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100 Greatest Punk Songs, 23-34

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We plow on. We, being my co-blogger (T) and me (M).

23. Circle Jerks – “Live Fast, Die Young”
Talk about anthems. I was 18 when this song came out. When you’re 18 you fluctuate between feeling like you are gonna live forever and feeling like you want to die. Those two things kind of lend themselves to each other when you spend every night doing some sort of damage to your body and your brain cells and your life expectancy, and you really just don’t give a fuck about growing old and you sit around talking about how much getting older sucks and what is the point when the world is going to shit anyhow so you sit outside the bar in your car wondering if you are too drunk or stoned to drive and you pop Group Sex into the cassette player and you spend the next hour screaming live fast, die young and you think, hell yea. That’s what I’m gonna do. Live fast, die young. We see how that worked out. – M download

24. NoMeansNo – “Big Dick”– Wanna call them punk? hm. Well they had a punk following. Does that count? Make your own call. I don’t fucking know. They influenced a lot of punk bands. Does that count? Hm. I don’t know. But, I guess you can call them punk, or not. I don’t really care. This song was on a great album that basically changed the way a lot of people thought about punk rock. From guitarist and vocalist driven to bass drive. It changed a lot of things we were doing. We never thought about things like that. They had a new style and a new approach. “You could rule a set with a bass? Really? Really?” This band started making people think that bass players weren’t the background anymore. They were up front. And they had issues. – T download

25. Swingin’ Utters -“Derailer”
Ok. Some of you guys are gonna hate this for separate reasons. And I’ve heard them all before. They went to Fat, they changed their style, and they try too hard to sound like an English band. Well hey, hell that’s all true. A band from San Francisco does sound pretty lame singing about the Queen while they were living in SF. Actually, it’s kind of funny if you think about it. But this song was really about conformity and how bad you get beat when you move off the track. You better learn to get fucked. And you better get used to it. Cause you’re a needy person. -T download

26. The Explosion -“No Revolution”
Really fucking angry shit that cut down to the core of what I was feeling when I first heard it. Something that was gnawing at me. Something that I thought I was all alone in feeling. But they felt it too. They felt the same. Let’s smash it all and start again. We started this shit and we are tired of you guys letting it fall. This song brought back to life a dying man on the street with songs about fun and, well, basically, insulting us for letting this slip through our fingers. It just made me feel happy that I wasn’t alone. -T download

27. strung.jpg42. Strung Out – “Ultimate Devotion”
Fast-paced, dark and desperate, this is not your parent’s love song. It’s an ode to submissiveness or a plea for domination, depending on your point of view. In some ways it reminds me of that stalker-like, clingy love that you get in high school when you try to break up with a guy and he says he’d kill himself if you did and two days later he comes to school with his skin all red and blistery cause he tried to burn himself to death under the sun lamp in his parents’ bathroom. Or maybe that’s just me. -M download

28. TSOL – “Code Blue”
Is it really a song about fucking the dead or is it more like a statement on how much girls suck? Either way it’s got fun lyrics (And I don’t even care how she died…But I like it better if she smells of formaldehyde!). And really, even if you’re not into necrophilia or bitching about what a prude your girl is, this song has such a great groove you’ll find yourself moving along to it. And so what if you accidentally put it on a party mix and play it real loud while your neighbors are having a family outing in their backyard. Like they never heard the phrase “I wanna fuck the dead” before. Sheesh. -M download

29. Fear – “Gimmie Some Action”
A band that walks out and tells you they will walk out if you spit on them, then does walk off has got to be pretty cool. Lee Ving would come out, for each show, insult the crowd, then spit on the crowd, then jump into this song. It made entire floors turn into pits. It really didn’t matter where you were at on the floor. If you were standing , you were in it. Surprise motherfucker. Didn’t think you would get this did you? Get fucking used to it or go to the bar. This is the way it was gonna be for the next three minutes and if you don’t like it, there is a Coors Lite waiting for you at the pussy bar. Take your Silver Bullet and sit at the side cause this is punk rock. This is a song that has balls hanging down to its god damn knees. And please don’t ask me what that means, cause I don’t even know. – T download

