Posts Tagged ‘Punk rock’

I don’t know if this counts as a throwback, since it only came out a few years ago, but heck, I’m going to go ahead and count it.  I love this band, their energy, that they’re playing hardcore punk.  I love them.  You should too.

Cerebral Ballzy: Don’t Tell Me What To Do

Punk vs. HipHop: Music for F*ckups

Posted: October 27, 2015 in punk
Tags: , ,

It occurred to me this morning, as two songs simultaneously rattled around my head, it occurred to me how differently punk and hip hop treat pre-achievement status.  You know – making mistakes, being unsuccessful.  It seems to me most hip-hop (and of course, I’m generalizing here – my knowledge of hip-hop is mostly surface, so I’m going on what I’ve heard on the radio and from friends) is built to glorify the time after achievement.  For example:

This contrasts with many punk songs, which are focused on the time before success – the fighting, the struggle, the mistakes.  For example:

(and I recommend The Overton Window by Frank White)

Punk rock is the fight song; hip-hop is the afterglow.

I think it might be easier to find a punk song speaking to how you feel at this moment rather than how you wish you were feeling.  As I recall, this is the reason so many people freaked out about Linkin Park after Columbine – a rock band was unapologetically screaming all the angst teenagers usually cover up.

When I listen to hip-hop, I sometimes get depressed because I haven’t yet “made it.”  I’m not at the top yet.  I don’t feel like I can look down at haters, or feel like I can sit back.  How can a teenager relate to a millionaire rapping about his gold chains, or Nikki Minaj shitting on her haters?

Punk speaks to my anger, the fact that every day is still a struggle.  I wonder if it’s changed as I’ve gotten older; do younger people need that affirmation, that understanding that they can (eventually) make it? Is it because hip-hop never minded going for the gold, where punks are embarrassed by success?  Or does “making it” become the end all be all, forgetting that our struggles, mistakes and trials are also important and make us who we are, even as we’re struggling?

We’ll end with 7Seconds, who said it best.  We walk together – why can’t we rock together.

As a wise band once said, breaking up is hard to do.

When you’re young, breaking up is the end of the world.  Your chest is always tight, your eyes always on the verge of tearing up, and every song you hear is either a repudiation or an anthem of your personal pain.

It doesn’t matter what side of the breakup you’re on, either.  It really sucks to be dumpee, but it also really sucks to be the dumper (and how gross does that term sound?).  Constantly questioning your values and your value as a person is exhausting, producing the kind of existential angst only matched by 00s emo (I’m looking at you, Taking Back Sunday).

these fuckin’ guys right here.

Breaking up is also super important.  It puts everything into sharp relief – what’s really important to you in another person, what valuable contributions a partner brings to the relationship.  I read once most relationships are broken apart by sex, money and childrearing.  I believe this only because those are three of the biggest issues dealing with personal values we can face, and that couples must face.  I doubt it’s actually money or sex or kids that are the problem; it’s our beliefs about how things should be done, how the world functions, and our place dealing with these things, that create relationship turmoil.  Our schema, if you will.

Rougher still for me personally is the uselessness of my old standby for decision making, the pros/cons chart (here’s a great one, if you’re into that sort of thing).  You can list good and bad all day, but a relationship has weighted grades.  One con may outweigh 10 pros, or vice versa.  It makes things very complicated.  I’ve never met anyone who thought the person they loved was all good or all bad, and even when things get shitty (like, really shitty), it’s tough to discard the non-shitty parts.

More recent narratives and articles don’t help (Mr. Right Now, anyone?), although lately it seems more women (and men) in feminist spaces are extolling the virtues of the single life.  In a world still obsessed with finding The One, ticking biological clocks, and stories of the sad, lonely misfits brought low by lack of relational prowess and partners, ending a lackluster or unfulfilling relationship seems like selfishness, like betrayal.  Shouldn’t we be grateful anyone exists to love us at all?  Shouldn’t we just keep trying because nothing and no one will ever be 100% perfect?

(see this quote from the Wedding Planner)

Jerry Seinfeld, the greatest philosopher of our time, compared breaking up to pushing over a vending machine, because it takes a couple tries to get it done.

