Punk's Top Ten Love Songs
Published Jan 06, 2010They never like to admit it but punk rockers are probably some of the most histrionic music fans going. Who else could spawn such divergent genres as hardcore and emo from the same parent? But be it angry or whiny, offensive or sentimental, being emotional is an inherent part of being punk.
To that extent, every one of us has a list of love songs they just need to throw on for those times when it feels like their heart is overflowing. While there are clearly songs for breaking up - which are a lot easier to write about, given that the bile of bitterness flows freer than the sticky sap of affection - we'd like to present you with ten of our favourite punk rock love songs, ballad or otherwise.
Punk's Top Ten Love Songs:
"I Want You Around"
Rock 'N' Roll High School (1979)
Nobody had sugary teenage love down better than Joey Ramone. One of the most straightforward, simplistic tunes, relating the tale of a smitten bad boy aching to woo the object of his desires, it's everything the Ramones - and love - ever was and/or should be: uncomplicated, innocent and sincere.
"Punk Rock Girl"
This one takes a wonderfully fresh stance as the alternate to "I Want You Around." It's the tale of a boy who has the girl but is enamoured with her because she's the wild card. Set to the band's jangly beat and featuring a vocal line so bad that anyone could caterwaul it and sound better than them, it almost demands you sing, "Yeah you're for me punk rock girl" to your beloved.
Richard Hell and the Voidoids
"Love Comes In Spurts"
Blank Generation (1977)
Yeah, we know that Hell basically had a funny one-liner and managed to tag a whole song around it, but you have to admit that its tongue-in-cheek nature is infinitely entertaining. Besides, he actually has a couple of good points if you know the lyrics: wanting "love that was wild/though tight as slow motion/but crazed with devotion" and the obligatory part about how it ends up sucking. Not only that, but not all punks are bleeding hearts. Some people need to have a laugh with their lovin'.
"Hungry For You"
The Quickening (1996)
On that note, maybe you want something a little less sleazy but equally degrading to prove your adoration. Goofy love, as it were. Who better to deliver that than the true kings of clownish punk, the Vandals? When guitarist Warren Fitzgerald sings that line, "I fuckin' love you...," and "I want you so bad I can taste it in my food," it says everything. Forget the fact that he follows it up with some insane stalker shit.
"Love In Stereo"
Bad Habits (1979)
This is one just for those threesomes: the polygynists and polyandrists of the world. It's the tale of a man in love with two women, both of whom always want the exact opposite of one another. Hearing his sad tale instantly negates any sort of envy derived from those who subscribe to the "grass is greener" mentality after being torn between divergent demands. Then again, maybe it's only one woman with, like, a split personality or something. Everyone's dated someone like that at some point. But, really, it's all about hearing the title belted out in a wondrous croon anyway.
"She Is Beautiful"
I Get Wet (2001)
"I never knew girls existed like you," coupled with and endless chant of the title. Need we say more? That's a better panty remover than gin and tonic.
"Be My Beloved"
The Art Of Drowning (2000)
Never mind the fact that Davey Havok sings it and even if they don't admit it, every girl has some weird sort of crush on the guy. Maybe it's the feminine mascara thing mixed with PVC. But then again, he's not so hip with the drinking-age crew anymore, is he? Well, if they're old enough to know this song, it doesn't matter. The point is that the chorus is one of those can't-forget-it ditties and the lyrics have that can't-live-with-you/can't-live-without-you sentiment to them that hopeless romantics just fall to pieces over.
The Bouncing Souls
"Say Anything" / "Hopeless Romantic"
The Bouncing Souls (1997) / Hopeless Romantic (1999)
Speaking of hopeless romantics, the Bouncing Souls offer two choices that are so obvious, they're of equal importance. "Say Anything" vaguely references Lloyd Dobler from the film of the same name and you know the ladies all want to marry that guy. On a more androgynous level, we've all felt like an idiot around a person we adore and that tune kinds spells it out for us. "Hopeless Romantic" is more of the same but accomplishes it on an adult, "if you leave me, I'm fucked" kinda way.
"Nothing With You"
Cool To Be You (2004)
It's simple: you're telling the person you love that sitting around doing fuck all is the best thing ever. And you're really doing fuck all because the Descendents got it together for you in 2004. All you're really committed to is hitting play and letting them speak on your behalf. Couch potato love? Genius.
"What A Wonderful World"
Don't Worry About Me (2002)
It's to be expected. Not only is the tune friggin' gorgeous but once again, it proves Joey Ramone is one of the biggest romantics, well, ever. He's gonna have a couple of doozies despite his own heart ruining his life/the Ramones forever. Well, I guess you have to blame Johnny too. Hell, we could fill this list with Ramones tunes. Anyway, you can almost see the punk rock doves cooing away to this expedient version of the tune Louie Armstrong originally made famous.