Against the Grain (Bad Religion album)

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Against the Grain
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 23, 1990
RecordedMay 1990
Studio Westbeach Recorders, Hollywood, California
Label Epitaph
Producer Bad Religion
Bad Religion chronology
No Control
Against the Grain

Against the Grain is the fifth album (and seventh release overall) by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on November 23, 1990. [3] It was the last album recorded with drummer Pete Finestone, who left in 1991 to concentrate with his new project The Fishermen. Following his departure, the band's music would take a different direction on their next album, 1992's Generator . Against the Grain was also the first Bad Religion album not to feature a lineup change from the previous two albums.


Despite no promotion by radio and television, Against the Grain managed to sell over 100,000 copies. A tiny part of the album's title track is played in a segment of the same name on The Dan Patrick Show .

Writing and recording

Writing and demoing for Against the Grain began in 1989, [4] [5] and Bad Religion entered Westbeach Recorders in May 1990 to record the album. Against the Grain is one of the few Bad Religion albums to feature songs not written by Greg Graffin or Brett Gurewitz. One song is written by bass player Jay Bentley alone, whereas another is co-written by Bentley and Greg Hetson.

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [6]
Christgau's Consumer Guide Five Pointed Star Solid.svg [7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [8]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 8/10 [9]

Against the Grain was released shortly after the conclusion of the No Control tour which had lasted until the middle of 1990. The album was highly anticipated by both music critics and fans as a result of the band's success with their 1988 post-reunion album Suffer and its 1989 follow-up No Control . While Against the Grain still failed to break Bad Religion into mainstream audiences, it was the first 100,000 seller, and showed how quickly they were growing. By 1992, the album had sold approximately 90,000 copies. [10]

The album has received generally favorable reviews in the years since its initial release. AllMusic's Johnny Loftus said that Against the Grain "found the band's edge honed sharper than it had been in years", and claimed that "Bad Religion had always warned against the excesses of the future and the assimilation of individuality. But the gospel cut deeper with Against the Grain. Songs began in an instant, with the single crack of a snare drum signaling the beginning of another screed." [6]

The album's 13th track, "21st Century (Digital Boy)", was re-recorded and appeared as a single on their eighth full-length studio album Stranger Than Fiction , released in 1994, four years after the release of Against the Grain. [11]

Album cover

The album cover of Against the Grain depicts rows of corn that, with the exception of one, bear right-facing, missile-tipped stalks. The lone ear of corn faces left.

Track listing

Side one
1."Modern Man"Graffin1:57
2."Turn on the Light"Gurewitz1:24
3."Get Off"Graffin1:42
5."The Positive Aspect of Negative Thinking"Bentley0:57
7."Flat Earth Society"Gurewitz2:21
8."Faith Alone"Graffin3:38
Side two
10."Against the Grain"Graffin2:07
11."Operation Rescue"Graffin2:06
12."God Song"Graffin1:37
13."21st Century (Digital Boy)"Gurewitz2:49
14."Misery and Famine"Graffin2:34
15."Unacceptable"Hetson, Bentley1:44
16."Quality or Quantity"Graffin1:33
17."Walk Away"Gurewitz1:50
Total length:34:56


Release history

LabelRelease dateNotes
Epitaph Records November 23, 1990The tray card features an image of an arrow behind a corn in purple background. The back cover has the same image, but the background is white and the corn is yellow. The lyrics and the credits can be seen in the booklet as well as images of the band members.
Epitaph Records April 6, 2004Remastered, along with How Could Hell Be Any Worse? , Suffer , No Control and Generator . Same as above, except this version features a different front cover and the track listing, which can be seen inside the tray card.

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