Bad Brains – Rock for Light: #808 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Bad Brains - Rock for Light

Why is Bad Brains’ Rock for Light on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

You (and you) might be able to survive without this album, but why (and why)?

Some stats & info about Bad Brains – Rock for Light

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Punk, Punk Rock, Hardcore Punk, Reggae, Roots Reggae, Rock, Rock Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Rock for Light released? 1983
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #808 out of 1,000

Bad Brains’ Rock for Light on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

What does Bad Brains’ Rock for Light mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I’ve long had a hard time fully figuring out Bad Brains, but I came to realize that that’s one of the bands charms and strengths. Legendary and groundbreaking in many ways, Bad Brains would heavily influence a huge array of bands ranging from Black Flag to Fishbone to Beastie Boys.

While I’m a huge punk rock fan, Bad Brains raw hardcore punk sound can be a little much for me at times, and certainly it’s not a sound that ever really struck gold with mainstream audiences. But what’s a little baffling and incredible about Bad Brains is that they also produced a bunch of standalone reggae songs on every album (and in fact the band members adhered to the Rastafarian faith), many of which I find to be staggeringly good.

In fact, if Bad Brains only produced reggae music, I’d consider them to be one of my all time favorite reggae bands. And a big reason for that is “I and I Survive,” a song that I can and have listened to countless times. It’s got a perfect roots reggae groove that sets it above almost all of the reggae music I’ve ever listened to.

It also just so happens that a combination of the performances and production of the hardcore punk songs on Rock for Light come across a little more appealing to me than two other Bad Brains albums – the self-titled Bad Brains from 1982 and I Against I from 1986 – that true Bad Brains aficionados might prefer. The production on songs like the title track, “Rock for Light,” are a little bit cleaner than on other Bad Brains albums and therefore more interesting for yours truly.

But it’s really stuff like the wild reggae on “Rally Round Jah Throne” that turns my head (and the ears attached to them).

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Bad Brains’ Rock for Light

It would have been kind of fun if Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak landed as #808 on this here best 1,000 albums ever list, but alas it took the #884 slot instead.