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Appeal to Reason

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Appeal to Reason
The cover art for Appeal to Reason, which features various drawings including one of a man in a gasmask and another of a child having their umbilical cord cut. These drawings are atop a yellow background. The words "Rise Against" and "APPEAL TO REASON" are in the top left corner.
Studio album by Rise Against
Released October 7, 2008
Studio The Blasting Room, Fort Collins, Colorado
Genre Melodic hardcore, punk rock
Length 48:23
Label
Producer
Rise Against chronology
The Sufferer & the Witness
(2006)
Appeal to Reason
(2008)
Endgame
(2011)
Singles from Appeal to Reason
  1. "Re-Education (Through Labor)"
    Released: August 25, 2008
  2. "Audience of One"
    Released: January 15, 2009
  3. "Savior"
    Released: June 3, 2009

Appeal to Reason is the fifth studio album by American rock band Rise Against. It was released on October 7, 2008. A melodic hardcore album, Appeal to Reason marked a musical shift from the gritty punk sound that had previously defined the band's career to a more radio-friendly sound, with greater emphasis on production. The album's lyrics primarily focus on political issues in the United States, such as the Iraq War and the Bush administration.

Rise Against began recording Appeal to Reason in January 2008 at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado. Producers Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore incorporated soft tones into many of the songs to elicit a darker feel to the music. It was the band's first album with guitarist Zach Blair. Appeal to Reason debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, and was Rise Against's highest charting album until the release of Endgame in 2011. The album sold 64,700 copies in its first week of release, and was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting shipments of 500,000 copies.

Critics were divided in their opinions of Appeal to Reason. Some critics commended the album's more radio-friendly sound, while other critics found the music to be stale, and bemoaned Rise Against for abandoning their punk roots. The album produced three singles: "Re-Education (Through Labor)", "Audience of One", and "Savior". All three songs charted highly on the Modern Rock Tracks chart; "Savior" in particular, held the record for the most consecutive weeks spent on both the Hot Rock Songs and Modern Rock Tracks charts, with sixty-three and sixty-five weeks respectively.

Background and recording

In July 2006, Rise Against released their fourth studio album The Sufferer & the Witness, which became their first album to chart within the top ten on the Billboard 200.[1] To promote the album, Rise Against embarked on an extensive tour that concluded at the Jingle Bell Rock festival in December 2007.[2][3] That month, the band members reconvened to begin writing and demoing songs for their next album Appeal to Reason.[4] According to bassist Joe Principe, Rise Against recorded Appeal to Reason over a two-month period starting in January 2008, which was the longest the band had ever spent on one album.[4]

Appeal to Reason was recorded at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado, with producers Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore. This was the third album the duo had produced for Rise Against. Lead vocalist Tim McIlrath said: "Bill and Jason are never content to do whatever they did last month. They always want to do something different...They know us, and they know what we're capable of, they know what sounds like Rise Against, what doesn't sound like Rise Against."[5] Livermore wanted to include soft tones to many of the songs, such as using an EBow on "Whereabouts Unknown", to elicit a darker feel to the music. For the more aggressive songs, the band members used several amplifier combinations, such as a Bogner and a Marshall Kerry King head.[6] The band members recorded their instruments in different rooms, and the producers used overdubbing to combine the instruments into one song.[6]

Appeal to Reason was the first Rise Against album to feature guitarist Zach Blair, who joined while the band was touring in support of The Sufferer & the Witness.[6] According to Blair, "I wanted to go in as, If you listen to every record this band (Rise Against) had out, you could tell that Zach Blair played on this record". He took influence from how Nels Cline sounded on the album Sky Blue Sky when he joined Wilco.[6] Blair was already well acquainted with Stevenson before joining Rise Against, as he and Stevenson were in the band Only Crime from 2003 to 2007. Stevenson helped Blair replicate the sound of past Rise Against guitarists.[6]

Musical style and themes

For Rise Against, Appeal to Reason marked a musical shift from the gritty punk rock that had previously defined their career, to a more accessible and radio-friendly sound, with greater emphasis on production value.[7][8] The New York Times felt the album was more tune-oriented than the band's previous works,[9] while John Hanson of Sputnikmusic said that the album is "'appealing' to a larger audience than old fans will be comfortable with".[10] Bill Stewart of PopMatters disagreed with these sentiments, writing: "Appeal to Reason is a Rise Against album. If you possess more than a passing familiarity with the band, I wouldn't even bother scrolling through the rest of this review, and I'd certainly avoid checking out the rating at the end of it—because that first sentence, for better or worse, says everything that needs to be said about this album."[11] Critics have characterized the album's music as melodic hardcore, with influences of pop punk.[10][11]

