10 Classic Punk Records That Actually Kind of Suck

Categories: Lists, Punk

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!

My Voice Nation Help
329 comments
SJP2012
SJP2012

I'm glad to find someone's opinions who doesn't match my pre-conscieved ideas about what to look for in punk rock.  I would love to see a list of your top 100 punk albums or so.  Thank you.

Nickferatu
Nickferatu

I agree with most of these. The post script in the end won my favor. Cheers to you, sir.

DEACON_ISHMAEL
DEACON_ISHMAEL

ONE MANS OPINION ......I KIND OF AGREE.....but I do play the last social D....a lot.....punk or not.....don/t fucking care.....and  TOM REARDON  what are your picks...on what is a milestone is music is...whats on your play list?


gabo65
gabo65

No, some of these are definitely not classics and not even punk rock. As for the Ramones, Rocket is a great record but their best ever was the following release, Road to Ruin. This article is a tad, shall we say, lame.

lucamoraes
lucamoraes

1 jornalist that actually kind of suck: YOU

brianbotkiller
brianbotkiller

You're the stupidest fucking "reviewer" of all time. 


surfpunk66
surfpunk66

Just my two cents:


Tom Reardon I think you should give up writing all together. There is officially no person other than yourself who wants to read what you write.

kevinblack1999
kevinblack1999

Oh! His band mate punched out Danzig. So cool. And Danzig makes $$ from having J. Cash and Metallica sing his songs. He, on the other hand, writes this for a publication that is best used by bums as a mat on the streets of Phoenix. Impressive...

andwilkes
andwilkes

You could say the same thing about the Beatles/Stones/et cetera.  Context is very important to music and it's unfair to judge music by what came after it.  But I fell for the click-bait like the rest of the fellow commentors.


What is true about Punk is it stopped being the rebellious music of record in the early 1990s (and before punk it was folk singer songs, and before that jazz, and before that blues) when grunge became mainstream and left the actual rebellion to the NWAs/Public Enemies of the world which has since been co-opted as youth culture for profit.  Now everything exists comfortably in their niches so you can pick whatever you want to be rebellious but the days of protest songs are over.

fart
fart

I have two things to say. Firstly, the response that this has provoked is pretty funny to me. It's just some random guy's opinions. Who cares?


Secondly, thanks for including that reference to Spike in Vain - Disease is Relative. I had never encountered that record before and I must say, it is fucking AWESOME. I can see myself listening to this album for years to come.

jude_iscariot
jude_iscariot

Just gonna throw this out there, but I've been to tons of shows and The Dead Milkmen consistently put on one of the best shows. If you felt uninspired, eh, dunno what is wrong with you. I've never had more fun at a show. And they also consistently sell out all ages shows. The last one I was at had a section in the balcony for the underage kids, and it was completely filled. On the other hand, I've been to three Violent Femmes shows as well, and while they are okay, the two I've been to that were FREE were the only ones that were filled to capacity, and even then there weren't that many young people there.

DeadSidvicious
DeadSidvicious

Hello to you all angry people ! Wouaaahhh so many of you !!!

Too cute, when you frown and speack out and loud all this rubbish at Tom.

Gets you nowhere indeed. Sid is cold stoned again.

I can imagine all of you waving up like sheepshaggers and throwing your little punches at your laptop. I still got Loooot of fun from reading U all thks.

To the others (the grownup people) : : Thanks a lot @Tom for writing what U think, BECAUSE :

1. you know because of you I kinda feel like I could listen up now and again to my forgotten playlist from way long 80's but still feeling fine with it : just music ok !

2.To US punk : Blackflag ands Dead Kennedys where my favourite from the beginning, but I still love the lyrics and smile up at the music, neurotics you !

3. AND : I'll call up to get some news from my formers pals still alive in the UKsubs.

The guys all live now uppersubs... but me.

The question is : why all these angry people can't do so ? 

Just because they know NO PUNK alive. 

Continue to wave up at yourlaptops shimps.

Or grab some cords and airplay back outjacked.

BOUGGGGAAA

matnewell
matnewell

 Personally Tom, aside from a couple of albums/ statements made, I think you're pretty spot on. 

Can you listen to Rocket to Russia and understand the entire Ramones catalog? 

Absolutely. 

But dismissing the rest of it would be a tragic oversight. My summer doesn't begin without my first trip out to the Rockaways and listening to their cover of California Sun when the train goes above ground. 

Just because they found their sound and stuck to it relentlessly does not mean it wasn't great. There are few live bands that can come close to having as much energy as they did on record. 


I agree also that Blank Generation was an extremely important album so far as influencing a genre of music, but to say that there are only a few good tracks is pretty dismissive.

What tracks don't you like- Betrayal takes two? Down at the rock and roll club? This is not only an important album influentially, it's also a really good listen. I may be forced to say I'd prefer The Heartbreakers or Dead Boys, but neither existed without Hell. 


