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Ah, punk rock. You just can't beat it, can you?
This page is just about the music. Punks themselves are covered elsewhere on TV Tropes.
God, where to begin? Well, first, the music itself. Punk rock is characterised by fast, hard-edged music, typically with short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. In short: if you want to be a rocker, and have strong political views but little technical skill, it's the genre to go for. That's not an insult towards punk, of course: it's just, people usually won't care. Punks do not care if they are untalented; they do it anyway. Were Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious good musicians? No. But they still played, and that was because they were punks. They didn't give a fuck about what other people thought of them, and that's a view many other punks share.
Ahem. Punk bands tended to eschew the
perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They also embraced a DIY aesthetic, with many bands self-producing their recordings and distributing them through informal channels.
It all started in the mid-seventies with punk scenes growing in the US, thanks to The Ramones, and the UK, thanks to the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks, and The Clash. The Sex Pistols, in particular, were highly influential, even though they weren't that talented a band (not that this matters, because they're punk). They (Sex Pistols) caused quite a fair bit of controversy on several notes: swearing during a live TV interview; releasing an anti-monarchy song named "God Save the Queen" for the Queen's silver jubilee; being called "the Sex Pistols". This controversy also resulted in the punk scene exploding into success, causing the creation of the punk subculture and, by extension, the emo and goth subcultures, too.
By the early-eighties, standard punk rock started to get replaced by harder, faster and more aggressive styles, in particular Hardcore Punk. Post Punk, a less aggressive style that focused on more complex and experimental music, also evolved out of this initial punk explosion. This gave way to Goth Rock bands such as Joy Division and The Cure, as well as New Wave bands like Blondie and Talking Heads. These genres incorporated elements from other genres such as Jamaican dub and Kraut Rock. Other notable(?) subgenres of punk include Emo and Pop Punk.
In addition, there is the subgenre of Oi!/street punk; nominally apolitical and the self-proclaimed music of the working class. Popular among punks and skins of all races and political stripes, the genre was formed in reaction to the percieved invasion of the punk scene by college hipsters and corporate fat cats. Famous bands include: the Cockney Rejects, the Oppressed, Angelic Upstarts, Cocksparrer, Iron Cross, and many others. Special note: there are a small number of fascist/white power affiliated groups who emulate the Oi! style. They are currently locked in a decades long battle with SHARP and redskins, as well as AFA affiliated punks. In summation, most connected to the Oi scene are not racist, and to label them as such is a good way to get a boot to the head.
Also see Useful Notes on Punk
Sub-genres of Punk:
- Hardcore Punk
- Street Punk
- Pop Punk
- Post Punk
- Punk Rap
- Riot Grrrl
- Ska Punk
- Straight Edge