The majority of the album's lyrics discuss political issues in the United States. Jeff Miers of The Buffalo News calls the album "a response to the oppressive vacuousness of the Bush years".[12] In regards to specific tracks on the album, AllMusic states that Rise Against "rages against the moral decay rotting the core of the U.S. on the opening 'Collapse (Post-Amerika),' just as they strike out against the slow dumbing down of America on 'Re-Education (Through Labor)'".[8] In addition to political topics, more personal issues constitute a large portion of the lyrical content. "Savior" is about forgiveness and broken relationships,[10] while "The Dirt Whispered" is about the need to sacrifice for what a person loves.[13] Bassist Joe Principe said, "The political side of this band is just that -- it's a side. There are political lyrics. There are social awareness and there are lyrics about the environment. I think if people take the time to read the lyrics, they'll know we're not strictly force feeding you our politics."[14]

The album includes one acoustic song, "Hero of War", which is about an Iraq War Veteran looking back on his war experiences. It is described by Rolling Stone as an "ambivalent aggro-folk track".[15] McIlrath said of the song, "I wanted to take the perspective of 'What is the war going to be looked back on as?'"[16] In another interview McIlrath stated, "It was a way to document what's going on, like other artists documented for their generation and for generations to come."[17] He went on to say, "There are not many songs...talking about what's going on during eight years of occupation in Iraq. That, combined with meeting active soldiers and retired soldiers at our shows and hearing those stories about what is going on on the ground amid all the bullshit, showed me the differences from what is really happening to what is happening in the news media. I just thought that this needed to go into a song."[17]

Release

Appeal to Reason was released on October 7, 2008.[8] It was the first Rise Against album to be released by Interscope Records.[18] In the United States, the album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200, making it Rise Against's highest charting album at the time. The album sold 64,000 copies in its first week of release, and by December 2010, it had sold 482,000 copies.[19][20] It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in March 2011, denoting shipments of 500,000 copies in the United States.[21] When asked about the commercial success of Appeal to Reason, drummer Brandon Barnes said "It was surprising to us. We are very proud of the CD and happy with how it turned out, but going to No. 3 was big for us."[22]

Appeal to Reason was also a commercial success internationally. In Canada, the album reached number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, Rise Against's first album to do so.[23] It was certified double platinum by Music Canada, denoting shipments of 200,000 copies.[24] The album peaked at number seven on the ARIA Top 100 Albums Chart in Australia,[25] and number twenty-one on the Top 100 Albums chart in Germany.[26] It was certified gold in both Australia and Germany, denoting shipments of 35,000 and 100,000 copies respectively.[27][28] The album peaked in several other countries, including number thirty-four in Austria,[29] number fifty-five in Belgium,[30] number thirty-four in New Zealand,[31] number fifty-one in Sweden,[32] number forty-four in Switzerland,[33] and number sixty-eight in the United Kingdom.[34]

Three songs from Appeal to Reason were released as singles: "Re-Education (Through Labor)", "Audience of One", and "Savior".[35][36][37] All three singles charted on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, peaking at number three, four, and three respectively.[38] "Savior" in particular, held the record for the most consecutive weeks spent on both the Hot Rock Songs and Modern Rock Tracks charts, with sixty-three and sixty-five weeks respectively.[39][a]

Guitarist Zach Blair and vocalist Tim McIlrath (right) playing on the Appeal to Reason tour on October 11, 2008.

