Stranger than Fiction (Bad Religion album)

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Stranger than Fiction
Studio album by Bad Religion
Released September 6, 1994 (1994-09-06)
Recorded April–May 1994 at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, Los Angeles
Genre Punk rock, melodic hardcore, alternative rock
Length 38:28
Label Atlantic
Producer Andy Wallace, Bad Religion
Bad Religion chronology
Recipe for Hate
(1993)
Stranger Than Fiction
(1994)
All Ages
(1995)
Singles from Stranger Than Fiction
  1. "21st Century (Digital Boy)"
    Released: 1994
  2. "Infected"
    Released: 1994
  3. "Stranger Than Fiction"
    Released: 1994
  4. "Incomplete"
    Released: 1995

Stranger than Fiction is the eighth full-length studio album (tenth release overall) by Bad Religion, released in 1994 (see 1994 in music). It was their first album released on the major label Atlantic Records (although that label re-released the previous album, Recipe for Hate) and also its last release with guitarist Brett Gurewitz, who left just prior to the 1994-1995 world tour, only to return to the band seven years later. On tour, Gurewitz was replaced by Brian Baker, who would stay with the band permanently.

With sales continuing 20 years after its release, Stranger Than Fiction is one of Bad Religion's most successful albums, featuring two of their well-known hit singles, "Infected" and the re-recorded version of "21st Century (Digital Boy)", which both earned airplay on MTV and radio stations, such as KROQ. The album included one more hit single, "Stranger Than Fiction", though the last one, "Incomplete", failed to make any national chart. As of today, Stranger Than Fiction remains the only Bad Religion record to obtain gold status in the United States and Canada. The album was re-released by Epitaph Records on September 15, 2008.

In 2009, Rhino Records released a colored vinyl to coincide with this album's 15th anniversary.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau (1-star Honorable Mention) [2]
Hot Press 7/12 [3]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [4]

Stranger Than Fiction was released on September 6, 1994 and became the first Bad Religion album distributed via Atlantic Records. On September 24 of that year, the album peaked at number 87 on the Billboard 200 album chart,[5] and on March 4, 1998, also became Bad Religion's first (and only) album to be certified gold in the United States.[6]

Allmusic's Jack Rabid (The Big Takeover) praised this album as a "rare case of selling out in reverse" and songs such as "Leave Mine to Me", "Individual", "Tiny Voices" and "Marked", calling them "all uptempo barnburners, pulverizing in their rapid passion". He also criticizes "'Infected' and 'Television'" as "the two least effective songs of their 15 years, the former a third-rate 'Sanity'", referring to the seventh track on 1989's No Control.

In November 2011, Stranger Than Fiction was ranked number one on Guitar World magazine's top ten list of guitar albums of 1994, with The Offspring's Smash in second place and Weezer's Weezer in third place.[7] Although Bad Religion is a punk rock band, Loudwire placed Stranger Than Fiction at No. 9 on its "10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1994" list.[8] In July 2014, Stranger Than Fiction was placed at number two on Guitar World magazine's "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994" list.[9]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Incomplete" (Gurewitz) - 2:28
  2. "Leave Mine to Me" (Graffin) - 2:07
  3. "Stranger Than Fiction" (Gurewitz) - 2:20
  4. "Tiny Voices" (Graffin) - 2:36
  5. "The Handshake" (Graffin) - 2:50
  6. "Better Off Dead" (Gurewitz) - 2:39
  7. "Infected" (Gurewitz) - 4:08
  8. "Television" (Gurewitz/Johnette Napolitano) - 2:03
  9. "Individual" (Graffin) - 1:58
  10. "Hooray for Me..." (Gurewitz) - 2:50
  11. "Slumber" (Graffin) - 2:39
  12. "Marked" (Gurewitz) - 1:48
  13. "Inner Logic" (Graffin) - 2:58
  14. "What it is" (Graffin) - 2:08
  15. "21st Century (Digital Boy)" (Gurewitz) - 2:47

Bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "News from the Front" (Gurewitz/Bentley/Schayer) - 2:22 (Europe, Brazil and Japan bonus track)
  2. "Markovian Process" (Graffin) - 1:29 (Europe, Brazil and Japan bonus track)
  3. "Leaders and Followers" (Graffin) - 2:40 (Japan only bonus track) [10]

B-sides[edit]

  1. "Mediocrity" (Graffin) - 2:45

Personnel[edit]

Collaborations[edit]

In pop culture[edit]

  • "21st Century (Digital Boy)" is a downloadable song for the Rock Band video game. "Infected" also appeared on the very first Guitar Hero.
  • The Japan only bonus track "Leaders and Followers" was featured in the movie Clerks.
  • The song "Inner Logic" was included on the soundtrack for the video game Crazy Taxi.
  • Tite Kubo chose "News From the Front" as the theme song of Ichigo Kurosaki, main character of his manga Bleach.
  • Progressive rock band Anathema covered the song "Better Off Dead" with female vocals. Anathema's version is very slow and involves mostly piano.
  • Early versions of the online game "Punk-O-Matic" used "Tiny Voices" as the opening song.
  • New York melodic hardcore punk band After the Fall mentioned Stranger Than Fiction in their song "1994",[11] which appears on their 2009 album Fort Orange.[12]

Re-releases[edit]

Stranger Than Fiction was re-released several times, with different labels, covers and formats in different countries (see the table below).[13]

Year Country Format Label Note
1994 Europe CD Sony 477343 2 Bonus Tracks
1994 USA Vinyl LP Atlantic 82658-1
1994 Germany CD Dragnet DRA 477343 6 Alternative Cover; Bonus Tracks; Collector's Edition
1994 USA Cassette Atlantic 82658-4
1994 USA CD Atlantic 82658-2
1995 Germany CD Dragnet DRA 477343 60 Bonus Tracks
2009 USA Vinyl LP Rhino R1 82658 Reissue; Colored Vinyl

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1994 The Billboard 200 87

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1994 "21st Century (Digital Boy)" Modern Rock Tracks 11
"Stranger Than Fiction" Modern Rock Tracks 28
1995 "Infected" Mainstream Rock Tracks 33
Modern Rock Tracks 27

References[edit]