Everyone needs to stop writing about punk rock like they’re the only fucking people in the room

That headline was too long. Who cares?

Last week, Rolling Stone wrote a list of the 40 “greatest” punk rock albums ever produced, and predictably it made people who probably think punk rock “died” in 1978 Very Upset. (Damn guy, I love THE DAMNED as much as the next kid but you can make your point that the list was too scattershot and unrepresentative without referring specifically to THE DAMNED like eight fucking times… anyway.)

The list, to be honest, contains questionable choices. It’s a list consisting of individual opinions and as such was never going to be truly representative of nearly 50 years of musical history (yeah fuckers, I said 50 years, I maintain that punk started well before the art kids got to it in the 70s), but there are some interesting additions — like CRASS, Penis Envy — and some surefire shoe-ins, like X-RAY SPEX. I don’t know why FUGAZI or JOY DIVISION are also on the list, but I guess it makes sense if you like including sad music on your list of predominantly angry music. Okay really it reads like some old dudes got together with their iTunes purchase histories and swapped notes about what they thought was the “best.”

And like, I get it. I do. Since dropping out of my local punk scene due to some personal shit and the heightened sense of anxiety that came attendant with that, my grasp on what punk was, is and will be is also similarly skewed. I mean for christ sakes I just wrote a defense of BABYMETAL. But there is a difference: I’M NOT FUCKING BEING PAID TO SPOUT MY INCREASINGLY IRRELEVANT OPINIONS ABOUT A GENRE OF MUSIC.

I’m not the only person in the room when it comes to punk and hardcore. I don’t hold any special authoritative knowledge, due to my age, geographical location and listening habits. I don’t believe anyone holds — or should hold — that kind of knowledge about punk and hardcore, because they’re constantly shifting genres of music whose tenets aren’t bound in stone; hardcore and punk are radically different in different parts of the world and they become different over time, and what you’re going to get in Japan is not like what you’ll get in Uruguay or Argentina is not like what you’ll get in India.

When these lists and the indignant “THAT’S NOT PUNK AND I’M TELLING EVERYONE” posts that follow get published, it keeps the wheel of bullshit spinning. Honestly, I don’t really give two shits when THE RAMONES became a band because I’d like to listen to DEATH or FUN PEOPLE instead. There is more to punk than THE CLASH, THE SEX PISTOLS, TELEVISION, or a dozen other US and British bands. A lot of it is even pretty good — past, present and future..

Also none of CHUMBAWAMBA’s albums were on this useless list, and that’s a fucking tragedy.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Trevor Hultner’s story.