Three Old School Punk Bands Releasing Politically Charged Music
Some people don’t like their favorite bands to have anything to do with politics but when it comes to punk, challenging authority is par for the course. From The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” to The Smiths’ “Meat is Murder,” punk has provided some of the most thought-provoking, politically charged music ever creative, much of which has stood the test of time.
Today, many artists tread the politically correct line very carefully, either avoiding politics or incorporating it in a way that seems entirely disingenuous (Taylor Swift, looking at you). However, we’re living in a time of huge upheaval and good art tells the truth. With governments cracking down on naysayers and surveillance states becoming the norm, there’s a reason that we use all sorts of security measures just to freely view information, so we need old school punk bands more than ever.
Fortunately, some of the best haven’t stopped writing provocative music. Here are three old school punk bands releasing political music in 2019.
Refused released some of the most significant punk music of the ’90s, influencing just about every punk band since. While they declared themselves dead in 1998, they didn’t permanently disappear, and their 2019 release continues their comeback with proof they haven’t mellowed.
War Music is coming out in October, and Refused have released two songs already: “Rev 001” and “Blood Red.” The former calls for revolution against those making money from the suffering of the masses, with the latter calling for a potentially violent overthrow of capitalism. Whatever you think of capitalism and revolution, their music is powerful and subversive, exactly as punk should be.
Last year, Cursive released one of their best albums ever (and certainly their best of recent vintage), Vitriola. Vitriola was based around the idea that the internet has exposed the voice of humanity to be nothing more than vitriol, how politics goes around in circles, and the pointlessness of it all in the nonsensical nature of existence.
Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve released two follow-up singles, “Barricades” and “Black Hole Town.” The former muses about how a white working class upbringing can perpetuate racism and segregation. The latter is about escaping the anachronicity of small town living. Both present powerful political statements in true Cursive style.
No piece about politics in punk would be complete without talking about Morrissey. While he hasn’t released the best punk music this year – in fact, his only release has been a covers album – he is playing an important role in the political zeitgeist. Unlike most other punk acts, his views are more in line with right-wing politics, which has angered many fans of The Smiths. However, he is as anti-establishment as ever and, as such, brings a voice that should be heard no matter our personal political leanings.
Well… to an extent. Some of his interview rhetoric has bordered on hateful, and no artist should make listeners feel less human just for who they are. But he still believes meat is murder, distrusts the state, and is vehemently anti-war. In other words, he’s as punk as ever, although we’re sure some will disagree.