Punk’s not dead

New Anti-Flag album calls out social injustices


Josh Massie

“20/20 Vision” by Anti-Flag released last Friday. The extremely political punk album brings light to varying issues in today’s society, ranging from political figures to racial stereotypes.”20/20 Vision” is an angsty album perfect for spreading social awareness.

People often claim that politics and music should not blend together. I strongly disagree with that. If there is one thing that can send a message to today’s youth it is music. 

If there is one thing that can send a message to today’s youth it is music. ”

— Staff Writer Rachel Laposka

The punk scene in music made its debut in the 1970s with bands like Bad Religion, Misfits, and Dead Kennedys. The main goal — to spread awareness about political issues through rock music. In today’s age, the punk scene is still around, thanks to bands like Anti-Flag not backing down from controversial political issues. 

On Jan. 17, Anti-Flag released their twelfth album titled “20/20 Vision.” To call this album a political call out would be an understatement. The lyrics of the album focus on varying political and societal issues the U.S. currently faces, mainly focusing on matters regarding President Trump and other extremist beliefs plaguing the media.

The band has faced backlash due to the political level of the album, most people making comments about how politics should stay out of music, even though Britannica defines punk as  Often politicized and full of vital energy beneath a sarcastic, hostile facade, punk spread as an ideology and an aesthetic approach, becoming an archetype of teen rebellion and alienation.” 

The band taking societal issues into their own hands by addressing our country’s political stance in their new album proves that people truly live by the saying “ignorance is bliss.” “20/20 Vision” focuses on highlighting the negatives in society that people are afraid to talk about, which is something I believe musicians need to do more of.

“20/20 Vision” has a lot to it — the classic punk instrumentals and vocals drew me in from the start, but the lyrics and underlying meaning to the songs are what really sold me. For me personally, the best three tracks on this album are “Hate Conquers All,” “The Disease,” and “20/20 Vision.”

Ignoring the issues will not solve them, and “The Disease” is about calling out the corruption and showing the powerful leaders that the people will not stand down. ”

— Staff Writer Rachel Laposka

“Hate Conquers All” was one of the first singles released from the album, dropping back in October of 2019. It was actually this song that got me back into Anti-Flag. I had gone a few years without listening to the band after they went on a mini-hiatus in 2017. 

The instrumentals of this song are what hooked me in the first place. “Hate Conquers All” has that classic punk-rock sound of harsh guitar and gritty vocals paired with an intense drumline that had me tapping along throughout the entire song.

Lyrically, this song is a lot. It starts off with a clip of President Donald Trump speaking about how if a bystander were violent toward a protester, they would more often than not quit protesting. The lyrics of the song retaliate against that ideology, showing that when something matters to the public, they will not stand down but will continue to fight for what they believe to be right. 

While this song is not my favorite off of the new album, it is still a song I will shamelessly listen to on repeat for hours on end. “Hate Conquers All” is a song for those who are tired of not having their voice heard.

My favorite song on “20/20 Vision” is “The Disease.” Not only are the lyrics jam-packed with strong emotions about bringing down corrupt leaders, but they also center around the idea of having your voice heard, which is a common theme on this album.

“The Disease” refers to not a literal sickness, but rather the people acting out against the government. The people that are alienated in society due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, political stance, and even financial class status, according to Anti-Flag, are going to continue fighting against corruption in their day-to-day life, no matter the cost. 

I think what drew me into the song the most are the lyrics. More specifically, the line “Apathy is feeding the machine” stands out the most to me. The continual disinterest more ignorant people in society contribute daily is only worsening the everlasting issues our country faces as a whole. Ignoring the issues will not solve them, and “The Disease” is about calling out the corruption and showing the powerful leaders that the people will not stand down. 

For me, the song “20/20 Vision” is a hope for the future. The song expresses wishes and hopes for a violent-free world, a world where everyone forgets their differences and there is no more hate. 

This song maintains a painfully hopeful message throughout, which may come as a shock after listening to the whole album. In typical punk nature, this relatively positive song is full of aggressive instrumentals and nasally punk vocals, which upon first listen, could be misleading. 

I remember when I first heard this song, I was almost surprised by how positive it seemed. Sure, technically it is a deeper song with this cry-for-help-esque message, yet the way lead singer Justin Sane delivers the lyrics almost distracts from it. It definitely is not my favorite song on the album, but the message the lyrics convey is enough to leave an impression on anyone, even after just one listen. 

The punk scene is growing more and more each year, and as more societal and political issues arise, more bands will come out and address them. In true flashy punk nature, Anti-Flag addresses the division our country faces today, and they do it in such a commendable way that will leave their audience waiting for more.

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