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, and the band's second album (after 1983's Into the Unknown) not to display their iconic font on the cover.
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 and is often considered to be a landmark in hardcore punk. Some also consider No Control to be their finest effort, containing "Change of Ideas", "Big Bang", "No Control", "I Want to Conquer the World" and "You", all of which are staples of their live show to this day. Some other fan favorites include "Sometimes It Feels Like...", "Automatic Man", and "Sanity", however these are seldom ever played live.
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. 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, "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." 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 first Bad Religion album done on a half-inch two track, which was a big step up for them. Gurewitz noted that he put every track through a compellor by using Aphex Systems, but eventually hated the "weird sound". In the mix, he therefore tried to undo all the compression, and as a result, he has stated that he now likes its "aggressive and distinctive" sound. 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.
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, 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).
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 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."
"Billy" was erroneously labeled as "Bizzy" on the cassette version.
"The World Won't Stop" was also labeled as "The World Won't Stop Without You" on the disc to the original CD version. Also, in some software-based audio players and CD rippers that use CD lookup databases such as CDDB, "The World Won't Stop" is tagged as "The World Won't Stop Without You".