Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, gourmet chocolate sells for discount prices, and boys and girls of all ages stroll about with uncharacteristically romantic gleams in their eyes. What better to complement all of these passionate proclivities than a playlist chock full of punk rock?
Wait a minute – punk rock? For Valentine’s Day? That’s right, friends. You’d be surprised. Despite all that anti-commercialist, anti-consumerist, anti-system ideology so prevalent in a lot of punk music, punks have proved time and time again that they’re some of the most soulful beings ever to grace the earth. So, for your listening pleasure, whether you’re single, dating, crushing hardcore, or just playing around, here’s a killer playlist that exemplifies the many shades of punk rock love. Enjoy, and rock on!
1. “Love Song” – The Damned
Kicking things off is a quick and catchy tune released by British group The Damned in 1979. The verses contain what might be considered that classic punk twinge of irony, but the chorus, despite its deliberate generic-ness, seems like a pretty genuine proclamation of love.
2. “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” – The Ramones
A real classic. In this affectionate song, released in 1975, The Ramones have constructed a sweet, crooning piece of punk music sure to make any girl’s heart melt.
3. “I Have a Date” – The Vandals
With this 1995 tune, California natives the Vandals harken back to the days of high school romance. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s euphoric, and it’s totally rad.
4. “At The Library” – Green Day
Speaking of high school, here’s another nostalgic blast from the past. Remember when Green Day used to not suck? No? Well, give this track a listen, and it might come back to you. The band’s up-tempo 1990 release tells the story of a boy who is fixated on a gorgeous girl at – you guessed it – the library.
5. “Punk Rock Girl” – The Dead Milkmen
I find this song pretty hilarious. It kind of describes the ideal first date for a couple of punk kids, but in some ways, it feels totally tongue-in-cheek. The 1988 song is adorable and sassy, and it pretty successfully describes the goofy antics of young love.
6. “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” – Buzzcocks
Full disclosure: this may be one of my favorite songs of all time. There’s something about these particular chord progressions and these particular lyrics together that just does it for me every time. This 1978 track is a heartbreak-ridden masterpiece about forbidden love, unrequited love, love gone wrong, etc, etc.
7. “I Am Yours” – The Adicts
The Adicts, a British punk outfit that formed in the mid-70s and is still active today, make it very clear in 1986’s “I Am Yours” that they completely understand love and devotion. Underneath the guitar’s characteristic grit lies some ethereal beauty and gentleness – a brilliant example of the romantic side of punk.
8. “I Love Me” – The Boys
This one goes out to all of you single folks out there. The British group The Boys perfectly sum up an idea that a lot of us learn to embrace around Valentine’s Day: basically, we know we’re freaking awesome, and so it makes no sense that the object of our affections doesn’t think so, too. Never fear, friends, the Boys feel you on this one!
9. “Hopeless Romantic” – The Bouncing Souls
Listen closely, because this fast and furious 1999 song gets pretty deep. The Bouncing Souls have a long history of deliberately speaking to the kids (and adults) who feel a little like the odd ones out, and this time, they do so vis-à-vis romance. The lyrics indicate a longing for one special person, rendering the singer a self-professed romantic – and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that this time of year.
10. “Love Songs” – The Adverts
Every time I listen to The Adverts, I wish they’d been around for longer than their three high-volume years (from 1976-1979). This 1979 song takes a cynical but potentially realistic position on love. If you ask the Adverts, they’ll tell you that real relationships don’t always turn out the way love songs do.
11. “Lover’s Rock” – The Clash
With the Clash, we’re back to classic punk rock, and we’re back to serious romance. The message of the 1979 song, named for a reggae subgenre popular in London at the time, has a clear and spot-on message – if you’re in love with someone, you better treat ’em right.
12. “Punk Rock Love” – The Casualties
This might be the ultimate punk rock love song – boy meets girl, girl breaks boy’s heart, boy gets angry and writes an angsty song. Ever had your heart broken? Feeling a little off your game this Valentine’s Day? Turn on this New York band’s fiery 1997 release and rock out.