Accompanying music videos were shot for all three songs.[41] The video for "Re-Education (Through Labor)" features the Chicago sect of the Moped Army planting and detonating bombs throughout the city. The video garnered controversy, as some viewers saw this as an act of condoning terrorism.[41] In the "Audience of One" video, the members of Rise Against perform on a miniaturized version of the White House lawn, while a child plays with the small figurines. The video deals with various themes, including gay marriage and militarization.[41] The video for "Savior" features actors in animal costumes engaging in a mosh pit.[41] Rise Against also produced a video for "Hero of War" despite it not being a single. The video follows the song's lyric thread, and features a soldier looking back on his war experiences.[41]

To promote the album, Rise Against embarked on the Appeal to Reason tour, which began with United States-based tour with Thrice, Alkaline Trio, and The Gaslight Anthem.[42] Rise Against then co-headlined a 2009 tour with Rancid throughout the summer months,[43] which was followed by a short tour of the United Kingdom in November, supported by the bands Thursday and Poison the Well.[44] Some of the 2009 performances were recorded and compiled in the 2010 DVD Another Station: Another Mile. These performances were interspersed with interviews of the band members about the process of recording an album.[45]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 65/100[46]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[8]
AbsolutePunk 82%[47]
The A.V. Club B[48]
Entertainment Weekly C+[49]
PopMatters 5/10[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[15]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5[10]

Music critics were divided in their opinions of Appeal to Reason. It received a score of 65 out of 100 on Metacritic's average of ten professional reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[46] One of the more positive reviews was by Chris Fallon of AbsolutePunk, who said: "Appeal to Reason is essentially focused on one big thing: intelligence. There is no fluff here -- the band has put together a fast, smart and generally focused piece of work here."[47] Rolling Stone magazine commented on the band's further emergence into the mainstream with Appeal to Reason, and wrote "Rise Against may be nervous about leaving the underground behind, but with sharp songs like these, they're ready for the rest of the world."[15] The A.V. Club's Aaron Burgess agreed with this statement, and wrote that uptempo tracks such as "Savior," "Kotov Syndrome," and "Entertainment" would convince long time fans that Rise Against had not sold out.[48]

Appeal to Reason also had less positive reception, with most negative reviews criticizing the band's further movement into the mainstream. Entertainment Weekly commented: "Songs like 'Re-Education (Through Labor)' and 'Entertainment,' which seeks to redress the evils of media manipulation upon the land, are peppy but pretty empty, power-chord downers with little bark or bite."[49] PopMatters said "McIlrath rarely reaches beyond his one-note vocal performance despite apparent and commendable earnestness". The review further chastised Blair's formulaic three-chord guitar playing through the album.[11] While reviewing Rise Against's next album, Endgame, Alternative Press critic Scott Heisel wrote: "Sure, it may have sold half a million copies, but Rise Against's Appeal To Reason was, in our humble opinion, a dud. The album was a slow, lumbering affair that seemingly betrayed the band's natural melodic-hardcore predilections for a stronger chance at appealing to the Rock on the Range crowd."[50]

Track listing

All lyrics written by Tim McIlrath; all music composed by Rise Against.[51]

No. Title Length
1. "Collapse (Post-Amerika)" 3:19
2. "Long Forgotten Sons" 4:01
3. "Re-Education (Through Labor)" 3:42
4. "The Dirt Whispered" 3:09
5. "Kotov Syndrome" 3:05
6. "From Heads Unworthy" 3:42
7. "The Strength to Go On" 3:27
8. "Audience of One" 4:05
9. "Entertainment" 3:34
10. "Hero of War" 4:13
11. "Savior" 4:02
12. "Hairline Fracture" 4:02
13. "Whereabouts Unknown" 4:02
Total length: 48:23

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Appeal to Reason.[51]