I also understand your dismissive idea of the Misfits, you perhaps aren't that into The Damned either, but that album kicks a lot of ass for me. Not a huge fan of Danzig personal stuff, but Walk Among Us was huge.


 And then I'm done. 

Saw the Dead Milkmen two years ago in Philly... I'm not fifteen anymore, sadly there music still is. I went for a beer after a few songs. You can't recapture an age in one's life. 


Green Day you could have lumped in with your jumble of bands at number 2, they were never punk, but capitalized on it with poppy stupidity in the same way Screeching Weasel did (and the latter is still a much better band). 


Op Ivy is given this pass like they put "Cali punk" on the map, but X, Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds were doing it longer and better than Op Ivy ever did. 

Out Come the Wolves was punk boy band? Absolutely. 


Bad Religion not as important as Subhumans (or DK, Crass, Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians...)? If you argue this you've never spent any time listening to these.


Damaged again I may have argument with you on. Loud, aggressive, snotty, sardonic, it really is what punk was about in America in the Reagan era. I do not bow at the temple of Rollins, but it's a pretty damn good album. 


Regardless, I enjoyed your opinion. Thanks.

Sadly I find little reason to speak with people from Az. in today's society. It seems our political agenda (not yours and mine, mine and Arizona's) is far differing, but I enjoyed the article.


santoralucas57
santoralucas57

God I hate pretentious punks. This is why I don't identify as punk.

ichavero
ichavero

This is just one of those "i want attention" articles, don't pay attention to this fucking troll just enjoy music!


Troll Leve: Phoenix Heat

ichavero
ichavero

This is just one of those "i want attention" articles don't event bother answering...

 Troll level: Phoenix Heat

ichavero
ichavero

This is just one of those "i want attention" articles, don't pay attention to this fucking troll just enjoy music!


Troll Leve: Phoenix Heat

joemarxen
joemarxen

I'm reading an ego-driven, completely subjective, arrogant criticism of some undeniably influential punk rock while being bombarded by Michelob Ultra ads, WTF? This publication is pathetic.

TheInevitable
TheInevitable

"Damaged" is maybe a little overrated. Black Flag is not. 


But the best Black Flag albums ARE with Henry Rollins. "My War" and "Slip it in." "Family Man," In My Head," and "Loose Nut" are close behind. Way more interesting and better than any of the Morris, Cadena etc. fronted stuff. 

TomReardon
TomReardon

Apologies to Henry Rollins. He is not the last singer of Black Flag. I should know better as I spent hours working on an interview with current Black Flag singer and all around decent dude, Mike Vallely. Also, for clarification, I lumped a lot of bands together in spot #2 because I saw them all listed in "best of" lists for the first decade of 21st century. I really wouldn't consider them punk either, but I think I covered that. Sorry you are all so bummed...just my opinions. If I have tarnished your memories or given you cancer, I am humbled at the sheer power of my words. For the record, I disliked the Misfits well before I ever joined North Side Kings and being even a small part of "the punch" is no where near my proudest moment in playing music, but say what you will about me or my bands. That's the beauty of an opinion.

For everyone who has wished me harm, I wonder what you would have offered to do if you agreed with everything I wrote? My guess is nothing. I love punk rock and don't consider myself a hipster, by any means. I'm just a guy who likes to write (with questionable talent, obviously) and the New Times gives me room to do my thing which I appreciate greatly. I will probably write other things you disagree with and I hope you dislike them just as much. If I write things you like, please tell me you love me and offer to shake my hand or do nothing. Either way, it will all end the same. Thank you all for sharing.


Tom


ps...all of these records are better than anything you've done, as well, so if you really want to do something about it, start a band and make a record you are proud of because making records is fun.

Kwoodz
Kwoodz

For some reason, I want to punch you in the throat. 

defendme.net
defendme.net

Maybe the Misfits and Social Distortion should have a tag team match against Green Day and Rancid. It will be like Abraham Lincoln vs. Barack Obama in a rail splitting contest.

phnart
phnart

I can personally guarantee that Tom Reardon is not Chet Manly.

xrayspex69
xrayspex69

Obviously the music is subject to one's opinion.

However, I recall having a handful of "punks" in Phoenix tell me how great Rancid, Green Day, etc. were. When those bands were rehashing better bands from the seventies and the eighties.

Op Ivy, Rancid, Green Day, Misfits, all retreads.

Black Flag's Damaged, Richard Hell, yup.

Even the seventies bands were heavily influenced by the Stooges and MC5 so you might take the argument even further up the pipeline. And the sixties bands were rehashing black musicians from the thirties and forties.

hardcorepride
hardcorepride

Are you looking for the article "1 uninformed dirtbag's opinion that really does suck"? Please scroll up to find your content.


