Is Punk Rock Dead?

Is one of the most razor-sharp and unifying musical genre's on its last legs?

Is Punk Rock Dead?

Is punk dead?

Has punk changed its face a million times? Has its ethos and independent spark fizzled out? Well with pop music ruling the scene, it could now be a dead genre. Of course, we don’t want its sound to dissipate, or its character thrown to the wolves, we want punk to thrive and become great again.

Back in the 70s and early 80s, punk was driven like a nail into the establishment. The people who listened to it were courageous, battle hard rebels who wanted the world to be a place of equality and justice. They wanted hope to be in place and their dreams to be taken into account.

Punk was worshiped and it grew beyond the tiny venues. It became such a colossal movement, with people coming together in unison and placing their middle fingers up at the hierarchy and the institution. People ached for peace and energy, glory and love.

Now, we fear the punk flame is being extinguished bit by bit. It may be kept intact with some of the modern punk bands which are trying to spearhead a revolution. But it is cascading like a snowstorm, drastically dying and losing its beating heart.

This is only an opinion. It may be that punk music can deter the decline. It may flourish and grow a new face. Bands like Rise Against and Rancid have programmed punk sounds into their songs, they’ve adapted and have gloriously tried to kick-start and reboot the genre.

And there have been many acts which have altered their sounds over the years. Acts such as Green Day and The Offspring, who put out punk albums Dookie and Smash. Nowadays they’ve expanded and have gone into creating softer, less harsh numbers. It’s not to say it’s a bad thing, these bands want to evolve.

Pop punk has garnered a massive fan base as well as the emo movement. Those scenes have become a revelation, opening opportunities for many musicians. My Chemical Romance took the emo genre to glittering and dizzy heights, bringing forward their tour de force in the shape of The Black Parade. And Blink 182 did something similar with pop punk by releasing Take Off Your Pants And Jacket and other albums such as Enema Of The State.

Punk rock is a lifestyle, a battered medium but carried on, but is it becoming loveless? Is pop sucking the life out of it? We all know punk doesn’t make artists money, pop rules the sector. It can take years for a punk band to make it, but if you’re a pop star, you’re destined to hit big stages and earn a substantial crust.

This is the world we live in. Trends empower people, music has changed; like war, it has changed. But thankfully, there are many DIY bands out there making credible music, sounds which are fast paced and lively, created with blood and guts, not machines. As well as creating sounds, the lyrical content sparks conversation and imagination. We need more raw acts, we need more talented individuals who can gear their guitars to the sky, playing them with energy and intricacy.

Punk carries hope and it blends into the fabric of life. People still adorn the jackets and the style, they embrace the lifestyle. With brash punk on its knees, these sub genres could place it back onto its feet and pump clean blood into its veins. We need punk rock, we need its bratty angst and bloody nose. It’s legendary and it’s a natural medication for many people who suffer from mental torture and who are estranged.

Mark McConville
Mark McConville
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Mark McConville

Mark McConville is a freelance music journalist from Scotland. He has written extensively about music for online and print publications. He has also been published in a short story anthology. 

See all posts by Mark McConville