“I’ve had a 20-20 vision of the lasts of the wrongs undone. No more hate, no division. No one is free until the war is won.”
These words summarize the theme of the album 20/20 Vision by Anti-Flag. This album is the 12th studio album by this band. Anti-Flag have always been known for their political lyrics driven by combined elements of hardcore and pop punk, and this album is no different. However, they take this to another level with this album.
20/20 Vision was released on January 17, 2020. However, on October 30, 2020, the band released 20/20 Division, which was 20/20 Vision with 5 bonus tracks. In this review, I will go over 20/20 Division as a whole.
The album starts with a soundbite from a Donald Trump speech where he ominously expresses his desires for authoritarian rule. Immediately, bassist and one of the lead vocalists Chris #2 screams the chilling words to the chorus of the song “Hate Conquers All”. The album kicks off with a bang, and the momentum gets carried throughout the album.
The second song, “It Went Off Like a Bomb”, transitions well from the first song and continues the serious, dark tone. “20/20 Vision”, the title track from the album, talks about a future where the political struggle comes to an end and while asking the listener to choose a side.
“Christian Nationalist” has a more lighthearted, pop-punk feel to it while boldly calling out and protesting the ultra-right wing religious nationalists that recently made headlines. “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down” continues the same pop-punk feel with a catchy hook and chorus that encourages activists to continue struggling for their cause despite all the opposition. The next song, “The Disease”, talks about the poor and downtrodden rising up to end the rule of the ultra-rich elites contributing to the massive wealth gap in society.
Once again, Anti-Flag brings back the darker overtones with the song “A Nation Sleeps.” Between Chris #2’s aggressive, anguished screams and Justin Sane’s haunting words, the song delivers the hard-hitting truth of slave labor in for-profit prisons. This song reminds everyone that the fight to end slavery isn’t over yet.
The band, however, quickly switches over to the pop-punk feel with the song “You Make Me Sick”, targeted towards right wing agitators like Milo Yiannopoulus. The song is catchy and scathing.
A lull in the storm comes with the song “Un-American”, a softer yet thought-provoking ballad calling out the the inequality of American society, how so many people never get to live a good life because they keep getting swindled by politicians and corporate owners, how black NFL players got targeted for kneeling during the National Anthem even if they committed no crime.
20/20 Vision ends with with the stirring anthem “Resistance Frequencies.” With thunderous drums, energetic bass and guitars, powerful horns, and dueling vocals from Justin and Chris that call the listener to action in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities.
20/20 Division continues with five bonus tracks. The first song, “Born to Run”, is rousing, fast, loud, and energetic. Justin and Chris #2 once again complement each other with intense vocals while Chris Head plays a ripping lead guitar part and Pat keeps up the bombastic feel. The second song, “Concrete Breeds Apathy”, starts with an ominous bass hook. Justin and Chris #2 continue the dark feel with their aggressive vocals.
“No Allegiance To A Flag”, while slower, speaks volumes of resistance, determination to fight an unjust system, and anti-fascism. “No One Can Save Yourself But You” has a raucous, noisy sound that clearly shows anger and defiance through a fast pace.
The last song, “Fight Like Hell”, ends the full compilation with a slow, stirring anthem much like “Resistance Frequencies.” While “Resistance Frequencies” called the listener to action to join the fight, “Fight Like Hell” reminds the listener (who was presumably motivated and incentivized by the resistance frequencies) that even during the darkest hours, they must keep on facing down adversity to show the world that good shall overcome, especially over time.
All in all, 20/20 Division is an absolutely stellar album that represents the best of Anti-Flag’s work. The band brought in all the anger and hatred that they felt about the injustice committed during the four years under Trump’s administration. Each song stood out in its own unique way while still maintaining the overall continuity and feel the album was going for. It is a must-listen for any punk fans out there, or just for anyone politically minded.