Charts and certifications

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Sail" by Awolnation has since broken the longevity record on the Hot Rock Songs chart, where it spent ninety-six weeks.[40]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Everly, Dave (March 28, 2014). "They shall overcome". Metal Hammer. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  2. ^ "Rise Against Keep On Fightin' The Man". Chart Attack. July 4, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Birtles, Bryan (December 12, 2007). "'Tis the season for the third annual Jingle Bell Rock concert". Vue Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Zemler, Emily (October 2, 2008). "Interview with Rise Against: Still Going Against The Grain". The Aquarian. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Pascarella, Tony (October 19, 2008). "Rise Against - 10.06.08". AbsolutePunk. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e Rosen, Steven (October 3, 2008). "Rise Against: 'There Were Songs That Needed More Of An Aggressive Tone'". Ultimate Guitar Archive. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Nassiff, Thomas. "Rise Against - Endgame". AbsolutePunk. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Appeal to Reason - Rise Against". AllMusic. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  9. ^ Pareles, Jon (October 12, 2008). "New CDs". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  10. ^ a b c d Hanson, John A. (October 7, 2008). "Rise Against - Appeal To Reason (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  11. ^ a b c d Stewart, Bill (November 7, 2008). "Rise Against: Appeal to Reason". PopMatters. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Miers, Jeff (May 6, 2009). "Rise Against stands firm in punk rock history". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  13. ^ Wood, Mikael (April 8, 2011). "Live review: Rise Against raises some noise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  14. ^ Fuoco-Karasinski, Christina (November 22, 2008). "Rise Against continues its 'Appeal to Reason' through liveshow". Flint Journal. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  15. ^ a b c Anderson, Kyle (October 16, 2008). "Rise Against: Appeal To Reason". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  16. ^ McKibbin, Adam (October 2008). "Rise Against Interview [2008]". The Red Alert. Archived from the original on January 2, 2015. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  17. ^ a b Sciarretto, Amy (December 14, 2008). "Interview: Rise Against". Artistdirect. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  18. ^ Fadroski, Kelli Skye (September 26, 2012). "Interview: Tim McIlrath talks politics, love for O.C. as Rise Against returns to headline Honda Center". Orange County Register. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Harris, Chris (October 15, 2008). "T.I. Continues to Rule The Charts With Paper Trail". MTV. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  20. ^ O'Donnell, Kevin (December 22, 2010). "First Look at Rise Against's Upcoming Album". Spin. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  21. ^ a b "American album certifications – Rise Against – Appeal to Reason". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 17, 2017. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  22. ^ Iwasaki, Scott (November 7, 2008). "Rise Against is rising on charts". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. p. W14.
  23. ^ a b "Rise Against – Chart history: Canadian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  24. ^ a b "Canadian album certifications – Rise Against – Appeal to Reason". Music Canada. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  25. ^ a b "The ARIA Report" (PDF). ARIA Charts. October 13, 2008. p. 5. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  27. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Rise Against; 'Appeal to Reason')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  29. ^ a b "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason" (in German). austriancharts.at. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  30. ^ a b "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  31. ^ a b "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason". charts.org.nz. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  33. ^ a b "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason" (in German). swedishcharts.com. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Rise Against UK". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  35. ^ "Re-Education (Through Labor)" (CD single). Rise Against. DGC, Interscope. 2008.
  36. ^ "Audience of One" (CD single). Rise Against. DGC, Interscope. 2009.
  37. ^ "Savior" (CD single). Rise Against. DGC, Interscope. 2009.
  38. ^ "Rise Against Album & Song Chart History – Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  39. ^ Trust, Gary (October 2, 2010). "Extended Stays". Billboard. 122 (39): 42. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  40. ^ "Billboard Hot Rock Songs – March 22, 2014". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  41. ^ a b c d e Garner, George (February 15, 2015). "The Ultimate Rise Against Videography". Kerrang!. Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  42. ^ Cohen, Jane; Bob Grossweiner (August 4, 2008). "Rise Against announces 29-date tour with Alkaline Trio, Thrice". TicketNews. Archived from the original on October 26, 2008. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  43. ^ Carman, Keith (April 23, 2009). "Billy Talent Return For Album Number III". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  44. ^ Paul, Aubin (May 13, 2009). "Rise Against / Thursday / Poison the Well (UK)". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on 16 May 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  45. ^ Paul, Aubin (September 7, 2010). "Rise Against announces 'Another Station: Another Mile' DVD". Punknews.org. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  46. ^ a b "Rise Against: Appeal To Reason (2008)". Metacritic. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  47. ^ a b Fallon, Chris (October 6, 2008). "Rise Against - Appeal to Reason". AbsolutePunk. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  48. ^ a b Burgess, Aaron (October 6, 2008). "Rise Against: Appeal To Reason". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  49. ^ a b Weingarten, Marc (October 1, 2008). "Appeal to Reason". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 7, 2009.
  50. ^ Heisel, Scott (February 28, 2011). "Rise Against - Endgame". Alternative Press. Archived from the original on March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  51. ^ a b Appeal to Reason (liner notes). Rise Against. DGC Records, Interscope Records. 2008.
  52. ^ "Appeal to Reason by Rise Against" (select "Tracks" tab). Sanity. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  53. ^ Appeal to Reason (liner notes). Rise Against (Japanese ed.). DGC Records, Interscope Records. 2008.
  54. ^ "Appeal to Reason". iTunes Store. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
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