Music To Eat Lunch To – Good Riddance – My Republic

Release date: June 2006
Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 14
Rating: 10. As always, a 10.

My Republic is sadly going to be the last release by Good Riddance following the band’s breakup this year, so despite the aging release date it seems fitting to give them a write-up. I, like many other fans, am going to miss the farewell tour (taking place only in California this month) and alas this can be my only tribute to a band that has had a very special place in my heart and my CD collection since high school.

A few fans, despite their annoyance at the split, have commented that Good Riddance has lost its touch in the last couple of releases, and in particular noted that My Republic doesn’t have the edge of former albums. Granted, the tone has been softened a bit for some of the tracks but the enthusiasm and drive is still there. The result of softened Good Riddance? A sound very like Unwritten Law in places, actually. In comparison to their 2001 release Symptoms of a Leveling Spirit, the tone is certainly a little mellower, but the underlying message so unique to bands like Good Riddance has remained completely intact and It’s this that will be so sorely missed.

My Republic retained the focus of previous records: essentially, stop wasting your life, get out there, and make a difference!

?One time, something to live for, somehow I lost my way. Those times I pissed away now echo in my darkest days? (?Darkest Days?). What are we going to do without this constant validation of the good, just life?

In their MySpace blog (have you figured out I spend far too much time online yet?), the band says they ?have been given a truly great gift and a tremendous opportunity to pursue a dream and we have accomplished far more than any of us ever thought possible? (1).

True enough, boys. Russ Rankin, Chuck Platt, Luke Pabich, and Sean Sellers have truly dedicated themselves to the punk rock lifestyle for more than ten years in their tenure with Good Riddance; joined forces with PETA in promoting vegetarianism; actively promoted the United States Green Party; and spoken up against human rights violations and the general apathetic attitude rampant in our society when it comes to politics, economy, and basic issues of justice. The band is collectively compassionate, intelligent, informed, and proactive–it has served as the confirmation that an entire young generation of punkers needed to get off their asses and stop whining about life when they were doing nothing to change it.

I’m beyond grieving at the sudden end of this massively influential group, and of course who better to sum up my emotions than Good Riddance itself? It’s right on My Republic: ?So tell me why you fight for my life then you throw me away? (?So Tell Me Why?)! I feel awkwardly like a fledgling, capable of flight but never before having had to actually fly on my own. Good Riddance is one of those bands that have helped me stay upright through some unspeakably tough times, and I know It’s had the same effect on thousands of other fans who desperately hoped the announcement was an elaborate April Fool’s joke. Not so.

So, the album. Symptoms of a Leveling Spirit will remain my unequalled favourite; however, I fear I will never be able to listen to My Republic without feeling a melancholic twinge for the talent seemingly being thrown away at its peak. As the band says, ?We have no desire to limp along until some outside force has the good sense to put us out of our misery. We hope all of our fans will understand? (1). Fine, if we must.

Honestly, this is a great record and I’m glad to put it next to Symptoms, my various Rise Against albums, and Anti-Flag records. I’m proud to have known their music and I offer my congratulations on yet another amazing set of music. I guess I’m all grown up now and I can do with one less crutch, but do I have to? As I get older will all my crutches be taken away one by one? Good Riddance would tell me to suck it up and get on out there, I think. What can I say? ?The music somehow seems to get me by? (?Libertine?; Symptoms of a Leveling Spirit). Thanks for giving me more than you will ever know!

(1) MySpace. ?Good Riddance – The End Is Here 2007.? Retrieved May 22, 2007, from http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=51722327&blogID=249010418&MyToken=51bc4bef-32cc-45b8-8516-8529e1e3cc20

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