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The best 40 punk albums of all time
Punk rock was born in 1976 on Bowery Street, New York, when four Queens boys invented an explosive mutation in chewing gum music. The revolution inspired by them split the history of rock and roller in two. Although punk was born as a kind of denial - a call to a clear, brutal simplicity - the diversity and changing emotional power of the genre was immediate and yet remains incredible.
To celebrate the power of a genre and an attitude that can write history, we have compiled a list of the best 40 punk albums of all time. Although Ramones are zero year for punk rock, there is no lack of precedent, so we recorded important precursors like Stooges, New York Dolls, Pere Ubu and Patti Smith, artists who were punk rock in spirit (though not always in sound) before the style really had a name.
We didn't even get too excited about the old question of what punk really is. However, both bands are great, and both are in this ranking. As this is a list of albums and not a list of bands, many meritorious punk bands have stayed out. Finally, we preferred records that embodied the spirit of punk, also with a slightly expanded definition.
"In 1991, punk rock was supposed to mean freedom," said Kurt Cobain, while Nevermind exploded punk values in a respectable American audience. Dead Kennedys' debut LP is the heavy-core album par excellence, with vocalist Jello Biafra Johnny Rotten imitating Rotten in satirical pieces such as California Über Alles and Holiday in Cambodia.
Supported by the "East Bay" technique of the remarkable guitarist Ray Pepperell, Fresh Fruit possessed more musical power than contemporary works of other rockers like Fear or Adolescents. Devo, a collective of artists and a punk group in equal parts, set out from Akron, Ohio, with a distorted and brilliant vision of the New Wave genre.
Your first record deals with obsessions like Ronald McDonald and cannibal monkeys, which makes the future appear more of an involution than an evolution. This Vancouver based group looks like Black Flag, led by the illegitimate daughter of Patti Smith and Stevie Nicks, and each of their songs explodes like a hand grenade.
Highlights like Drown With The Monster and Face Down are splatter-noise anthems of amazing freshness - definitely remarkable for a group that started 40 years after the birth of punk history. In the tracks of this record you can hear the echo of deskendents and missfits and other milestones of punk.
The antisexistent penis envy has a strongly political and radical text. The new, extraordinary group of former Minor Threat and Embrace Leaders Ian MacKaye was a revelation: He and his Fugazi colleagues invented a wild post-hardcore tone - and with Waiting Room they wrote the best karaoke success of American punk.
No other punk group has ever expressed their alienation as captivatingly as Joy Division. There was much beauty in her sharp voice and in the silver clangling of the group. They merge regengae-beats and punk guitars to joyfully anarchic songs like Ladendiebstahl with their extraordinary motto "We Pay Fuck All!
"The Slits followed Patti Smith's example and defined punk as feminist, implicit and explicit. And like their British colleagues, the raincoats, they founded not only a women's group ( already a radical act in itself), but also a music that owed little to the men's punk dogmas.
With hymns like I Turned Into a Martian, Glenn Danzig and his New Jersey mutant group brought a necessary irony to the hard-core scene. Ignoring the usual B-movie themes of hard-core music like zombies and seductive vampires, Misfits' macabre debut, Walk Among Us, is the height of punk horror.
Her debut LP is the work of three very intelligent young New Yorkers dedicated to art, including the fireworks in pink Karen O outfits. She howls like a cheetah in heat - until she destroys your heart in amazing maps that are perhaps the best slow piece of all punk rock.
With their third record, the group from New York began the path that would make them the most important music group of the last 30 years. The Germs released only one record before alcoholic singer Darby Crash took his own life in December 1980. The leaders of the D.C. scene did not stay together long, but their influence remains enormous thanks to the intensity of Ian MacKaye, who truly believed in the straightforward gospel he spread to bring revolutionary values into everyday life.
"I think we're actually an undercover rock performer who was born in the middle of punk," Clint Conley of the Mission of Burma once said. But the Boston avant-garde group was one of the first to have an artistic approach to punk with their debut single Academy Fight Song in 1980.
Vs. is a complex record that must be listened to carefully, but also an exuberant chaos - with the anti-Reagan sermon That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate and the hypnotic Trem Two. The self-proclaimed "cappuccino child" Paul Weller of Jam's brings the zeal of punk into the modival, inspired by Kinks and Who.
Their third record is a snapshot of life in London, from "A" Bomb in Wardour Street to Down in the subway station at midnight, an escape route against right-wing punks. While punk was boiling in New York and London, it also flowed to Cleveland, where Pere Ubu created an "Industrial Folk" that appeared post-punk in 1975.
This archive kit reaches its climax with the cool, dark tones of Final Solution, where singer David Thomas howls on Peter Laughner's Great Lakes guitar. The tough Laughner acquired a place in the cemetery at the age of 24 because of alcohol, but the group he founded is still active today.
