10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die
8. Ramones, S/T
Similar to the Sex Pistols, the inclusion of the Ramones' first album could come off as cliched due to the fact that this entire genre was founded on these 14 songs. Historical significance is enough reason to have this record, but Ramones isn't some museum piece that sounds dated. In fact, the more time that passes between 1976 (the year this was released) and now, the songs just keep getting better. Sure, we've all heard album opener "Blitzkrieg Bop," but stand-out tracks "Judy Is a Punk," "Havana Affair" and "53rd & 3rd" make this an absolute must-have. The downstrumming barrage of guitarist Johnny Ramone and bassist Dee Dee Ramone still hasn't been topped while drummer Tommy Ramone lays down the most perfect rock 'n' roll backbeat ever (yeah, that's right, I said ever). Then there's singer Joey Ramone, who can get super melodic on "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and then belts out "Loudmouth" like he's in an insane asylum. Some might argue the band got better over the course of their next three records and those people might be right. However, those records wouldn't exist with Ramones. This album is so essential that if you can buy only one entry from this list, Ramones is it. Seriously. Own this. Today. The only bummer about this record is its reminder that Dee Dee, Johnny and Joey aren't here anymore.
7. Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
On 1981's In God We Trust, Inc., San Francisco's Dead Kennedys proved themselves as a top-notch hardcore band, but a year prior on Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, the group showed that it could have been a damn good pop band if singer Jello Biafra, guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Klaus Flouride and drummer Ted really wanted to be. Album opener "Kill the Poor," "Let's Lynch the Landlord" and "Your Emotions" would have been perfect for radio if the quarter aspired to be another throwaway mainstream act. Instead, these songs are sped up a tad and feature vitriol-filled lyrics that no program director would ever get near. To balance these pop tunes, the Dead Kennedys add hardcore elements into their unique blend of punk, surf, pop and psychedelia
(imagine Dick Dale dropping acid and joining the Ramones and you've got East Bay Ray) on tunes such as "Drug Me," "California Uber Alles," "Holiday in Cambodia" and "Chemical Warfare."