10 Classic Punk Records That Actually Kind of Suck
7.)Black Flag - Damaged (1981)
I shall get skewered for this, but this is not even one of the top 30 punk records of all time, and for much of it, is not even particularly interesting. Tons of bands have taken the ball from this Los Angeles band and run with it since 1981, and frankly, have done it much better. No one ever talks, for example, about the brilliant 1984 record from Cleveland's Spike In Vain, Disease Is Relative, which has a very similar sonic assault, but is ultimately way more interesting than Damaged, considered by some to be the number two punk album of all-time. Maybe the band's last vocalist, Henry Rollins, is actually the one who ruined Black Flag? People jump on the "fuck [guitar player] Greg Ginn" bandwagon (even I've been tempted a few times to both climb aboard and drive that one), but Black Flag was way more interesting before Rollins joined the band. Ginn's guitar playing is as pissed off as ever on this one, but it's often more grating than anything else.
6.) Green Day - Dookie (1994)
The title of this record says it all. This is "deal with the devil," pop punk dreck. I remember delivering food to a bike shop one day when I lived in Berkeley in 1991. I argued with the dreadlocked hippy punk who placed the order about who created pop punk, Green Day or The Descendents. To me this was a no-brainer, but to him, he swore up and down that there had never been pop punk before Green Day, and they were something akin to the second coming of Jesus. I'd heard Green Day on the local college station, KALX, several times and had not been impressed, so naturally I was not a fan three years later when the Illuminati decided they would be the cleaner, more accessible antidote to Nirvana. Is it ironic they rose to prominence after Cobain pulled the trigger on grunge? Is Billie Jo Armstrong the anti-Kurt? Could be.
These and many more questions will be answered in the comments section.
5.) Social Distortion - Almost the entire catalogue.
Let's face it. This band has just not aged well. I loved Mommy's Little Monster in the '80s. Sure, the first couple of singles, "Mainliner/Playpen" and "1945" were awesome, but after 1983, it has been all downhill. I don't even enjoy the early stuff anymore as much as I used to. Perhaps I have become some sort of lyrics snob, but I hear a song like "Mommy's Little Monster" and I just sort of giggle at how trite the lyrics are. "Her eyes are a deeper blue / she likes her hair that color too / She can even wear a dress, that doesn't mean she'll ever confess." Deep, Mr. Ness, very deep. What was she going to confess to? Maybe that she was a middle class kid from the San Fernando Valley who dyed her hair blue in 11th grade and went to some shows? Somewhere she's raising some young punks of her own now and laughing at how lame Social Distortion has become.
4.) Bad Religion - Suffer (1988).
Yes, we suffer. We suffer from having to get out the dictionary to understand the thesaurus punk of Mr. Greg Graffin, Bad Religion singer and resident smart guy. Bad Religion had to redeem itself after some seriously lame records after a pretty awesome debut effort, 1981's How Could Hell Be Any Worse. Suffer is a good record, but like Damaged, it doesn't deserve the accolades it gets. How is this record, for example, better than any of the Dead Kennedy's catalog, or even the Subhumans' (UK) Day The Country Died or World's Apart? Lyrically, Jello Biafra (ex-Dead Kennedy and current leader of the Guantanamo Bay School of Medicine) and Dick Lucas (Subhumans and Citizen Fish) were both churning out much more compelling and socially conscious lyrics at the time, yet Bad Religion's Suffer seems to constantly out-chart them on "best of" lists. It's a crime, really, a preposterous monstrosity of ignominious proportions. Take that, Greg!