A few thoughts on the new Rancid music video (embedded at the bottom of this post):

– It is 2017, I am 30 years old, and I am writing about a new Rancid music video. I’m not sure if teenage-Jorge would be delighted or terrified by this.

– (also, if Teen-Jorge were to catch a glimpse of 2017-Jorge and 2017-Tim Armstrong, he’d rightfully conclude “the future is made of bad beards”)

– Every Rancid music video was already some variation of “punk dudes standing around playing instruments and looking punk”, but it also usually featured a bit of something to spice up the performance shots: artificial black-and-white film wear & tear, shots of band members walking through gritty neighborhood streets, Lars Frederiksen leaning menacingly on some wall, cameos by Kelly Osbourne and members of Good Charlotte. This one though? This one is straight-up just four dudes standing around playing instruments that aren’t plugged in, shot on a $500 DSLR.

– The fact that they finally gave in and added subtitles for Tim’s unintelligible vocals gave me a hearty lol.

– I haven’t listened to a new Rancid album in many years, so bear with me if this is old news, but this is really… bad. Really, really bad. The number one thing that ever made these guys worth listening to– their gift for huge, cathartic, absurdly catchy and melodic Joe Strummer/stadium-chant “gang-vocal” choruses, which they churned out consistently from 1993 up to 2003-ish — is just completely gone. Nothing. This is a nothing song. It sounds like someone put an old Dropkick Murphys track through an industrial flattener.

– There’s a great moment in Pearl Jam’s Single Video Theory where guitarist Mike McCready expresses some anxiety about one day running dry of that “creative spark”. Given the trajectory of Pearl Jam’s recent career, I’m inclined to believe he was on to something. Maybe that musical alchemy really is a finite thing, and when you play with the same dudes for 20 years you eventually run out of ways to make it new and interesting and good. When I think of my favorite long-running acts that are still making music I consider vital and exciting, I tend to think of solo acts. Maybe bands just shouldn’t play together for that long. After a while you’re not just beating a dead horse, you’re dragging its fetid, bloated carcass uphill, and making everyone around you smell it.

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