Bad Religion played Philadelphia this past Monday, and I missed it. I’ve been feeling terrible about it, so I’ve been pretty much listening to Bad Religion non-stop all week. The album of choice I’ve been spinning is their highly influential Suffer.
Released back in 1988, Suffer was Bad Religion’s third full length album and the one that really defined the sound of modern South Cali punk. The songs are more polished and more melodic than their hardcore masterpiece How Can Hell Be Any Worse, and in my opinion features some of Bad Religion’s greatest songs.
With 15 songs finishing in a mere 26 minutes, Suffer remains aggressive, defiant, and yet intelligent. Songs like “You Are (The Government)” and “Do What You Want” showcase just how catchy Bad Religion could make a song.
The one thing that turns off a lot of listeners from Suffer (and most of Bad Religion’s discography thereafter) is the fact that the whole melodic skate punk (often described as that Epitaph or Fat Wreck style) sound has been done over and over again, and is completely played out. While true, it’s a bit unfair to judge Suffer for it, as this was the album that started it all, and influenced countless bands. Fat Mike of NOFX once described Suffer as “the album that changed everything.”
If you could get past the fact that countless bands have ripped off been influenced by Suffer, or want to see where that whole style began… definitely check this one out.