Hey Tom/Chet! How many small animals did you hurt in the process of authoring this? 


BTW, the unfortunate hamster stuck in your ass can't escape until you first pull your head out...

callofbooty
callofbooty

What's worse: Writing a piece called "10 Classic Punk Records That Actually Kind of Suck" which no one agrees with OR being author Tom Reardon and defending it but doing so anonymously as chet_manly


WOW!

Matt Dickson
Matt Dickson

The article is a "dig" it's designed to be incinderiary and cause adverse reactions from the reader. The main goal is for the reader to click a link and comment.

David Gallant
David Gallant

Jim Carroll reading over the fadeout of "Junkyman", alone, makes Rancid's album too interesting and innovative for the reviewer to grasp it seems. I agree with the assessments of Social D. and Misfits, but not Ramones or Richard Hell. He does not "read" these albums in a carefully historicized way.

punkrockclub
punkrockclub

Wow, talk about hipster wanna be punkrock drivel. Does @TomReardon (if that's his real name) read the Village voice? They ran an article just like this about  a year and a half ago, and lost a ton of credibility and readership. Was this one of those assignments where the editor says "You HAVE TO do this..."? The author essentially feels he's grown up and out of punk rock, but at the same time enjoys some of the more infantile lyrics on Dead Milkmen and eve SocialD albums? Huh? Check your credibility, ethics, and soul at the door. 

Posted more on http://facebook.com/thePunkRockClub

zlata_jagoda
zlata_jagoda

I think this was written by a snotty hipster.

skitzathejuggla
skitzathejuggla

This column is absolutely lousy, as the subjective opinions within this have little to no factual backbone to them. Just another highly pretentious, mouth-breathing miscreant writing a poorly researched column that strikes out with actual fans of punk rock well over 75% (Pop/pseudo punk bands are on this list, as well as albums and catalogs that are held in very high esteem.) Someone should actually do a survey to see if their so-called opinions match with a wider consensus within the most pertinent interest group(s), and then actually use valid facts to support their opinions, instead of speaking out of their rectum at rapid fire pace.

Brad Zerkel
Brad Zerkel

Agree with Carlos, WTF does the author know about Punk? Having been there for the real thing I don't get his inclusion of so many non punk bands.....One thing he did get right was he didn't critique any Dead Kennedys a TRUE punk band.

john.obrien86
john.obrien86

PS its called click-bait. So many hack writers on the internet.

dekemason
dekemason

Tom "Take it up the Rear-don" ; you are a wanker and no one cares about your "I thought I was cool in high school" opinion on things. Time to be a big boy and talk about big boy issues.

Zoofless
Zoofless

As soon as I saw: "Fugazi alone has seven or eight releases better than everything on this entire list," I knew the tone of the rest of the article. Fugazi should have been better than they were. With Minor Threat (and even MacKaye's projects with Al Jourgensen) I so desperately wanted to enjoy Fugazi, but unfortunately, their discography is a collection of titular singles from their albums.
That being said, I see the author's point in outgrowing these albums, but to say that they "actually kind of suck" is a brash, and unwarranted statement. Opinion though it may be, it's impossible to even put much of the "punk" that is around nowadays into the same caliber as these albums.


Ramble ramble...

Also, you can't lump Green Day, and My Chemical Romance, and whatever other pseudo-punk you threw in here, with half the other albums on this list.

this_guy
this_guy

it's cute hearing young people talk about punk.

W.M.
W.M.

Damn Matt, you're right! And I totally fell for it… Fuck, I'm such a sucker for shitty asinine articles! Good one @TomReardon, you got me buddy! 


Hey Tom, next you should write one about 10 Classic Movies That Actually Kind Of Suck According To Tom Reardon!! Because you know, your opinion on these matters are so relevant and all… I promise I'll click the link, only partially read the article after finding out how incredibly asinine it is, and then I'll totally leave a hater comment like this one!


Yeah buddy, what do you say? 


W.M.


P.S. I really do hate the shit out of you. 

chet_manly
chet_manly

@gumbootiner did the big mean man insult my chemical romance and hurt your feelings?

chet_manly
chet_manly

@skitzathejuggla "do a survey to see if their so-called opinions match with a wider consensus within the most pertinent interest group(s)" so basically because someones opinion doesn't match popular opinion it's wrong and should be discredited? kill yourself. pussy ass juggalo

jeff.paradise
jeff.paradise

@Zoofless I was going to post the same thing. I was on board with a couple of his points but he lost all credibility with the Fugazi line. I had "Out of Step" on cassette and wore it out playing it but never really got that into Fugazi.


Also discounting the entire catalog of Social Distortion should have his music cred card permanently pulled.

DeadSidvicious
DeadSidvicious

@W.M. @TomReardon 

wow make mine a  "10 classic tunes you would not listen to even trapped in a lifter crashing by Tom Some". Sound fascinating


Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...