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100 Best Punk Songs: 35-46

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My co-blogger (T) and I (M) continue the list.

35. Rancid – "Sidekick"
This one appeals to the comic book lover in me. Because I first heard this song and thought hell, yeah. Vigilante’s sidekick. That’s kinda cool. Runnin’ around town in our superhero suits, one of us with a V and one with an S (for sidekick, of course) and we’d be gunning down bad guys like some punk rock Milk and Cheese and…hey…I think he’s talking about soup kitchens and feeding the poor, or maybe the big bad wolf huffing and puffing and going 187 on a cop…oh hell, I don’t know. I just know that someday I’m gonna write a comic book and it will start out by saying, “My name is Tim and I’m a lesser known character.” (M)

36. Operation Ivy – "Sound System"
Dude, this song makes me happy. I mean, almost all the songs I’ve written about so far are drenched in alcohol and drug memories and lots of young adult angst and overwrought emotions. But this song. This makes me fucking happy. It’s about creating something, turning words into song, making those words come to life, taking a thought you have in your head, making something of it, and it’s not yours anymore because you’ve put it out there and given it to everyone. And it’s about being happy, not giving in to the shit around you and just living in the moment. Well, that’s what I get out of it anyhow. Box in my hand music by my side/Skanking to the rhythm of the music by my side. Yeah, dude. [Disclaimer: I do not skank, have never skanked, will never, ever skank. Though I have been called a skank.] (M)

37. Dead Milkmen – "Bitchin’ Camaro"
Hey, you can’t have a great punk song list without this. The first time I heard this, I was thinking, "Hey this whole fake banter thing is kinda clever," and then "Hey, they are bagging on the Doors and…dude! I fucking saw Crystal Ship at least a dozen times, man. They’re totally making fun of me!" And I was all set to hate them and then the song really kicks in and by the time I got to “Tony Orlando and Dawn”, I was hooked on the song and on the Milkmen. I’m drunk on unleaded!

And yea, I really saw Crystal Ship. A lot. Fuck you. I was young. (M)

38. Turbonegro – "Don't Say Motherfucker, Motherfucker"
I have no clue what this song is about. I woke up and heard this while passed out on a sofa. The words were like, "Toilet bowls and puppies and motherfuckers?" I must have missed that. It had been a long night and I'm half deaf. Put that thing on again and get me a beer cause we need to get what he is saying. Second play. "Toliet bowls and rubbing a dogs face in the dirt?" What the fuck is he saying? Third play. "Kick the sand in our face?" What the fuck? This is a song that grabs you and tells you it will fucking beat you if you don't like it. Love it to Deathpunk. (T)

39. New Bomb Turks – "I Want My Baby…Dead?"
Let's pick up the pace here. A song that you DON'T want to play at a sorority house. Even if you think it's the coolest thing you ever heard, explaining this to a bunch of girls in sweats is fucking hard. "He doesn't really mean he wants his girl dead, he is just sick of her. I don't want to explain this again." Hey dude, I'm not bagging on sorority chicks, but …well, yes, I am. Dude, the song fucking rocks and lets you in on a little bit of inside information. Sometimes girlfriends don't rock and sometimes you feel you are better off alone. Meh. It happens. (T)

40. Subhumans – "Susan"
Subhumans Time Cover.jpgThis might not be your favorite Subhumans' song. You might not even call it punk rock. But to this day I still know the lyrics. This song always came up in my head when I saw someone who just wanted out. Trust me. A lot of people in my life wanted out and were forced to keep going. But, they just wanted out. This tells you the story of one girl who wanted out years before but couldn't go. A weird, dark song about her wanting to die but staying alive just for others to smile, but in the end giving up. A really sad song about a girl who was forgotten in the end. (T)

41. SOD – "March of the SOD"
Oh, you knew it was gonna happen. Don't shake your head, 'cause you damn well knew it was coming. This was a song everyone waited for. Waited for on Friday nights when MTV played that stupid music show that featured music bands that played funny things called music videos. I know you are all surprised, but Headbangers Ball was something that was an era ago. Something that, when you heard the grind of this song, you knew it was going. Before Carson Daly took over, this is what we waited for. The bullrider, the trainwreck, the opening song. "March of the SOD." You could hear it at any party we were at. It was song that meant that everything you heard in the past was the past. Things were gonna get a bit harder now. (T)

