1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

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Rancid, 'Let's Go'
Courtesy of Epitaph Records24/40

24. Rancid, 'Let's Go'

Twenty-three songs recorded in just six days, Rancid's second album — and their first recorded with blazing guitarist Lars Frederiksen — hit just as bands like Green Day and the Offspring were having radio hits, helping the young East Bay punkers reach Number 97 on the Billboard charts. Rancid proved that speedy, catchy, class-conscious thrashing could make sense to Beavis & Butt-head fans. "Salvation" was breakthrough shout-along hit, while "Nihilism" and "Radio," the latter co-written by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, were infectiously optimistic, cutting against alternative-rock's tone of whining self-analysis. Comparisons to the Clash abounded. But the band was hardly retro. "I mean, look at 'Let's Go,'" said bassist Matt Freeman. "They never played anything that fast." Jon Dolan

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