Five Bad Religion Albums To Hear Before That Damn Show 2013

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If you're going to That Damn Show--tickets here; schedule here--on Saturday and you don't already know a lot about Bad Religion, you might be in trouble by the time they hit the Main Stage at the Mesa Amphitheatre at 9 p.m. Luckily, our print feature this week is all about five essential Bad Religion albums. Take a few minutes and get caught up below.

"You might not think there's any wisdom in a fucked-up punk rock song," sings Greg Graffin in "Kyoto Now!" summarizing Bad Religion's ethos in one fell swoop. Classic punk songs are fun and riotous but offer little substance. Bad Religion developed a lasting appeal by filling that void, becoming one of the most commercially successful punk bands of all time while packaging questions about politics, religion, and human rights into short, fast, and angry songs. The formula works.

First: Suffer is vintage Bad Religion punk.

Suffer -- 1988

Bad Religion's third album, 1988's Suffer, often finds its way atop fans' lists of favorites. NOFX's frontman Fat Mike has described it as "the album that changed everything," not least because the 26-minute beast was the biggest seller for Gurewitz's Epitaph Records, launching a prosperous partnership for band and label alike.

From the rough, driving guitar riff of opening track "You Are (the Government)," Bad Religion is bent on exposing the ills of society and refuses to let go. The album's 15 songs each clock in at less than two minutes long, delivering their messages and giving the listener no time to breathe. But Suffer requires a few listens to fully understand its nuances. The dueling guitars and vocal harmonies immediately stand out, but Graffin's poetry becomes evident with each repeated listen.

Next: The aggression continues with No Control in 1989.

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