"I find that its about someone just going against the grain or not following the crowd and conformity."
"I both concur and refute the previous statement. Yes, against the grain means against the trends. But, in going against the trends, you are setting a trend. It is paradoxical. Yes, it is evident that in order to create change from a trend, one must be created. Punks are about creating a trend that benefits all and secludes none, the opposite of most trends now-a-days."
"It's about gaining knowledge. Always trying to think and stop being conformist and ya know think and question and improve. He says that this is the world and that he is going against the grain cause he's not a conformist, he tries to be better and trying to improve a s a person."
"I think that against the grain means not going with the flow. but I don't think the song means go against the grain just for the sake of going against the grain. I think what Bad Religion was trying to say is do what you think is right even if it means swimming upstream. But if what you think is right means going WITH the grain than do it."
"I think that there is something important to consider that this is not only a title of a given track, but the title of the album as well. This song (to me) is the culmination. And the general text of this album has a lot to do with the evolution of the planet, and its most evolved creature (Homo Sapien Sapien). Although I think that it is an accurate supposition that Graffin is standing against conformity, (on an even larger scale) he is standing against evolution, or the grain, and that into which modern man has evolved. Also, I don't think that it is any coincidence that 'modern man' is the first track- it sets the tone of the album."
"I would like to quote something here from http://badreligion.com/history/PunkSynopsis.html: 'All I knew was that there was some weird secret about all this, and I was not one of those who were welcome to the information. Kids moved up the social ladder by revealing their knowledge of rock and roll culture and sharing their covert collections of black beauties, Quaaludes, and joints. If you partook in their offers, you were one of them, a trusted confidant. If you were afraid to partake, you were a second-class loser. In other words, if you went along with the flow, unquestioning and complacent, you were accepted and rewarded with social status. If you questioned the norm, or went against the grain in any way, you were in for a rocky ride down the social ladder.' This really explains the whole song."
"Bad Religion proves that you can do something from nothing: two chords all the way, and I'm still not tired of hearing it! Why is it so good? It's the progression. Smooth, as something lurking behind, or just observing what's going on in the beginning, the waking up in the second part, opposition from our culture rising in the third to finally expose all the anger against the stream, the current set of values, the grain.
This song sends a powerful message (which BR song doesn't?) of resistance. Of course, the title says it all: Against The Grain. It's a critic of this mainstream culture which we, as free-thinkers, swim against, constantly striving for common sense.
Mankind is overtaking nature in all its forms, from conception to destruction, it propels fantastic images in an unnatural world. No one can explain it. Even though we have self-righteous people who try to tell us what is right, the same questions are never answered. Let no one fool you. Always doubt. Renew your path through the craziness around you.
But be warned: you will be asked to go down! The mainstream will try to secularize you, try to make you look like a fool, but also making you believe you are one. Of course, there's always the mass. It does move. But it is so influenced, oriented by what it sees, it forgets to set goals for itself, for the individual. It's a time of crisis, keep your head straight and clean.
The communications industry makes everything go faster, stronger, in your face to blind you with emptiness. People are actually studying to make it more efficient everyday! But the principles are the same, we've learned nothing, even though we studied hard. Greed and jealousy keep us in line with what 'needs to be important' : money. Keep on buing, like a fool, thinking your problems will dissipate magically. Until the day you realize you are nothing. You are not what you own! Why do we keep striving towards the simple goal of having more rather than creating?
It's a moving train. I like the metaphor. But I really like the fact that BR doesn't mention it directly. Subtle, and still the message goes through. Jump in, forget where you came from, what you care about, who you trust, who you like, who you despise...if you're 'left behind,' you will forever cease to exist. Again, elites try to marginalize you, make you feel foolish.
Mankind, be warned! With no other goals than going forward in the dark, our eyes closed, our hands tied, our ears and nostrils plugged, with only the ability to taste a bitter, sour, victory with sugar on top to make it go down easier, we are condemned to nothingness. The doomsday machine is slowly at work, getting faster everyday, for it is going downstream, with no effort to push it up, or at least take it to the shore for a while, for evaluation.
And here we stand, in the middle of this sur-consumption culture, striving for common sense"
-God Under Siege firstname.lastname@example.org
"This song to me, is confusing, yet clear at the same time. The initial message is to go your own way, or against Society, represented as 'The Grain'. But, as pop-culture today has shown us, being uncool-is cool. Punk fashions, as well as music has come into the 'Mainstream' that most Punks fear. In going 'Against the Grain', we must be careful. In our pursuit of non-conformity, we must search for the intelligible path, rather than just 'being different'. Looks are nothing, acts are something, but knowledge-is power."