imagery, so it’s alluding to that, but it really is talking about making sure that you're not just ripping the crops out of the ground, but you're also planting seeds for tomorrow.”
“Middle of a Dream” “This is about the chase that we all feel sometimes. Sometimes we know what we're chasing and sometimes you have no idea what you're chasing—you just wake up with that instinct to go after something. ‘Middle of a Dream’ is talking about that through the lens of a dream, where you’re chasing something that you don’t have a clear idea of, but you just feel this compulsion to move forward.”
“Rules of Play” “I like that this song is the closer, because I’ve been kind of boldly coming at you with all these lyrics, like, ‘Here’s what’s going on,’ and I think there are times where it may sound like I must have the answers. But ‘Rules of Play’ is reminding you that I don’t have it figured out. Almost all of these songs are questions. They aren’t road maps to success. They’re questions about what the world looks like, what we want it to look like, and how we can get there.”

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