The Bikini Kill wanted a "Revolution Girl style Now" in their 1991 tape-only debut, and that's exactly what they offered as the leaders of the 90s cult movement. The spearhead of this singles collection is Rebel Girl, who sees Joan Jett, the forerunner of the uprising, on guitar and choirs; when singer Kathleen Hanna shouted "in her sweetness, I savour the revolution," thousands of rebellious girls were ready to attack the barricades of patriarchy.
The co-founder of television, Richard Hell, practically invented what he called the "colourful coarseness" of punk fashion and hairstyles. When he started his solo career with Blank Generation, he recruited Robert Quine, a Velvet Underground fanatic whose dry guitar style was ideal for songs against love Betrayal Take Two and love comes in tracks.
And with the track that gives the album its name, Hell gave us perhaps the greatest anthem of punk on freedom. "The debut of the X-Ray Spex became an oral cult classic and influenced Sleater-Kinney, Beastie Boys and many others. Christened with the title of a Ramones song, they were already legends when they released their debut on cassette in 1982, which included the song Pay to Cum.
The debut with a Green Day majority spread among the youth as a frenetic relief after the death of Kurt Kobain. The result is the first - and biggest - icon of the punk rock guitar that makes the cruel streets of New York seem like a mystical playground. The descendants of L.A. believed that their debut would be their only album as singer Milo Aukerman was on the verge of attending university.
He managed to graduate in biology, and deskendents still managed to become a pop-punk institution, pouring rachitic rage over their miserable bourgeois life in I'm Not a Punk and Suburban Home, paving the way for many bands. "What made the Dolls influential in the punk world was that they showed that anyone can," said singer David Johansen.
The debut of the Dolls, produced by Todd Rundgren, is a percolation of impudence, one of the reasons why punk entrepreneur Malcolm McLaren took care of them before mounting the Sex Pistols. With their double vinyl operas, the Minnesota Strong troupe broke all the rules of the three-part hardcore - the story of a young man fleeing from a broken family and finding his way to the city.
Even before there was punk, he already had his queen - a Lower East Side poet who merged the rock garages of the 1960s with Rimbaud to create his own ecstatic vision. The Bozzcocks broke through the barriers of punk with extremely catchy buds that deal with hormonal problems, such as orgasm addiction, to the very mature piece about the end of an Oh Shit!
The group' secret weapon has always been John Maher, the punk drummer par excellence, who goes through Ever Fallen In Love? as if he were responsible for a seminar on human sexuality that would have plunged into the most terrible chaos. "In an interview with Nirvana, punk rock should mean freedom," said Kurt Cobain when he became the messiah of alto rock.
Although he considered the refined sounds embarrassing, Nevermind exploded like a grenade in American music, transforming the middle school dances into moshpit with music that embodies the punk rock of Cobain's dreams and perhaps loved the children he grew up with in rural Washington.
Much too artistic to be able to navigate the L.A. hard-core scene, the couple of John Doe and Exene Cervenka sang of L.A. as a surreal nightmare full of psychotic addicts and exhausted Hollywood directors, accompanied by Billy Zoom's guitar full of rocks.
"Black Flag didn't back down and perfected L.A.'s hardcore with Greg Ginn's distorted guitar and Henry Rollins' poisonous muscle rage. "During the 45 tracks of this classic double record, guitarist D. Boon and bassist Mike Watt talk about a lifelong friendship rooted in shared punk values - like Boon in History Lesson, Part 2, says: "Our group could be your life.
This explosive eclecticism will affect bands from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Pavement. But just as they were beginning to gain some national interest, Boon was tragically killed in a car accident in 1985, shortly after the release of the band's latest record, 3-Way Tie (For Last). This debut of 21 tracks in 35 minutes is the best way to sum up the endless possibilities of the radical simplicity of punk.
R.E.M., Spoon and Minor Thrreat are just a few of the bands who made covers for Pink Flag, from Rubik's 1 2xU Hardcore Cube to the 28-second Tablo nightmare Field Day for the Sundays to the first sweet punk love song, the " FRAGILLE ".
"A perfect album," said Henry Rollins of Black Flag. In the second Detroit record (produced by Kingsmen keyboarder Don Gallucci) this meant a primitive workshop 10 years earlier. But when Sex Pistols' only official record launched a frontal attack on the British charts, Rotten's growling verses of abortion and anarchy terrorized a nation.
The result remains the Punk Rock Mountain Speech, and their echoes are everywhere. On April 3rd 1976 the London based 101ers played with the evil street kids of Sex Pistols. A year later the rehearsed voice of Clash, MrStrummer made it to the top 20 in the UK with the eponymous, extravagant debut of his new group, a distorted outburst of rage and a street choir that was sung that turned English punk from a teenage chaos into a social weapon thanks to songs like White Riot, London's Bringing and I'm So Born With the U.S.A..
When the Ramones recorded their debut in February 1976 for $6,400, the plan was simple: "Eliminate the superfluous and concentrate on the substance," as Tommy put it in 1999. "We thought we could be the biggest group in the world," Johnny remembers.