No Control (Bad Religion album)

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No Control
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 2, 1989
RecordedJune 1989
StudioWestbeach Recorders, Hollywood, California
ProducerBad Religion
Bad Religion chronology
No Control
Against the Grain

No Control is the fourth album by American punk rock band Bad Religion, released on November 2, 1989 through Epitaph Records. Bad Religion began work on the album while touring in support of its previous album, Suffer (1988). No Control is stylistically faster than its predecessor, owing more to hardcore punk. Additionally, it was the first Bad Religion album not to feature a lineup change from after one consecutive studio album.

No Control brought Bad Religion a small amount of success in Southern California as the band started to gather a following. The album has sold over 60,000 copies[2] and is often considered to be a landmark in hardcore punk.[3] It contains many of the band's live staples, such as "Change of Ideas", "Big Bang", "No Control", "Sometimes I Feel Like", "Automatic Man", "I Want to Conquer the World", "Sanity" and "You". Up until 2019, the only songs from No Control that had never been performed live were "Progress" and "The World Won't Stop".[4] The songs were live debut when Bad Religion played the album in its entirety at the Roxy on April 5th, 2019.

Background and recording[edit]

After a long-term hiatus, Bad Religion reformed in 1987 with a new lineup, releasing the studio album Suffer in 1988. Although Suffer was not a commercial success, the band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim with that album and it managed to sell 4,000 copies.[5] While Bad Religion continued touring in support of Suffer, Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz began writing songs in late 1988/early 1989 for the band's next record. Bassist Jay Bentley commented on the making of No Control, stating that "songs were being written all the time. I wouldn't go so far as to say an 'album's worth', but during the U.S. and subsequent European tour into '89, lots of ideas were coming to fruition. I would think that more songs were written during the down time between tours and 'perfected' on the road."[2] Recording for No Control took place in June 1989 at Westbeach Recorders (where Suffer and the band's later albums were recorded) and it was the band's first experience recording an album on a half-inch two track. Gurewitz noted that he put every track through a compellor by using Aphex Systems, then, having completed this, he decided he hated the "weird sound" this had produced. As a result, he recalls spending a great deal of effort during the mixing stage to remove the compression. The overall result was an "aggressive and distinctive" sound which he now favors.[2][6] Contrary to rumor, "21st Century (Digital Boy)" (which appears on Against the Grain and again on Stranger than Fiction) was not written and recorded for this album.[7]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[8]
Robert ChristgauB+[9]

No Control was released through Epitaph Records on November 2, 1989. By the time it was released, Bad Religion had become one of the most critically praised hardcore punk bands of the time, in spite of lack of mainstream success. 12,000 copies of No Control were originally shipped, and later ended up selling 60,000,[2] making a grand total of 72,000 copies. Imported copies of No Control to West Germany were repackaged with a limited edition bootleg 7" of the Bad Religion EP. By 1992, No Control had sold at least 80,000 copies, becoming the band's fourth best-selling album at the time (their next album Against the Grain sold approximately 90,000 copies, while its follow-up Generator sold 85,000 and Suffer sold 88,000).[10]

The album has received generally favorable reviews in the years since its initial release, with several reviewers having deemed No Control one of Bad Religion's best[11][12] albums. Allmusic's Johnny Loftus said that it "simply and forcefully continued the shift, delivering a pummel of melodic songwriting made sharp by Greg Graffin's populist cynicism and the stinging barbs of a twin-guitar strike...", and addressed it to be "welcome, as it makes the band sound that much more direct on principal cuts."[13]

In a May 2012 interview, Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge stated that his band's tenth studio album All or Nothing had inspired guitarist Brett Gurewitz to write "another No Control".[14][15]

On June 2, 2016, the song "Change of Ideas" was placed at #7 on Loudwire's top ten list, "Greatest Songs Under One Minute Long."[16]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Change of Ideas"Graffin0:55
2."Big Bang"Gurewitz1:42
3."No Control"Graffin1:46
4."Sometimes I Feel Like"Gurewitz1:34
5."Automatic Man"Gurewitz1:40
6."I Want to Conquer the World"Gurewitz2:19
Side two
9."It Must Look Pretty Appealing"Graffin1:23
12."I Want Something More"Gurewitz0:47
15."The World Won't Stop"Graffin1:57
Total length:26:15

Release history[edit]

Label Release Date Notes
Epitaph Records November 2, 1989 The tray card and back cover feature an image of a collage with the band members' faces. The lyrics and the credits can be seen in the booklet.
Epitaph Records April 6, 2004 Remastered, along with How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, Suffer, Against the Grain and Generator. Same as above, except there is an image of a groupshot of the band, which can be seen inside the tray card.

Other uses[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d No Control (album) - The Bad Religion Page
  3. ^ "".
  4. ^ "Bad Religion Tour Statistics". Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  5. ^ Suffer (album) - The Bad Religion Page
  6. ^ Brett's commentary on the making of No Control (listen to it here [1])
  7. ^ "21st Century (Digital Boy)". The Bad Religion Page. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
  8. ^ Allmusic review
  9. ^ Robert Christgau review
  10. ^ "Any Religion Is Better Than None". The Big Takeover. April 1992. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
  11. ^ juanse. "Review for No Control". Retrieved 2010-12-01.
  12. ^ Dwayne_Pearce. "Review for No Control". Retrieved 2010-12-01.
  13. ^ Johnny Loftus. "Review for No Control". Retrieved 2010-12-01.
  14. ^ Mike (2012-05-07). "Idioteq – PENNYWISE guitarist says "All or Nothing" inspired Brett Gurewitz to write another fast BAD RELIGION record". Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  15. ^ "Brett inspired to write another No Control | News from the front | The Bad Religion Page - Since 1995". Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Greg Graffin (1989). "Lyrics, No Control". there's no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end (Hutton, 1795)
  18. ^ Keith Stewart Thomson (May–June 2001). "Vestiges of James Hutton". American Scientist V. 89 #3 p. 212.
  19. ^ "Bad Religion, Stooges join Rock Band next week". Retrieved 2012-03-03.

External links[edit]