A common misconception about punk music, and one that really gets on my nerves, is that all punk songs are loud, angry, shouty songs that are solely about sticking it to the authorities. Admittedly there are lots of songs in that vein, some fantastic and some not so much, but there are also lots of beautifully written songs. Songs that are lyrically and musically about all sorts of topics including friendship and togetherness, standing up for what you believe in, life in a band, mental health, working through difficult times, growing up and, of course, love. The purpose of this blog is to try and showcase some of the best lyrics on some of these subjects to try and show people it's not all about one subject and also to teach people that there are some amazing lyricists/poets in our punk rock world.
Here are a collection of my favourite lyrics from the world of punk rock that really showcase many of these things.
The Bouncing Souls - Manthem "He's my friend he's my alibi, My accessory to the crime, A bond that will never die, Until the end of time."
Against Me! - T.S.R. (This Shit Rules) "If these are my friends, If this is my home, If this is how I spend my nights, How I communicate, And demonstrate a love of life."
The King Blues - What If Punk Never Happened "There’s a lesson to be learned, one that I will take home, When I return to my normal reality zone, Punk rock has the power to change the world, It lies in every single punk rock boy and girl, So don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worth the earth, These streets are your streets, this turf is your turf, Don’t let anyone tell you that you’ve got to give in, Cos you can make a difference, you can change everything, Just let your dreams be your pilot, your imagination your fuel, Tear up the book and write your own damn rules, Use all that heart, hope and soul that you’ve got, And the love and the rage that you feel in your gut, And realise that the other world that you’re always looking for, Lies right here in front of us, just outside this door, And it’s up to you to go out there and paint the canvas, After all, you were put on the earth to do this, So shine your light so bright that all can see, Take pride in being whoever the fuck you want to be, Throw your fist in the air in solidarity, And shout “Viva la punk, just one life, anarchy”.
Frank Turner - Four Simple Words "Hi ho hi ho hi ho, we're heading out to the punk rock show. Colleagues and friends condescend with a smile, But this is my culture man, this is my home. The dark huddled masses gather at the gate, The doors at 7, the show starts at 8. A few precious hours in a space of our own, And when the band comes on, the only thing I really know:"
Apologies, I Have None - Concrete Feet "You'll always make mistakes, You'll always fuck shit up, You'll sometimes make bad choices, And blame that shit on bad luck, You will often face decisions, That you do not want to make, And find yourself on paths that, You did not mean to take, There is always an answer, There is always a lesson, A lining of silver about every situation, And asking for help is not the same thing as failing."
Iron Chic - Timecop "Remember the pain of growing up?, It may have hurt but it sure was fun, It made us who we are now, It gave us a mystery to figure out."
The Smith Street Band - When I Was A Boy I Thought I Was A Fish "And I'd like to thank the things I've seen, the friends that I've made, All the people that have hurt me, the times that I've been saved and to music, Which has made me its most obliging slave. There's blood on this guitar, there's sweat between these keys, When I step forward to the mic it’s with my tail between my knees, But we aren't here to fight, we are here to dance."
Wil Wagner - Songs About Why I Suck "I Sing These Songs Out Of Fury And Fear, And I Sing These Songs Because Without Them I Wouldn't Be Here."
Red City Radio - Two Out Of Three Ain't Rad "I know that it's hard to stay positive, But remember love will cover all, For you and me, The human race, All for one and one for all, Hand in hand, Side by side, If we stick together, There's nothing we can't resolve, It's time for us as people to evolve."
Jeff Rosenstock - You, In Weird Cities "But when I listen to your records, I don’t need to look at pictures, It’s like I’m hanging out with you in weird cities, Getting lost, and pretending, That we’ll never go back, We’ll never go back."
Off With Their Heads - Nightlife "Don’t wanna be like this, anxious and angry or hopeless and upset- all the time. Unable to get back the feeling I lost somewhere along the line. I wear it all on my sleeve and everyone sees no matter how hard I try. I’ve never felt worse in my whole life."
RVIVR - Change On Me "As time it speeds and slows, Life surrounds you, You fear you’ve lost control, As death surrounds you, How does it end?, I think you already know, We gotta grow, We gotta go,"
Here is probably just a tiniest of percentages of some of the amazing lyrics that you will find in punk music. A genre of music packed with the best songwriters on the planet. The most common theme in punk lyrics isn't politics or fighting the man; it's honesty. All of the best songs in punk rock music are filled to the brim with honest, heartfelt lyrics.