Punk Rock, from proto to pop

Punk Ideology

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"Punk is the personal expression of uniqueness that comes from the experiences of growing up in touch with our human ability to reason and ask questions" - Greg Graffin (vocalist, songwritter of Bad Religion)

The later half of the 1970s is where the birth of the punk ideology can be traced to and it remains to the present. Leftist political views, Individualism, anti-authoritarianism, free thought, and humand/animal ethics are concepts which the punk philosphy often follows. This is not to say that all of the punk community believe in all of any of these aspects, it should also not be assumed that these are the only aspects which the punk philosophy deals with. Song examples of the above concepts are easy to find in any real punk band, yet strangely absent in the current wave of pop-punk bands. The following is a song under some of the main aspects of punk with a brief analysis.
 
The Decline of human Kind
NOFX's The Decline from the EP The Decline
This song is often regarded as one of punk rock's finest accomplishments. It combines a stark view of the worl with fierce energy and lyrical genius to get it's message across. The Human Race is going nowhere. Metaphor is a common technique used by the writter "Fat Mike" to get this message across. The NRA, conservative christians and capitalism alike all recieve a heavy lyrical barrage in this 18 minute punk rock epic.
 
Government
Dead Kennedys' California Über Alles from the LP Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegtables
This song is targeted at the then Govener of California Jerry Brown and his right wing agenda. The writter Jello Biafra expresses his discontent using straightforward language, satire and changing persona's between himself and Jerry Brown ("I am govener Jerry Brown, My aura smile and never frowns") to let the public know his views on the matter. Mr. Brown was also close to become president and this is expressed in the song, with much anger and hatred shown by Jello and his band.
 
Conformity
Bad Religion's Against the Grain from the LP Against the Grain
A very straightforward song about how the writter Greg Graffin is going (as they say) against the grain. He talks about how he cares about society and the state of the world, making him a non-conformist. Also, he is known as being of the most 'true to form' punks on the planet, which is referred to, further boosting his non-conformist reputation.
 
Conspiracy Theories
Dead Kennedys' Kinky Sex Makes the World Go 'round from the LP Give me Convenience of Give me Death
This song is staged as a phone conversation between someone high up in the US state dept. (which is actually Jello Biafra). The song is simply a rant about how the conspiracy theories are true. The song is straightforward and relies on humour often to get the message across. This song pokes fun at both the left and right wing, as well as the far out conspiracy theorists who ideas are too far fetched to even be considered believable.
 
Racism
Minor Threat's Guilty of Being White from the album Complete Discography
This song talks about the negative conatations 'white' has, being re-known as a racist people the white americans were at the time. The song has very few lyrics, so the message is spoken (or yelled) with out pleasantries such as metaphor or similie. The straightforward, simple language used may be to appeal to a wider audience of may be due to the fact that lyricist Ian MacKay wasn't the most intelligable of people, regardless of why, the song struck a chord with the racially aware people of the time and was a success.
 
Animal Rights
Frenzal Rhomb's Guns Don't Kill Duckings (Ducklings Kill Ducklings) from the album Meet the Family
Written by friend of the band "Fox Trotsky", this song was clearly written with Frenzal Rhomb's vegan and vegetarian views in mind. The song is being satirical of the hunters in America who claimed that "If we don't kill the animals, they'll over-populate and there won't be enough food for them" i.e. "Guns dont kill <animals>, <animals> kill <animals>" in this case; Ducklings. The song also promotes the view that the hunters are unintelligent, insecure and need something to prove their manhood, and what better than a gun?
 
Religion
Bad Religion's American Jesus from the album Recipe for Rate
This song centers around the idea of the role religion plays in the majority of American's lives, Christianity in particular. It talks of the fact that the majority of people questionlessly obey the dogam of Christianity without ever thinking for themselves, or so the band claim. Also talked about is how the country claims to be "One nation, under God" and how the abdn believe it to be idiotic to have a a country being ruled by the church. The seperation of church and state is a common theme for the bands religion based songs.
 
Media
Dead Kennedys' MTV Get off the Air! from the LP Frankenchrist
The band were known for their anti-MTV stance before this song, yet this song cleared up any question of their reasons. They say that MTV is the next commerical radio (which had, and still has to the punk community, very negative conatations) only worse. They are sceptical about MTVs claim to have created "rock video" and were "pioneers" to which Jello replies with "You've got a lotta nerve to call yourself a pioneer when you're to god damn conservative to take real chances". Persona switching and violent lyrics are the main techniques used for the band in this case.
 
Direct Action
Anti-Flag's One People, One Struggle from the album The Terror State
This pro-direct action song by Punk rockers Anti-Flag is a prime example of the bands style and political views. Their leftist ideals shine through as they say "One People, One Struggle, Stay United, Stay Peaceful". A clearly pacifist view which the band often represent. Other lyrics tell the people to stand up for their rights and not let the government tell them what to do. Rhyme is a heavily used technique in this politicaly driven piece of punk rock.