Here’s to picking candy out of the broken glass.

pizza and pbr

Posted: March 8, 2014 in punk
Tags: , ,

So last week we discussed a bit about how punk tends to objectify and glorify women who (generally) fit into our cultural standard of beauty (white, thin, young).  This is obviously a broad generalization and not true in all cases, but the vast majority.  (side note: if someone can tell me statistically that this is incorrect I would honestly love you forever).  I want punk to be different.  But it’s really not.

fat mike…really not that fat

When I was in college we’d have small shows and parties in basements of the cool scene kids in my town.  It was a lot like high school with a different coolness hierarchy.  The coolest kids were the ones that didn’t like their minimum wage jobs (or didn’t have one), dressed in black clothes with patches all over them, painted their own leather jackets, and seemed to live on PBR, weed and pizza.


I had the most trouble with the last part of this (although really, if I painted my own jacket it’d look like a child’s painting during a spasm).  Eating nothing but carbohydrates and drinking 15 beers a night is really not good for anyone, but is only visible on those of us with metabolisms more closely resembling a snail moving on hot asphalt.  Even though I knew this, instinctively (and because like, come on, at this point I was a professional dieter), I still couldn’t get why some people stayed thin.

except for this guy

It’s a lot of the same shit.  Women are supposed to be thin while still doing crazily unhealthy (and calorieific) things (and not showing effort, of course, it’s supposed to be natural).  PBR has as many calories per can as two apples, or a serving of almonds, or a greek yogurt.  To drink 15 PBRs is as many calories as a day’s worth of food, and that’s without any food.  Which is really not the best idea for your body, although it leads to a short and sweet drunken time.

Women have an even harder time wit ze boozes.  We metabolize food differently (immortalized in those ever classy SlimQuick ads) and of course this also translates into how many Jamo shots are going to lead to antics.  For us ladies only, of course; we all know real men can hold their booze!  (hahahaha just kidding, but we’ll maybe talk about that later)  The only way to stay thin would be to only drink.  And not eat.  Or to have a kick ass metabolism (which  90% is really not up   to you, it’s your dang parents!  Thanks mom!).  Or to throw up everything you put in your body.

More than anything, it’s the hypocrisy that is bothersome.  Don’t say you’re subculture or anti-culture, then fucking put the same unrealistic stuff on a pedestal to be achieved.  Fuck eating disorders, fuck ideals, fuck all the people who celebrate alternative ideals of beauty, which look a great deal like the old ones (I’m looking at you, Suicide Girls!).  This aggression will not stand, man.


Posted: March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Punk rock vs. R&B

No, it’s actually not going to be a big debate.

together at last?

As I’ve mentioned before, I work mostly with people of color, colleagues and clients.  Being in this environment has exposed me to a great deal of music, especially popular music, that I had previously been able to avoid.  This exposure has led to a lot of thinking, and the second installment in the punk rock portion of this blog.

While driving to a basketball game, a song came on the radio called “Ghetto” by August Alsina.  Listening to it, I was struck by the enormous emphasis on the female body (a.k.a. objectification) and the confusion about money.  Is it desirable to have money, but date someone poor?  Is this because it puts the poor partner in your debt, afraid to leave, without resources to escape?  Sounds an awful lot like definitions of abuse.

awwww, i have to date people and make them feel shitty so i can feel powerful

This morning I was trying to think of some well known punk songs that have some of the same confusion, the same issues.  Punk as an art form is inherently limited, as artists and fans reject monetary success as “selling out” (see: Rise Against, Against Me!) vs (Leftover Crack,    Against All Authority.  Hell, even Frank Turner (“we can never sell out, because we never bought in”)

We are so confused.  We don’t want to work our shitty 9-5 jobs for the man but we can’t live without money, man.  Real talk.

(Side note: I love this website  where things are too expensive for actual poor kids to buy.  Awesome).

We expect people to learn a certain way in punk..even though we say we don’t.  I remember lots of hype about Beth Ditto (who sang for Gossip which was a fairly mediocre indie band) being fat, going against the mainstream.  If we’re going against all that crap, where are the fatties?  Even most of the Riot Grrrrrl bands were young, white and thin, in makeup.

punk fucking rock. but thin. white. pretty. makeup.

Bodies in punk rock (as in most music forms) are primarily male bodies.  Do a google search for “punk.”  Here, I’ll even do it for you.    Some ladies, not traditionally attractive, right?  Mostly white, skinny, young.  Hair funny colors.  For some reason Miley Cyrus?  Quick, name a punk band with all girls.  Not even the Distillers!  Not even Star Fucking Hipsters!  Not the Horrorpops!  And notice how these women look.  Young, white, thin, makeup.

R&B and Punk objectify different people, different looks, different ideals.  But we’re still objectifying.

More to come next week!