Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2
With one of the most heated elections in decades looming on the horizon, musicians of all stripes are rolling up their sleeves to pitch in for -- or against -- the candidates of their choice. The principals behind this punk rockinspired 28-song set (20 of which have never appeared on disc before) make no secret of their collective affiliation, even though only some of them go so far as to fuse music and message. Those that do, however, connect pretty solidly. Green Day's spitting-mad sarcasm-fest "Favorite Son" manages to hit both the funny bone and the fury bone, as does the Foo Fighters' cover of the Angry Samoans' short-fused "Gas Chamber." The frowns get turned right-side-up on equally passionate screeds by Bad Religion ("Let Them Eat War") and the International Noise Conspiracy ("My Star"), but Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2 isn't all about sloganeering -- as evidenced by Yellowcard's nuanced "Violins" and Sugarcult's "What You Say." The set includes several tracks by gone-but-not-forgotten forebears such as Jawbreaker (who contribute a live version of the gnarled "Chesterfield King") and Operation Ivy (whose vintage "Unity" conjures up specters of hard-core activism past), but even those take on a contemporary vibe, thanks to the universality of their subject matter. Yes, Rock Against Bush 2 aims to make listeners think, but more important, it intends to make them feel as well.