punk 101


1. Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy – the Who (my rating: A+) year: ‘71
What it is: Entire template for punk set in adventurous, world-changing songs.
Listen: The whole thing

2. Fun House – the Stooges (A+) ‘70
Attitude/sound/production of garage rock and punk turned into groovy art.

3. Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon (A+) ‘70
A shatteringly intense, earnest, painful package of radical politics, quiet fury, and stark simplicity.
I Found Out

4. Ramones – the Ramones (A+) ‘76
So perfect and pure for lack of trying or talent that it’s zen. Inventing punk as retro no-frills raving turned up to eleven. Classic & immensely important.
Blitzkrieg Bop

5. Pink Flag – Wire (A+) ’77
Another perfect document of creativity through roughshod means. This time a brutally opaque thesis deconstruction of punk structures, tones, topics and rhythms using only the barest and simplest of components.
Ex Lion Tamer

6. Damned Damned Damned – the Damned (A-) ‘77
An interesting British speed-rock detour with solid songwriting.
Neat Neat Neat

7. Singles Going Steady – the Buzzcocks (A-) ‘79
Angsty pop-punk excellence, only their best tracks curated.
Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”, “Lipstick

8. London Calling – the Clash (A+) ‘79
A punk band without rules explores roughly 15 different genres in a mind-blowing masterpiece.
The whole thing

9. Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables – Dead Kennedys (A-) ‘80
Satirical, brutal west coast protest art punk with a sick sense of humor.
Holiday In Cambodia

10. Adolescents – Adolescents (A-) ‘81
Epitome of what most people think of as punk: snotty, formulaic, simple bangers done well.
Kids of the Black Hole

11. Under the Big Black Sun – X (A) ‘82
Mature contrarian beatnik punkabilly pop.
The Hungry Wolf

12. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (B+) ‘83
Lo-fi neurotic folk-punk skiffle.
Kiss Off

13. Double Nickels On the Dime – Minutemen (B+) ‘84
Smart outcast punk with no boundaries. Abstract jazz funk art rock double-length sprawl that’s super listenable.
Viet Nam”, “Corona

14. Pleased To Meet Me – the Replacements (A) ‘87
Punk gains respectability, indie goes major label. Almost guitar rock/hair metal. After this band, the boundaries blurred.
The Ledge

15. Complete Discography – Minor Threat (B+) ‘89
Invention of hardcore, straight edge, established D.C. scene.
Straight Edge”, “Minor Threat

16. No Control – Bad Religion (B+) ‘89
Hyper-literate hardcore with a catchy sound.
Big Bang

17. Nevermind – Nirvana (A+) ‘91
Punk/metal/pop, AKA grunge, AKA the megaselling game-changer.

18. Dookie – Green Day (B+) ‘94
Punk as irreverent friendly stoner jamming. Took its bite, relevance, and development away, but left a fun hit album.
Pulling Teeth

19. The Woods – Sleater-Kinney (A-) ‘05
Riot grrl and punk cross-breeding with indie/hard rock. Still intense, great.

20. Majesty Shredding – Superchunk (A) ‘10
Punk pop lifers settling into seen-it-all midtempo middle age with beauty and grace – the defanged modern state of a once vital genre, although it still has its moments.
Crossed Wires

21. David Comes To Life – Fucked Up (B+) ‘11
A screamo mall punk rock opera epic, released two decades too late.
Queen Of Hearts”, “Under My Nose

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