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50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums

From Blink-182 to the Buzzcocks, we count down the best of punk's most lovable, lovelorn offshoot

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Rancid, '...And Out Come the Wolves' (1995)
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17. Rancid, '...And Out Come the Wolves' (1995)

After a charmed run as the socially conscious, ska-punk heroes of Operation Ivy, Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman founded Rancid together in 1991. Curiously enough, the band thrived commercially in spite of the grunge boom of the Nineties; their rousing 1994 record Let's Go climbed up the Billboard 200, following endorsements by fellow Berkeley punks Green Day and Epitaph labelmates the Offspring. To their great dismay, Rancid's sudden market viability would trigger an influx of major-label offers, including one from Madonna's Maverick Records. "They started coming to gigs. ... We didn't ask them to," guitarist Lars Frederiksen told Rolling Stone in 1995 – thus spawning the title of the band's third LP, ...And Out Come the Wolves. But what Rancid lacked in pop ambition, they made up with their brilliant storytelling. Using traditional song structures, Rancid specialized in street-punk lore sourced from their real, tempestuous lives on the road, from the skinhead vignette "Time Bomb" to "Olympia, WA," a rock & roll elegy to Armstrong's tanked relationship with Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail. Certified platinum in 2004, the spirit of Out Come the Wolves still rings more punk than pop – but it remains a timeless touchstone for young troublemakers across generations. S.E.

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