Thursday, 1 June 2017

Top Tens: Colin's Top Ten Rancid Songs


Rancid, particularly in the last few years, have become one of the most divisive bands in punk rock. Particularly since the band's major label debut, Indestructible, came out, there's been a sense of love or hate surrounding Rancid. I definitely fall onto the love side of the fence. To celebrate the release of Rancid's upcoming new album Trouble Maker, and because I jolly well love Rancid, here is my top ten Rancid songs.

10. Hyena from Rancid (1993)

The second track of off Rancid's debut in 1993 was also seen on the very first edition of the Punk-O-Rama compilations from Epitaph Records. With its heavy bassline, Hyena really laid a foundation for what would become the trademark Rancid sound. Matt Freeman shows from the outset why he is considered by many (me included) to be the best bass player in the world. Hyena is a song about having nothing and having to fight hard for everything that you want.

9. Young Al Capone from Rancid (2000)

This may get me some hate but Rancid (2000) is probably my least favourite of the Berkely four piece's albums. However the big highlight of that album was the song Young Al Capone. This fast paced track features Lars taking lead vocal duties and being on top top form. I've always thought that Lars is a very underrated punk rock singer.

8. Hooligans from Life Won't Wait (1998)

Hooligans, from 1998's Life Won't Wait, sees Rancid in full-on ska punk mode. This is a skankathon if ever there was one. Hooligans was co-written by Vic Ruggeriero of The Slackers, who also performed B3 Organ on the track. There were two more very "special" guest appearances on the track - Lynval Golding and Neville Staple of The Specials! That's ska royalty right there!

7. As Wicked from ...And Out Come The Wolves (1995)

The first of, I'm sure you can guess, many songs from the classic ...And Out Come The Wolves album. As Wicked was in actual fact the first Rancid song I ever heard, on Punk-o-Rama 8 and from that moment on I was hooked on the band. As Wicked is about all of the violence, death and poverty that is all around us and how we often fail to notice it. The chorus is a huge one, with the whole band blasting out some powerful gang vocals.

6. Otherside from Indestructible (2003)

Otherside was written for Lars's brother Robert who sadly passed away before Indestructible was released. It's a fantastic dedication to someone who was a big supporter of the band. Lars and Tim take turns with vocal duties, with Lars handling the verse and Tim the chorus. Otherside is a straight forward punk song, filled with tempo, great lyrics and plenty of opportunities to shout along.

5. Radio from Let's Go (1994)

The second song from 1994's Let's Go album is a Rancid classic. Co-written by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Radio starts out slowly with Tim's distinct vocals before Lars comes in and the song explodes into life. Radio is a rare Rancid love song dedicated to the escapism that you get from listening to your favourite music. NOFX have also recorded an incredible cover of this song where they've turned it into a reggae song.

4. Ruby Soho from ...And Out Come The Wolves (1995)

If you only know one Rancid song, chances are it's Ruby Soho. (Though Spotify suggests that it might be Time Bomb looking at the most listens chart). This track is about the struggles to form close relationships with people whilst you're in a full time touring band. It's a song that will immediately become lodged solidly into your mind, you hear the chorus once and you'll never forget it - this makes it such a massive crowd favourite.

3. Fall Back Down from Indestructible (2003)

Fall Back Down was the lead single from 2003's major label debut Indestructible. It's about the breakup of Tim's marriage to Brody Dalle of The Distillers, the effect it had on him and how his friends looked after him when he was at his lowest. The one and only time I've had the priviledge of seeing Rancid live this song was the highlight. A room full of sweaty punks shouting "If I Fall Back Down, You're Gonna Help Me Back Up Again" was a special moment and something you know is true.

2. Roots Radical from ...And Out Come The Wolves (1995)

Roots Radical is a song about growing up and developing a love of punk and ska music and being able to play them both together. Rancid have always been a band that likes to pay tribute to their influences and that's the case hear. Tim and Lars's voices come together so well on this track and it really cemented them as one of the best double acts in punk rock music.

1. Journey To The End Of The East Bay from ...And Out Come The Wolves (1995)

Last, but certainly by no means least - it's my number one Rancid song after all - is Journey To The End Of The East Bay. The song starts out with a trademark Matt Freeman bassline before Tim's unmistakable growling vocal comes into play. Journey is about Matt and Tim's time in the influential 80s ska band, Operation Ivy. Again, this is Rancid remembering where they came from and paying tribute to it. If there wasn't any Operation Ivy there probably wouldn't be many of the punk rock bands we know and love today.

This top ten was written by Colin Clark.