Sound — 7
Anti-Flags new album "The Bright Lights Of America" was a disappointment for long time fans of Anti-Flag but still put up good sound and the music complemented by excellent song writing as usual. The album is well recorded with no recording errors but lacks the old school Anti-Flag feel, long time listeners will also notice the progressive change in their style since the "Die for the Government" days up until now. If you listen to all these albums continually, a change can hardly be heard aside to the increasingly good recording quality but the fast pace, straight up punk energy seems to be decreasing ever since the band went major label. Anti-Flags song-writing thankfully hasn't changed and they are still the politically charged punk rock band we all know and love, but the bands sound and style is getting more mainstream and this album looses the feeling that Anti-Flag once had of fast past chord progressions and screaming riffs. This was the Anti-Flag that once played underground punk shows that let the fans dance and sing on stage with them, now the band is selling out stadiums and a good 50 percent of these songs on the album are more chunky and slow and feel less energized. Don't get me wrong, these songs aren't bad, in fact they are quite enjoyable, Anti-Flag almost seems to be forgetting their roots and what they used to be like though. Although the sound on this album is different then most of the old albums, it carries a lot of the same characteristics of "For Blood and Empire" and combines vocals and instruments in harmony creating a overall decent sound. The musical side of this album is extremely well written and all the songs mesh together well and all voice an opinion while giving a very entertaining song. None of the songs are too much alike which is great considering most bands struggle with this category. Even though I fear Anti-Flag maybe getting sucked into the mainstream music industry that rips apart punk rock bands, they still produced an excellent album with catchy tunes that will suck any listener in.
Lyrics — 9
This category of "The Bright Lights of America" deserved a near perfect 10 for the lyrical side of the album. As usual, Anti-Flag's lyrics are sculpted beautifully and all tell an individual story and voice a complaint about today's society in America. The song writing is well done, so complex and advanced they may not be understand by few besides the writer which in my opinion is something that is hard to do without writing a song about complete randomness. Justin Sane and Chris #2 both sing impressively together and simultaneously yell parts of the song and their voices get across the song very well. This albums lyrics and vocals were as great as always and the band consistently puts up a good vocal side to every album.
Overall Impression — 6
Overall, Anti-Flag did a decent job with this album, I had to give it a six because of the disappointing sound and the lack of the fast past punk rock but the lyrics, song writing, and overall sound pulled this album together making it worth your money. This album still ranks fairly low in all of Anti-Flags albums so I would suggest buying "The Terror State" or "Mobilize" over this album but still has great music, just not as straight forward punk rock as others. Also, Anti-Flag has recently done a great job on slower acoustic songs and I have been very impressed the song-writing and work that went into "Tar and Sagebrush" on this album and "One Trillion Dollars" on "For Blood and Empire". 70% of the songs on this album will impress you and 3 or 4 songs such as "Smartest Bomb" will remind you of past Anti-Flag albums and has a great guitar riff in the beginning. Well done Anti-Flag, not your best effort in my eyes, but the band still pulled it together.