Yes, PUNK is too fast, it's too loud, you can't quite make out all the lyrics, and it's got a shitty attitude. That is precisely why I like it.
But maybe you're different.
Say you never liked it. Never understood the appeal. Whatever. You tried it once in high school, because the disaffected art crowd was doing it. But you never quite got into it. You rebelled in a different way, or maybe not at all.
This post is for you, dear reader. Let me show you the ways.
It will only hurt a little bit.
We start off nice and easy, learning the fundamentals with these six gentle tunes — grounded in pop, and hand-picked for novice ears, and even safe for most work environments.
Dead Milkmen — Punk Rock Girl
The punk-rock ear-worm. Currently my 4-year-old E-O's favorite song.
Suzi Quatro — Wild One
Suzi Quatro's mainstream turn on Happy Days as Leather Tuscadero gave me my first of many crushes on a punk-rock girl. Like a gritty, female version of, say, Duane Eddy.
Modern Lovers — Roadrunner
God bless you, Jonathan Richman. Best. Driving song. Ever.
Mission of Burma — Academy Fight Song
Accessible music, and lyrics for thinking people.
Runaways — Cherry Bomb
Ramones — R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
Simple, self-referential, pogo-inducing goodness.
Prerequisite, Punk 101
In this session, we move on to bigger, faster, louder, more. See how loud your car stereo can get. Open the windows. Disturb the peace a bit. See how the world reacts.
The Clash — White Riot
The Clash were a particular mix of rock and punk and ska and world music. This tune was as straight-ahead punk as they ever got.
Sleater-Kinney — Words + Guitar
I want it — way, way too loud....
Stiff Little Fingers — Wasted Life
Maybe my favorite song from maybe my favorite punk band of all time.
Wire — 12XU
Crisp guitar, bass, drums, simple vocal, air-punching chorus.
The Misfits — Last Caress
Oh, Glenn Danzig, you little scamp!
Circle Jerks — I Wanna Destroy You
Good rockin' tonight.
Prerequisite, Punk 301
In this advanced session, we begin to lose rounded edges, acoustical subtlety. But Punk is not concerned with such matters, and neither should you be. Stand up now — crowd yourself bodily into the live show of sweat, blood, beer, and snot — break a guitar string, shred your finger, and turn it way up for these final six:
McRad — Weakness
Philly skate-punk legend Chuck Treece!
The Vandals — Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)
The Vandals out-Dead Kennedys-ing the Dead Kennedys.
Gorilla Biscuits — No Reason Why
Great example of a mixed- to up-tempo punk.
Minor Threat — I Don't Wanna Hear It
A minute-and-a-half of pure musical thrashing.
Bikini Kill — Suck My Left One
X-Ray Specs — Oh Bondage! Up Yours!
Punk saxophone, people!