Review: Rise Against: Long Forgotten Songs

Written by Josh Moorby

The Punk giants, Rise Against, have finally released their first B-side album and the excitement couldn’t be higher.

The Punk giants, Rise Against, have finally released their first B-side album and the excitement couldn’t be higher.

Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides and Covers 2000-2013 features 26 tracks of tenacity, lesser-known recordings and covers, meaning that it’s a must for any serious Rise Against nut and a long-awaited artefact for a fan of any level. The release spans the entirety of the bands’ life and boasts the songs which ‘slipped through the cracks’ as well as some old favourites.

This is not just a collection of recordings that deserved to be left on the cutting room floor – suddenly released for a quick sale—no, not at all. This one’s for the fans.

A Patchwork Release

Long Forgotten Songs is a Frankenstein creation with that familiar Rise Against heart. Its feet on either side of a decade, the album shows growth—the life and development of Chicago’s favourite activist sons, and may even do so better than an entire back catalogue.  

Some tracks, like But Tonight We Dance are considered classics by a handful, but unknown to others, due to varying editions of the six studio releases, whereas Ballad of Hollis Brown will be an unheard of track to many, previously appearing only the Bob Dylan compilation/ tribute album Chimes of Freedom.

What Long Forgotten Songs achieves is a kind of magnetism—the shards of everything Rise Against have been drawn back together from where they were scattered over the years, to form something that was missing, not an abstract clump of old demos. Matured tracks with a new cover and the same attitude—this is what every fan has been waiting to hear.

For the fans, and the band

However, the love of songs past is not exclusive to fans only. As the heterochromiac hero of punk, frontman Tim McIlrath reveals: ‘This record was not just a missing piece of the puzzle that we wanted to share with fans, but it was a trip down memory lane for the four of us.’

The album features a number of the bands’ favourite songs, ones which they wanted to relive as eagerly as the fans. ‘A lot of these songs were missing from our own collections, so we imagined they must be missing from other people’s collections’ states Tim in a recent interview. It’s clear that Long Forgotten Songs needed to happen, for all concerned, fan and artist alike, this B-Side release provides an insight as well as a reflection on the entirety of Rise Against—a realisation that only adds to the album’s appeal. 

Built to Last

So, with the album equivalent of a bonus track, Rise Against continue to provide an incorruptible attitude to music and a message that takes the same stance. The Midwest-force of Punk have really gone all out for the fans with this release, whilst providing an audible reminiscence for themselves also. Long Forgotten Songs was always going to be a necessary point in the bands’ discography, but it’s likely to solidify into one of the strongest points in their legacy. The songs of this album have already aged exceptionally well, perhaps to the point where they may even challenge the next A-Side release.

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