Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Punk classics that will keep you fired up through the Black Lives Matter protests
Music lovers, we hope you're staying safe and sound as the world continues to face a global health crisis. The ongoing protests across the nation have also led to the phrase, 'Black Lives Matter' reverberating off every wall. In what is a clear indictment of the brusquely manner in which the government has handled both these grave issues, people all over the country are making impassioned calls for social reforms and lasting change.
It's both invigorating and inspiring to see a shift in the now-vocal American public. There's a scent of revolution in the air, and keeping up with this year of change, we've curated some time-honored punk rock classics that will keep you fired-up, dogged and spirited mood all month long.
Killing Joke: 'Love Like Blood'
The English post-punk band Killing Joke, well-known for their use of gothic motifs and dark humor, often used musical and visual shock tactics to generate a visceral reaction in their audiences. 'Love Like Blood' remains one of their greatest hits from 1985, with powerful lyrics serving as a reminder that revolution can only come if we're willing to embrace it. Retrospectively reviewed as "relentlessly catchy" and "anthemic", the track emphasized lead vocalist Jaz Coleman's increasingly melodic vocals. The song explained how change can only transpire when you realize that time is of the essence. "We must play our lives like soldiers in the field / The life is short, I'm running faster all the time / 'Til the fearless come and the act is done / A love like blood, a love like blood."
Dead Kennedys: 'California Über Alles'
A revolutionary on the hardcore punk scene, the Dead Kennedys, who named themselves after the death of the American Dream, broke records with their political songs. Their satirical lyrics pointed fingers at government leaders and cut them down to size with their catchy, anti-establishment anthems. 'California Über Alles' was one such masterpiece, released as the band's first single in 1979, with the title alluding to the first line from the German national anthem – "Deutschland über alles" meaning "Germany above everything". The Dead Kennedys used the song as a hilarious take on California Governor Jerry Brown's dystopian vision of America. "Zen fascists will control you / Hundred percent natural / You will jog for the master race / And always wear the happy face."
Discharge: 'Protest And Survive'
The British hardcore punk stalwarts Discharge were a seminal band for a number of reasons, often cited as the inspiration for metal bands like Napalm Death and Sepultura, among other modern-day music icons. They even had a subgenre of music named after them, D-beat, which was characterized for its "grinding, distorted and brutally political" sound. 'Protest And Survive' was a classic number off their debut 1982 album, 'Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing', which revolutionized the punk scene. The song's title is a direct reference to the British government's Cold War leaflet of the same name, and the minimalist lyrics pull no punches. "The savage mutilation of the human race / Is set on course / It is up to us to change that course / Protest and survive!"
Scream: 'Fight/American Justice'
An extremely underrated American hardcore punk band, Scream, was first formed in 1981 in Washington DC. Along with revered acts such as 'Minor Threat' and 'Government Issue', Scream were known for their frenetic music, socio-political themes, and outright disgust with vapid commercialism found in modern-day capitalist society. 'Fight/American Justice' is a stellar track from 1982 that throws light over the nation's broken judicial system. "If you got no money then you're just out of luck / 'Cause the lawyers and legal aid, they just don't give a f*** / That's why the jails are full of the poor and black / And once they get out, you know they end up just going back."
Sonic Youth: 'Youth Against Fascism'
Modern-day post-punk icons Sonic Youth were renowned for their unorthodox use of instruments and highly original song arrangements, often deliberately doing away with conventional melodies. Released in 1992, 'Youth Against Fascism' was a rousing call to arms, condemning what the band saw as various forms of discrimination prevalent in the United States at the time, from the Ku Klux Klan (a white supremacist hate group) to neo-Nazi skinhead punks. Their powerful lyrics are still relevant today. "We're banging pots and pans / To make you understand / We gonna bury you man / It's the song I hate, it's the song I hate."
Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained while ensuring you're staying home longer. Watch out for a fresh selection of tracks from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!