November 12, 2018

BY LEAH MORROW
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“A guy walks up to me and asks, ‘What’s punk?’ So I kick over a garbage can and say, ‘that’s punk!’ So he kicks over a garbage can and asks, ‘That’s punk?’ and I say, ‘No, that’s trendy,’ said Green Day’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong.

Armstrong was once quoted as saying that the concept of punk has always been about doing your own thing, a sense of ultimate freedom and individuality. He said punk is a lifestyle, not a popularity contest.

It seems like music today has lost all sense of individuality; every band wants to be the next someone else. It breaks my heart to hear people cheer on a band like 5 Seconds of Summer, who have zero sense of individuality, and yet not even know who the Sex Pistols are.

The Sex Pistols formed in London, England in 1975, though their time together was short – just two and a half years – and they only released four singles and one studio album (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols). However, in that short time they created a movement in the United Kingdom bringing punk rock to the forefront of the music world.

The Pistols stood for something, they spoke out against conformity with songs like God Save the Queen and Anarchy in the U.K.

I mean, come on, the most hardcore song that 5 Seconds of Summer sings about is them eating pizza.

“We are not a political band,” said Armstrong in a YouTube video. “We do not want to tell people what to do or what to think. We just want to tell them to think.”

Everything on the radio sounds the same. I haven’t heard a single song that has really resonated with me or made me think.

Bands like Hedley, who when they first released their self-titled album in 2006, had a very original sound, now seem to have sold out with the latest release of their album Hello.

This is taking place while bands with great talent and potential play cooped up inside garages. I cannot listen to house music or auto-tuned garbage. All I want is to listen to a band with members who play their own instruments and sound as great live as they do on their album. From where I stand, this is becoming a rarity.

I never quite intended this to be a love letter to punk music or the punk lifestyle but that’s what it is turning into. We need to bring back real bands, like the Clash and the Ramones, and fewer like One Direction.

I have a single hope for 2016 and that is that Green Day will release a new album. After a four-year hiatus it would be a dream come true. I have no problems with their albums Warning and Nimrod playing on repeat in my car but, I would most likely pass out if I heard they were releasing a new album.

“What annoys the hell out of me is the arrogance of some people,” said Armstrong during an interview. “They don’t even listen to our music, they decided in advance that they don’t like it.”

In a society where trends change in the blink of an eye, it’s hard to get people to really stop and listen. I’m not trying to say punk is the only music to listen to, it’s not. What I am trying to say is, in a world full of Justin Biebers, do not be afraid to be a Johnny Rotten or Tommy Ramone.

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