Inspired by Rachel Hawkins‘ music lists, this is one of the most obvious lists I could (ever) compile. Less Than Jake list to follow, of course. These songs are in no particular order, and every single Rancid fan would, I’d say, disagree with about (or at least) half of these. I’ve kept to a maximum of three sentences for each song, so as to stop me writing a thesis.
Detroit (Rancid, 1993)
No ‘Maxwell Murder’ in this list. ‘Detroit’ – every time. “The greatest fucking bass player the world.”
Collision Course (…Honor Is All We Know, 2014)
Let the Dominoes Fall, I’m sorry to say, was weak and felt like little effort at all was put into it. This, on the follow-up album, from it’s screechy lead guitar, chugging rhythm, Tim-actually-sounding-like-Tim vocals, sing-a-long chorus and overall thrashy vibe, to me, is classic Rancid.
Young Al Capone (Rancid, 2000)
Fast, bluesy riff. Superb vocals delivering amazing lyrics. Killer fucking bassline.
New Orleans (Let the Dominoes Fall, 2009)
Despite what I said above about Let the Dominoes Fall, I think this song is up there with some of their best. I love electric and unplugged guitar played on top of one another. Lars’ vocals are beautiful.
Lock, Step and Gone (…And Out Come the Wolves, 1995)
There had to be something off of …And Out Come the Wolves – and of course there could be more (and more obvious ones) – but this is one of my favourites. From the opening riff to the stop-start bass solo and Brett Reed’s fills in that same section, to the lyrics themselves – I love it all. And I love how Lars sings this:
The stop sign’s broken and the meter’s goin’ down
Wild dogs are runnin’ themselves into the ground
Everything was clear for that moment in time
If I don’t come back – well, throw me a line
Clockwork Orange (B Sides and C Sides, 2007)
This is from the B Sides and C Sides album, and I threw it in here because it’s different (other contenders include ‘Endrina’, ‘That’s Entertainment’ and the obviously-excellent ‘I Wanna Riot’). To me, the guitars are dirty and grinding. The dual vocals are great, and who can resist Tim singing: “Me and Alex in a Durango ’95”?
Something in the World Today (Life Won’t Wait, 1998)
This is one of my favourites on Life Won’t Wait. I love the riff. When I saw them ten years ago, my friend Will (who got me into Rancid) and I couldn’t believe our luck that they played this and ‘Old Friend’.
Coppers (Life Won’t Wait, 1998)
For me, this is all about Tim’s verse (“Coppers and hoods…”) at 2:16. Plus, on a hot summers day, those steel drums are perfect. It’s as simple as that.
Fall Back Down (Indestructible, 2003)
Perhaps for some this is cheesy, but it was written after Tim’s divorce (in fact, the entire album was rewritten); and at this point in my life, I can relate. I’m sharing the chorus a lot at the moment. They played this acoustic when I saw them in Brixton back in 2006: I have the recording of the show, and it gives me chills every time I listen to it.
The Ballad of Jimmy & Johnny (Let’s Go!, 1994)
Because something needed to be included from Let’s Go!, and this evokes the Quadrophenia narrative. There was a time when I loved this song, and would fly around the skatepark with it blaring into my ears. Besides, you can’t not like this bridge:
Skinhead tat and a Fred Perry
There’s a war in the cemetery
Stop to fight / Stop drinkin’
What the fuck were the thinking?
Any Rancid fans reading this? What’s your top 10? Want to vehemently disagree with some of my choices? Let me know!