Punk rock has come a long way from it’s origins in the 1970′s. Initially consisting of short and relentless guitar, drum, bass, and vocal attacks, it has now become a relatively common form of music. Songs have been extended from the original 1-2 minute format, and are now the same length as most songs. Elements of pop and metal have been incorporated, namely in the structure of the song and the instruments used and vocal style. But with this comes a lot of music. And a lot of it, quite frankly, isn’t that good. As an outsider looking in, it can be quite frightening. This is my guide to modern punk, and the albums you should listen to.
5. A Shipwreck in the Sand by Silverstein
Silverestein’s 2009 album A Shipwreck in the Sand is a triumph. Consisting of heavy songs that combine clean vocals with death roars, Silverstein crafts a masterful punk album. With topics ranging from politics (We Are Not The World) to love (I Am The Arsonist) the band uses instruments, lyrics, and vocal style to convey their message. the album has both heavy songs and quieter, more toned down songs. It’s an excellent album for all listeners, and is an extremely pleasing listen. It also gives a view into the punk scene, and is, overall, a great album.
4. Transit of Venus by Three Days Grace
While this is in no way their best album, it is their most recent and therefore reflects their current musical style most accurately. While it isn’t as heavy as, say, Silverstein, it can get pretty heavy. Many of the songs are more toned down, which is good for new listeners who may not be as into the heavy stuff. The material is mostly about love, but the songs do have some political mindedness and can be interpreted as a social commentary about the issues in our world. The stark contrast between songs like Happiness and Give Me A Reason is great, as it offers a view of all ends of the punk rock spectrum. A must listen for beginners.
3. The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
A concept album about cancer, and as a by product, life, The Black Parade is not only one of the best punk albums ever, but one of the best albums of the past twelve years. Using an excellent musical and vocal style, My Chemical Romance creates a dark mood throughout the album. The guitar work is excellent throughout, as is the rhythm section. Lyrically, this is a great album. My Chemical Romance can write great songs about issues that many of us have. Songs like “Teenagers” and ”I Don’t Love You” demonstrate this perfectly. Again, this isn’t the heaviest of punk albums, but it’s an excellent jumping off point for beginners. This is one of the genre’s definitive albums.
2. Homesick by A Day To Remember
I could have chosen any of A Day To Remember’s excellent albums for this slot, actually. It just so happens that this is my personal favorite. This album is an excellent demonstration of the heavier side of punk. While not quite as heavy as Silverstein, Homesick sees A Day To Remember mixing clean vocals with death roars, heavy guitar riffs with acoustic guitars. It’s excellent. It’s also great lyrically, for many of the same reasons that The Black Parade is. A Day To Remember writes awesome songs that listeners can connect to on a personal level, songs about feeling alone and songs about friends. It’s a great album, ranging from extremely heavy songs like “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” to the excellent acoustic closer, “If It Means A Lot To You.” A great album.
1. American Idiot by Green Day
Green Day’s 2004 concept album is the definitive modern punk album. It remains fairly true to the original punk format, with Clash-worthy guitar riffs on songs like “American Idiot” and “Holiday”. The entire album is about politics in America, as well as life there. Green Day writes their songs masterfully, using killer analogies to get this across. The album sets out to make a point, and that it does. The album has some extremely well known songs, like “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. But it’s the songs that aren’t as well known, like “Give Me Novocaine” and “Homecoming” that make this album great. Every song plays a key part in the album, and every song is awesome, both musically and lyrically. Even for those not into punk, this album is an absolute must listen.
So there they are. Five albums anyone wanting to get into the modern version of punk rock should listen to. All of them are awesome, and listening to them over the past two days of making this list made me remember why they’re all must listens.