348: Punkness

LOL those readers.  Those guys are so silly, eh?  Eh?  So yesterday I mentioned how a lot of people's opinions on Green Day, and punk in general, seemed to be pretty exclusive.  Either a band or person "was punk," or they clearly "weren't", suggesting that there couldn't be varying degrees of punkness.  This is an idea that I really disagree with, personally.  And the reason that I disagree with it is because "punk" is an identity, attitude, and lifestyle that incorporates MANY different ideals.  Most people who call themselves punks share some of these ideals, but all of them have their own unique takes on them.  Their own specific opinions, their own mix of beliefs, their own unique identity.  No two punk bands and no two punk people are exactly the same, or believe the exact same things, just like every other person on the planet, and so to say that there is only one version of punk sounds incredibly narrow-minded.  That would be like saying there's only one type of liberalism, or one type of religiousness.  Everyone will have their own versions of those things.  And just like religiousness or political ideology, some people will be more extreme - those are the people who hold steadfast to ALL of the established ideals, and believe them to be the absolute, correct answer.  Others will be more moderate - holding some of the ideals from one side, some from the other.  That goes exactly the same for punk.  Just because someone isn't at the most hardcore, extreme end of punkness doesn't mean they can't be called punk.  People can be more, or less, liberal than each other, and still be liberal.  People can be more, or less, religious than each other and still be religious.  And people can be more, or less, punk than each other and still be punk.  All you need is to hold some punk ideals in your heart, and you are already slightly punk.  Now what does this mean for bands?  Does that mean that every band with an anti-political message is all of a sudden "punk"?  Or that hardcore punk bands are no more punk than pop punk bands like Green Day?  Well no, that's not really the case.  You're allowed to say that one band is "more punk" than another band, or "less punk" than another.  You're allowed to call aspects of a band's identity or music "punk" or "punk-like" without considering the band entirely punk.  And you're allowed to decide for yourself which bands count as "punk" and which don't based on how many punk ideals you think they embody.  But you should remember that other people might count those things differently than you.  Some people will look at Green Day and go "I see enough punk mentality there to call these guys punk," and others may think "These guys don't seem punk enough to be called punk."  You're allowed to have those opinions, but you can never forget that your definition might be different than someone else's.  Punkness is not absolute.  It is heterogenous, contextual, and inclusive, just like any ideology.

And now that I'm done waxing philosophical for you dirtbags, let me wipe off my monocle and tell you all about Green Day's new albums ¡Uno! and ¡Dos! !  Uno was released a little over a month ago, while Dos is being released in just a week, and is currently being streamed on Rolling Stone.  In short, they are both excellent ROCK albums.  You'll notice that I said rock instead of pop rock or punk, and that's because that's what Green Day's new albums are.  They are pure rock and roll, sometimes modern, sometimes classic, sometimes poppy, sometimes punky, and always varied in style.  Sure, a lot of songs sound similar to their old pop punk style, but they now have a modern loudness to them that makes me unable to separate it anymore from regular rock and roll.  And the one thing that I was REALLY happy to hear on them is a WHOLE BUNCH of guitar solos, which have almost always been absent in Green Day's music.  These solos kick fucking ass.  They're short, but they kick ass every time.  Uno is slightly more varied than Dos, and has more hit anthems like their previous two albums, while Dos is slightly more uniform and pop-rock sounding.  Any fan of rock and roll, pop rock, or modern poppy-alternative stuff like Weezer will find something to love on these albums, though the people looking for a lot of punk won't be as lucky.  I give ¡Uno! a score of 8/10 and Dos a score of 6/10.  Dos is really good, but the songs are the same as a lot of other stuff I've heard before, while Uno gets points for being much more unique, varied, and memorable.

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