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Old 07-16-2005, 04:07 PM   #16
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Most Green Day doesn't even sound like punk these days, let alone act like it, but when they did those two songs and I watched the video, it came across as punk, not just stylish posturing, that's all I'm saying. I had to see what they acted like live to get that sense. I'm not really a Green Day fan, I just feel that if you could separate those songs and a few of their other recent ones (NOT "Boulevard of the Soccer Mom Power Ballads" obviously) from their context as hit songs, and imagine them with grittier production, they serve the exact same purpose as any punk served in the late '70s. and maybe they're calculated pandering but that's impossible to judge. I'm not an expert on what is or isn't punk, but this my rationale:

1. punk=defined by rebellion. a supposedly anticapitalist band such as Pink Floyd can sign to a major label and maybe be seen as hypocritical on a personal level for doing that, but the purpose of their message is not just rebellion, they attempt to be a bit deeper (not saying they actually are), so it doesnt completely invalidate what they are doing. this is why Rage Against the Machine sort of runs into credibility problems, as a band with the punk style approach but on a major label.

2. that kind of brutally honest approach seems faked if coming from bands like Green Day or RATM, just due to their position in the establishment. so technically you cant be punk if you join the establishment. it's simply the opposite thing.

3. BUT, these days there is absolutely no opportunity to get music heard by the non-musically-aware age range punk can actually have a big influence on, without joining the establishment in some way, whether that's being distributed by a major, doing a commercial, some shit like that. and regardless of if people think they were bandwagon jumpers, or if they sucked, no one says the Sex Pistols were not punk. the Sex Pistols were on a major label.

Don't get me wrong, I would be glad if no one ever talked about Green Day again. They are one of the most overexposed bands in memory and what they do is . Calling "American Idiot" a punk song is kind of like calling Interpol albums post punk. They are both latching on to previous movements and feel too late and too retro to fully convince you, but they update. obviously punk is more of a sensitive category for its fans than post punk, but if you look at the way Green Day has been able to get people across America to listen to a hard rocking (albeit super-overproduced + guitar solo) song which says "maybe I'm the faggot america," I consider that a punk act.

So, is Green Day a punk band? Yes. They write power ballads, but they also write punk songs, the way Interpol writes post-punk songs. In the case of Interpol this means taking a retro sound and mood and writing songs that update it. In the case of Green Day this means taking a retro sound and subject matter and writing songs that update it.

Are they "punk" as an adjective? The way everyone ranging from Bjork to even possibly U2 could have been described at one point in their career or another for doing something daring and fucked up and rebellious? Hardly hardly ever.

My favorite punk song lately is the Adverts' "Great British Mistake." But I dont really listen to punk much so maybe I should shut up with the generalizations.
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Old 07-16-2005, 06:36 PM   #17
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The problem with the major label argument is that both the Pistols and the Clash were on major labels. There exists arguments to deny whether either band was a punk group or not, but I would label them as punk; like all musical movements, punk is reactionary, and both bands were to some extent reactions to the crappy 70s rock dominating the airwaves at the
time.

Defining punk's existence today is difficult because it's been impossible to pigeonhole it, either in terms of music, aesthetic or ideals. It's a conundrum that has existed since the seventies; what makes, for instance, Talking Heads slightly more credibly 'punky' when they're from the same scene as Blondie? Do we consider the new wave movement part of or an extension of the punk movement? I don't think there are terrifically clear answers.

So does punk exist today? It does, but it depends on your definition. You could lump the entire post-rock movement and call it punk because it seems to react against the sounds of regular rock radio (although this is a little far out as an argument). You could call the Libertines punk on account that they have the musical hallmarks of say, the Clash. You could call any of the small German groups you find on most 'punk' compilations punk, because they're on small, unknown, obscure labels. Are the Manic Street Preachers punk because they're vaguely socialist and use a lot of left-wing slogans in their artwork and lyrics?
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Old 07-16-2005, 08:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by yertle-the-turtle
The problem with the major label argument is that both the Pistols and the Clash were on major labels. There exists arguments to deny whether either band was a punk group or not, but I would label them as punk; like all musical movements, punk is reactionary, and both bands were to some extent reactions to the crappy 70s rock dominating the airwaves at the
time.

Defining punk's existence today is difficult because it's been impossible to pigeonhole it, either in terms of music, aesthetic or ideals. It's a conundrum that has existed since the seventies; what makes, for instance, Talking Heads slightly more credibly 'punky' when they're from the same scene as Blondie? Do we consider the new wave movement part of or an extension of the punk movement? I don't think there are terrifically clear answers.

So does punk exist today? It does, but it depends on your definition. You could lump the entire post-rock movement and call it punk because it seems to react against the sounds of regular rock radio (although this is a little far out as an argument). You could call the Libertines punk on account that they have the musical hallmarks of say, the Clash. You could call any of the small German groups you find on most 'punk' compilations punk, because they're on small, unknown, obscure labels. Are the Manic Street Preachers punk because they're vaguely socialist and use a lot of left-wing slogans in their artwork and lyrics?
Luckily Yertle is not as lazy as myself and took the time to write this out. Great post
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Old 07-16-2005, 10:00 PM   #19
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Yes, even the Clash. But that doesn't mean that they were any less punk. Besides, there are still plenty of underground bands with a "punk" mentality... but I don't have any qualms with bands on major labels, as long as the quality of the music doesn't change.
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