Essays on the importance of punk rock

Rock music is a group of related music styles that have dominated popular music in the West since Each of these major genres encompasses a variety of sub-styles, such as heavy metal, punk, alternative, and grunge. While innovations in rock music have often occurred in regional centers—such as New York, Kingston, and Liverpool—the influence if rock music is now felt worldwide.

Essays on the importance of punk rock

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Punk Rock, Authenticity and Cultural Capital. PDF version After years of alternately being declared either dead, irrelevant, or simply too outrageous to be accepted into the fabric of American culture, and almost thirty years after it first reared it's mohawk'd head in public, the musical genre known as "punk rock" has finally been accepted as part of mainstream American culture.

This is, unfortunately, not the result of changing musical tastes or a growing acceptance of subversive subcultures on the part of the American audience, but rather, is due to a single factor loathed by most participants in the wide and diverse variety of insular punk communities, the increasing ubiquity of the music itself in television commercials.

While using popular music identified with the counter-culture in advertising is nothing new the controversial use of the Essays on the importance of punk rock "Revolution" in Nike commercials is a notorious examplestill the use of a genre as universally identified as being against the values and political identity of mainstream America is a new, and some would say, a disturbing trend.

The use of songs by punk stalwarts such as the Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Black Flag and The Minutemen, bands who were closely associated with the DIY movement literally "Do It Yourself"- a term applied to the creation of production and distribution networks within the community and outside the influence of major labels and distributorsas well as "alternative" bands such as The Cult and The Smiths, and even the use of club and dance identified music by Air, Dimitri from Paris and others, could be seen as simply the inevitable commodification of subcultures by the mainstream.

But, perhaps there are more positive connotations to this phenomenon to examine. In this essay I will discuss the most recent co-opting of underground music and analyze the negative, and surprisingly positive, implications of "punk rock" advertisements.

Punk Rock and Style In recent years, there has been a renewed academic interest in the cultural implications of punk rock as a social movement. Most authors take Dick Hebdige's seminal work Subculture: The Meaning of Style as their template for examinations of punk rock. According to Hebdige, musical-based subcultures in general, and punk in particular, are engaged in a constant struggle for identity with mainstream culture where meaning is constantly negotiated and renegotiated.

Subcultures such as punk try and create an identity set in resistance to the dominant culture and the dominant culture in turn tries to reintegrate the aberrant subculture, or at least place it within the dominant framework of meanings. As Hebdige notes, British punk in particular adopted symbols and forms of musical expression from other outcast cultures such as the reggae music of Rastifarians and the suspenders and boots of post-World War II working class culture and synthesized it into something uniquely their own.

At the same time this process is taking place, the dominant culture tries to make sense of subcultures though various means, including news reports and articles in the mainstream mass media that identify the new subculture within a historical context, and by taking aspects of the culture such as fashion and commodifing them.

An example of this was the "safety-pin chic" promoted by designers such as Betsy Johnson. According to Hebdige, commodification is the inevitable end result of this process of negotiation. Safety pins, leather jackets and ripped jeans are taken out of the context of rebellion and translated into runway fashion, selling for thousands of dollars at ritzy boutiques.

The most recent works of scholarship that analyze punk rock as a subculture, most notably the volume edited by Roger Sabin Punk Rock; So What?

In an article by Frank Cartledge, "Distress to Impress: Local Punk Fashion and Commodity Exchange," punk rock can not be seen so much as a resistance to mainstream culture, but as a sort of virus whose "success" can be measured in terms of "introducing new forms of dress and behavior.

I believe that while Cartledge's view is much more realistic and optimistic than the usual dissections of punk's legacy, it fails to break with the usual British cultural studies' identification of punk rock as a uniquely British phenomenon based on British class structure.

While it certainly is true that the British version of punk rock was intimately based along class lines, this simplistic version fails not only to recognize that punk rock is primarily an American creation, but also is distinctly American in its relationships with both taste and the generation of cultural capital.

Even a cursory look at the formations of punk, as demonstrated by recent works such as Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me, and Clinton Heylin's From the Velvets to the Voidoids, reveals that the origins of punk rock clearly lie not only in the late 's aggressive rock of the Stooges and the MC5, but also in the self-consciously artistic Velvet Underground, who's alliance with Andy Warhol and debt to Delmore Schwartz and Lamonte Young reveals punk rock to be a creation of the well-educated and art-school trained upper classes.

Thus, the American version of punk rock can be seen not simply as a reaction against the decaying economic system of Great Britain, but also as a self-conscious pose to identify one as outside the mainstream of "normal'" rock and roll.

As punk pioneer and well regarded poet and novelist Richard Hell famously said, "punk made it possible to completely reinvent yourself. Stuart Ewen noted in his book All Consuming Images that punk itself became a form of conspicuous consumption, one where those who chose to identify themselves as punk could adapt mainstream commodities to create a sense of identity not based on the British punk "uniform" but by using at least during the early days disparate styles to self-identify as punk.

The baggy overcoats of Pere Ubu were as punk as the leather jackets of The Ramones, and as punk as the flightsuits and goggles of Devo. However, this applied not merely to fashion, which was one of, but not the most important signifier of punk.

Punk rock essay

In fact, the most important signifier of American punk rock was also the most ephemeral of all concepts, taste. In America, taste, or liking the correct bands in the punk canon, became the dominant signifier of punk rock.Now, these "Punk Rock and Rollers" who walk the streets in packs and are die-hard music fans rule the only stereotype that you have to fill an application out to join.

That's right folks, they will decide for you on who you are and whether or not you actually listen to the music of Punk Rock.


The focus of this paper is on punk rock and it’s ample beginnings, early pioneers of the new sound, punk rock listener’s cultural background and their ideas as a whole, bands influenced by the punk rock movement, and the state of punk rock today.

Having so much creativity freedom, the Punk Rock bands go on musically reinventing the genre. From the Misfits to Saves the Day, the genre provides its listeners with a great variety of lyrical and musical styles.

Essays on the importance of punk rock

Being divided into many sub-genres (ska, emo, pop punk, hardcore) Punk Rock has something to give to each taste. There are literally millions of types of music out there: Rock, Rap, Pop, EMO, Hard-core, Ska, Latin, Classical.

The list goes on and on.

Essays on the importance of punk rock

But one form of music has had one of the most significant histories of them all: Punk rock. A look into the history of this type of music will help us understand why punk rock sounds and feels the way it does.

Punk rock music stems from the rock genre but has its own agenda. The crux of punk rock is that it is a movement of the counterculture against the norms of society.

Punk rock in . > Free Essays > Punk Rock Artists. Punk Rock Artists. The media’s impression of punk rock culture lacks a more complete understanding of the purpose of punk rock artists and their music. Punk rock is made up of a distinct type of music. According to the article “Industrial Subculture- The Mutated Child of Punk”, the media believes punk.

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