17 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Musically and thematically, Straight Ahead was Pennywise’s angriest album to date when it was released in 1999. Thanks in part to engineer Darian Rundall—who'd previously recorded metal albums for Dokken and Dio and would go on to work with Suicidal Tendencies—Fletcher Dragge’s guitars are more venomous than before, and Jim Lindberg's vocals are more confrontational than on previous efforts. A more conspicuous change is evident in the lyrics. While Pennywise had always stood for perseverance in the face of inestimable challenges, Straight Ahead shows the band losing patience with the world and embracing its rage. “Can’t Take Anymore” is a bitter breakup song, while “American Dream,” “My Own Country," and “Greed” portray a political system that can't be easily transformed. In “Can’t Believe It” and “My Own Way,” Lindberg appears stunned or frustrated beyond the point of optimism, but “Might Be a Dream” epitomizes an ethos of hope that endures at all costs: “Don’t know why you can’t see/You could have everything/Or nothing at all, it’s up to you/You’ve always got to keep on trying.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Musically and thematically, Straight Ahead was Pennywise’s angriest album to date when it was released in 1999. Thanks in part to engineer Darian Rundall—who'd previously recorded metal albums for Dokken and Dio and would go on to work with Suicidal Tendencies—Fletcher Dragge’s guitars are more venomous than before, and Jim Lindberg's vocals are more confrontational than on previous efforts. A more conspicuous change is evident in the lyrics. While Pennywise had always stood for perseverance in the face of inestimable challenges, Straight Ahead shows the band losing patience with the world and embracing its rage. “Can’t Take Anymore” is a bitter breakup song, while “American Dream,” “My Own Country," and “Greed” portray a political system that can't be easily transformed. In “Can’t Believe It” and “My Own Way,” Lindberg appears stunned or frustrated beyond the point of optimism, but “Might Be a Dream” epitomizes an ethos of hope that endures at all costs: “Don’t know why you can’t see/You could have everything/Or nothing at all, it’s up to you/You’ve always got to keep on trying.”

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