Top 10 Anti-Flag Songs

Anti-Flag Songs

Photo: IllaZilla, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top t10 Anti Flag songs list looks at the work of a punk rock band from Pennsylvania who are well known for their left-wing political activism. They were first formed in 1988 by vocalist Justin Sane and drummer Pat Thetic. However, they failed to maintain a stable lineup and fell apart later that same year. They regrouped in 1992 with Andy Flag on bass.

Their debut album Die For The Government was released in 1996. Andy Flag left the band later that year. After having a couple of fill-in bassists, Jamie Sane took up bass duties and Chris Head, who had been playing bass at that point moved to second guitar in 1997. In 1998 they got a new bass player in the form of Chris Barker otherwise known as Chris 2. Later that year they released a compilation album titled Their System Doesn’t Work For You. This was followed by A New Kind Of Army in 1999.

After signing with Fat Wreck Records in 2000, they released their third album Underground Network in 2001. This album is considered to be their breakthrough album with its highly political themes which address issues such as fascism and the US foreign policy. They followed this up with Mobilize in 2002 which was highly influenced by the wake of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq and was actually pulled from several record stores for its lyrical content was considered to be “anti-American.” They followed this up with The Terror State which continued the theme of criticism towards the Bush Administration.

In 2005, the band signed with major label RCA Records and released their sixth album For Blood And Empire in 2006 which chronicled further criticisms of President George Bush who was now in his second term in office. Their next album The Bright Lights of America was released in 2008.

In 2009, they left RCA and signed with the label SideOneDummy and released their eighth album The People Or The Gun later that year. Over the next couple of years, they embarked on several tours and got involved in several activist causes before their next album The General Strike was released in 2012. In 2014 they released a compilation album titled A Document Of Dissent 1993-2013.

In 2015, Anti Flag released their tenth album American Spring in 2015. Later that year they released a compilation album called Cease Fires. Their next album American Fall was released in 2018. The latest album 20/20 Vision was released in 2020. Here is a list of their ten best songs.

# 10 – Die For The Government

Kicking off our Anti Flag songs list is the partial title track of their debut album Die For The Government released in 1996. This song was later released on the compilation album Document Of Dissent released in 2013. In 2017 the band embarked on a twentieth anniversary tour of the album (although it was actually twenty-one years later) where they played the album in its entirety.

# 9 – Underground Network

Up next we have the title track of the third Anti-Flag album released in 2001. This is considered to be the band’s breakthrough album, particularly with tracks such as this. They released this record on Fat Wreck Records, the label of NOFX frontman Fat Mike after meeting whilst on the Vans Warped Tour. This track was also included on the Document of Dissent.

# 8 – Got The Numbers

This track is from Anti Flag’s second album A New Kind Of Army released in 1999. This record was released jointly with Go-Kart Records and AF Records. They originally wanted it on Fat Wreck but at the time Fat Mike did not feel that the band would fit in with the rest of the bands on the roster. It was not until he saw them live on the Warped Tour that he changed his mind.

# 7 – Turncoat

This next song is taken from The Terror State released in 2003. The album’s artwork was considered to be in bad taste as it showed a small child standing on a pile of burnt-out rubble holding a gun. The child was Justin Sane’s niece. It was produced by Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello.

# 6 – This Machine Kills Fascists

Next up is a song that many may know is named after a famous slogan that legendary folk musician Woody Guthrie wrote on his guitar in the 1940s. The album’s artwork featured a picture of Guthrie as well as a small piece written about him, he is one of Anti Flag’s musical heroes. The album got to number twenty-three on the Billboard US album charts.

# 5 – Power To The Peaceful

Here is another from The Terror State. This album’s lyrics were heavily influenced by the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent US invasion of Iraq. With this track, you feel the band’s anger, as that period was a highly polarising time in politics. This song is a rallying cry to put a stop to the war and prevent any more innocent people getting killed.

# 4 – 911 For Peace

This song is taken from the band’s fourth album Mesmerize released in 2002. Along with the eight songs recorded for the album, it also featured eight live bonus tracks which were recorded in a DIY run venue called the Mr Roboto Project in Pennsylvania. The record got to number forty-two on the US Independent charts.

# 3 – Broken Bones

At number three is “Broken Bones” taken from Anti Flag’s ninth album The General Strike released in 2012. This song is about how being in a veteran touring band is not as glamorous as many people may think it is. It is about the effect that touring has on an individual, things such as homesickness and the feeling of disbelief that the band still have despite having been together for twenty years.

# 2 – One People, One Struggle

Also taken from The Terror State, this song is a rallying cry for the ordinary people to be united. It is a common theme in punk rock but one that cannot be argued with. It is a song that is a live favorite with fans, particularly when they shout along to the chorus. Although Anti Flag often gets accused of being politically idealistic, the message of this song is one we can all at least agree with in principle.

# 1 – Brandenburg Gate

Our number one Anti Flag song is taken from their tenth album American Spring released in 2015 and features Tim Armstrong from Rancid. The album was commercially successful getting to twenty-two on the Top Rock Albums, seventeen on the Alternative Albums, five on the Hard Rock Albums, and fifteen on the Independent Albums chart.

Updated November 1, 2023

Top 10 Anti-Flag Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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