The echoing drums that kick off "A World Without Melody" and the synthesizer interludes of "It's a Long Way to the Promised Land" suggest Rundgren's contributions, but singer Greg Graffin's bellowing vocals and Greg Hetson and Brian Baker's bristling guitar work don't sound any different than they always have. Granted, Graffin, who's pursuing a Ph.D. at Cornell, is still one of punk's most literate spokespersons. He criticizes the high-tech world as someone who's intricately connected with it, rather than as an outsider nostalgic for simpler times. In "I Love My Computer" -- a song that features a woman's voice beckoning "click me here" -- he expounds upon the soullessness of interacting over the Internet. But Graffin explored a similar theme on the band's 1994 hit "21st Century (Digital Boy)" and isn't onto anything new here. While Bad Religion might be bereft of ideas, compared to Blink 182 -- a band most famous for running naked through the streets in its video for "What's My Age Again?" -- it seems like high art.
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