30. Butt Trumpet – “I’m Ugly And I Don’t Know Why” This might be more of a song for girls or guys with low esteem. Hell, it was a song for everyone really. Who in the world has never had their love taken away. Then fucking insulted in the playground. Then got so angry they shoved a peanut up someone’s ass. Don’t fucking take my love and insult me. One is bad enough. Two means you get your fucking ass kicked. Hey dude, it happens. Bianca sounds so fucking angry in this song you just wanna grab a beer and watch the cat fight that gonna happen and place bets on whose gonna win. Great song… and I bet Bianca beat the shit out of the chick and she was farting Jiffy Spread for the next two weeks. -T download

31. Down By Law – “1944”
Anyone familiar with the California scene knows what they are talking about and who they are talking about and where they there were talking about. l had a personal feeling for this song. Always trying your best and always hitting the end of some critic’s crap. Being disliked by some critic? That critic disliking you so much when he’s never felt the sweat drip on to your bass while you’re playing until you can’t see straight? Playing until you are dizzy? Bagging on me? Fuck him. It’s easy to sit and create words on a page, but when you look down on the floor and see people having fun together, it’s different. It stops being about divisions. It starts being about having fun and wasn’t this what it was about? Having fun? Not what others thought because we gave all that shit up along time ago. Just having fun. -T download

32. The Jam – “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight”
The first time I heard this song – about a guy trying to get home from work to his wife but gets jacked by some thugs in the a subway station, was the first time I fell in love with The Jam. It was Weller’s ability to tell a complete, chilling story here, combined with the perfect pace of the song; rise and fall, slow and frenzied, giving the whole thing an air of drama that made see this band for everything they were. The build up as the guy is laying there, beaten and describing his what he sees as he’s on the floor dying, (The last thing that I saw As I lay there on the floor Was Jesus saves painted by an atheist nutter) and then the lines “I glanced back on my life and thought about my wife cause they took the keys – and she’ll think its me.” That stayed with me. Haunted me. I still to this day – over 20 years later – get that same gut-punch feeling when I listen to this. That, kids, is what turns a good song into a great song. – M download

33. refused.jpg Refused – “New Noise”
The first time I heard this song, I was watching (what the hell was the name of that metal show on the old Much Music?) TV late at night and they showed this video. Some dorks in suits come out on a stage. Oh, what the fuck is this shit they’re playing now? And then the opening riff and I thought, hmmm…sounds promising. Then the drums kick in, then the bass kicks in and then it slows down….yea, I’m digging this but where’s this going, and then………CAN I SCREAM? Whoa, dude. Whoa. The rest of the song kicked my ass. I had been half asleep when it started and by the time the dude was screaming We’re not….leading, I was off the couch, adrenaline kicked in, and on the computer looking up shit about this band. Swedish hardcore punk? Right on. They may look like rejects from an Ed Sullivan repeat, but they fucking kicked my ass. Shape of Punk to Come is one of my favorite albums ever. – M download

34. Minor Threat – “It Follows”
Yea, I’m doing another Minor Threat song. It’s my list, I can do what I want.
This song is relentless. From that opening bass to the last “It followed me” and the breathless vocals, you really get the sense of someone just trying to get the fuck away from a life they no longer want. Somehow that life keeps chasing you and following you and just when you think you are moving fast enough to not turn your head and see it behind you, it’s still breathing down your neck. And even at the end, when the whistling kicks in and you feel like yea, I got away, I’ll just hide behind this corner and it won’t find me, you know the whistling is just fake bravado and what you were running from is still going to find you and fuck you up. -M download

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About Michele Catalano

  • Truman

    Ok, you guys put together a fucking SOLID list! Finish the shit off! Theres a couple bands I could see being added without any question (Leatherface, Bad Religion.) Thank you for showing me awesome songs by bands I already knew, and also for just reminding me how much I love others.