42. Germs – "Lexicon Devil"
I was listening to an old D.I. tune. Something off some album. I remembered sitting in a bar with D.I. and stupidly asking them about that song. "You guys didn't do this did you? Who did it?" Being immediately shamed by them for not knowing this was the Germs they were covering. That's what made me buy the album. I won't lie. This stuff was way before my time and sometimes I can't understand it. The way Darby sings. I can't hear it. Fuck, I'm almost fucking deaf. Gimmie a break. We have talked about this before. But this song had energy. And it was mean. What was it about? Don't ask me. But I remember two songs and this was one of them. This song moved and surprisingly, Darby could keep up. I wasn't one of those people who wouldn't get a Germs burn but this song was coolio enough to light a cigarette to. (T)

43. The Accused – "Grinning Like an Undertaker"
accusedgrinningtapesml.jpgTake a kid and put him in a hospital. A punk rock kid who hates speed metal. Is it speed metal? Is it punk? Is it freeform fucking art? I have no fucking clue. Make your own decisions 'cause I'm turning it up. Anyway, take this kid, leave him there with just a Walkman and just this one tape. Twenty-four hours of this tape. Drugs and alcohol (we can talk about alcohol in the hospital in another story). Mix it all together and you have the turtle. By the time I walked out of there I was a full-on, pissed off, broken machine. If you get used to Blaine's voice, this shit fucking rocks. It takes about ten times 'til you kinda get it, and you can call it punk or not, but the Accused move and Blaine holds on. Great stuff from a great band that I'm not even sure is around anymore. (T)

44. MC5 – "Kick Out the Jams"
So I’m in the car with my 13-year-old son, listening to the punk rock station on XM radio and this song comes on. Kick out the jams, motherfucker! Kid says, "Hey this song sounds old." I said, "Yeah, 1969, dude. This is like the original punk rock song. The original punk rock band." He says, "They said 'motherfucker' in 1969??" That made me laugh. But hey, he rocked out to the song and immediately hit his Fender when we got home to try and work it out. Over 30 years later and some 13-year-old kid is laying down your notes on his guitar and thinking it’s one of the coolest things he ever heard? Rock on. (M)

45. Husker Du – "Divide and Conquer"
111477.jpgWhat? Two Husker Du songs and no appearance by anything from Zen Arcade yet? Hey, it's everybody else's favorite album, not mine. This particular song always got me going when I needed some motivation to get off my ass. I’m not saying it inspired me or anything, but the groove got me up and going when I might have just stayed in bed all day going over my bad life choices. The lyrics are kind of like reading the notes of a drunken conspiracy theorist and the music, well, it moves on and on and on and you keep holding your breath waiting for a hook or an extended 'fuck you' chorus or something, but it’s just that cool, winding melody over and over and the occasional 'divide and conquer' and finally Mould gives you a bunch of patented 'la, la, las' which isn’t much of a payoff, but damn that guitar lick kicks some ass. (M)

46. Misfits – "Bullet"
Yeah, more Misfits. Hey, at least it’s not another Minor Threat song, because I could easily go there, too. How many ways can you offend people in one song? When I heard these lyrics for the first time I could almost hear the collective gasp of middle America. I could see scarf-wearing suburban women fainting in shock, grown men in seersucker suits and military hair cuts banging their fists in anger and demanding death to the Misfits. I mean, my god. Masturbation, eating cum out of your palm, shattered head on concrete — dude, this is more offensive than the time when I was working at the record store and put out a display of Dead Kennedys records on November 22. But really, anyone totally appalled at this song only has to watch the Misfits perform it to see it go from tastelessness to, well, campy tastelessness. (M) [ADBLOCKHERE]

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About Michele Catalano

  • Vern Halen

    Kick Out the Jams – excellent choice. The bazooka I’d take into a firefight with me though offa that album is Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa). I don’t even know what it means, but there’s something about the way it’s played – total abandon, maybe.

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