Life

10 90’s Punk Songs You Should Never Forget

Flipping through my collection of Fat Wreck Chords compilations the other day…

These are the days of streamlined synths, whining about lost love, who loves who more, unrequited love, how love makes you feel, taking a walk, and other simply dull metaphors that couldn’t cut through 11 1/2” college ruled.

That is why some days you just need a little anger along with some fast-paced guitars and anti-social lyrics. Songs about hating your mom and/or dad. Songs about being pissed when things don’t work out – when you burn your hot pocket in the microwave and some talking head is spouting nonsense, nonstop on any of the 10 screens in front of you at any given time. There’s only one genre for that. It has been archived and mostly laid to waste these days, but I want to bring it back even if it’s for only one blog post.

I will leave it up to you to carry the message, add to or take away from the list or just bitch about it.

These are presented in no specific order. Just like kids, no one can have a favorite punk song (notice how a lot of these songs don’t have videos – shame Kickstarter didn’t exist in the 90’s).

1. Lagwagon “Mr. Coffee”

I don’t drink coffee but this song had me seriously reconsidering my position. “On legal speed the American way…”

2. Guttermouth “Derek”

While certainly not their most fun song- I’d leave that up to “Mr. Barbecue” or “1,2,3 Slam or “Lipstick” – this is my favorite song. Straight ahead…”I’m old enough to think / I’m old enough to drink / I won’t ebb with your tide.”

3. NoFX “Don’t Call Me White”

Where to even start with NoFX? Throw a dart and you are likely to be content with any of their tracks. “What’s the explanation for the malice, for the spite? Don’t Call Me White” Mahler’s 6th of punk.

4. Suicide Machines “S.O.S.”

Can ska be punk? Can punk be ska? Who gives a shit? “Destruction by Definition” and “Battle Hymns” are both brilliant albums. I remember seeing this band multiple times when In the Venue was called Bricks and had nothing but a 1-foot concrete high-rise in the back.

5. No Use for a Name “Justified Black Eye”

Shame Tony Sly had to leave us so soon, but No Use certainly left a legacy. This song is at the heart of it.

6. Pennywise “Bro Hymn”

There really are only two Pennywise songs I ever got requests for and one was a cover. The other, a tribute song to their friends who died in a car wreck. No better use of the “whoas” has ever or will be used.

7. The Descendants “I’m the One”

Before Milo went to college they proved punk could be catchy. Could be my favorite song about co-dependency and delusional love. I could be wrong though. Who wants to over analyze? This isn’t NPR.

8. Bad Religion “21st Century Digital Boy”

There was no way I was going to get away with a list like this without including Bad Religion. You can bitch about the song choice, but it was one of the few that broke through. Thankfully as a generation raised on TV we all grew up perfectly adjusted and never felt neglected. Warm and fuzzies all around!

9. Rancid “Roots Radical”

In my opinion, no other song on their 1995 album has the pop this one has. You’ll sing along. You’ll kick something and you’ll want a goddamned leather jacket with a side of liberty spikes.

10. Face to Face “A-OK”

This song drops the bottom out of your stomach. “I don’t know what you want from me, but it’s probably already gone…don’t say I’m okay…I’m not okay.” I don’t think I had ever heard a song that cuts like this. Give up. Not everything is good. Sometimes life sends shit and you just let yourself wash over in empathy and other’s denial.

There are so many more I could have included, but I’ll let you do that. I went through at least 100 songs to those these together. Music from when the Warped Tour actually felt warped and aggressive. The only guy wearing guy-liner was Davy Havok and band names weren’t 20 syllables long.


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