10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die

3. Black Flag, My War
What's that? You think punk bands are never supposed to change their sound? That they should write one good song and then re-write it for twenty years? Well, My War says you're wrong. The album opens with the brutal title-track before getting into two of the best Black Flag tunes ever, "Can't Decide" and "Beat My Head Against the Wall." These two songs feature a distinct groove not often found in punk, but lest anyone think the band has gone soft, singer Henry Rollins serves as the perfect lunactic for guitarist/songwriter Greg Ginn's visceral lyrics. Side A ends with "The Swinging Man," which borrows more from Ornette Coleman than the Ramones. It's the type of song that only Black Flag -- and only Black Flag during this era -- could have pulled off. Then there's Side B, which features three songs -- "Nothing Left Inside," "Three Night" and "Scream." Each is heavy, slow and goddamn powerful in a way that makes you want to put your first through a wall. Some claim the B Side to My War is the blueprint to grunge. Maybe. Whatever the case, both sides to My War fucking rule not only because the band successfully proved that the term "punk band" wasn't synonymous with "one-trick pony" but also because the songs are some of the visceral in the group's catalog.

2. The Misfits, Walk Among Us
Being melodic never sounded so creepy, which is probably why the Misfits are one of the few punk bands that has transcended the genre. Singer Glenn Danzig's harmonious baritone/tenor makes every day Halloween on tracks such as "I Turned Into a Martian," "All Hells Breaks Loose," "Vampira," "Hatebreeders," "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight," "Astro Zombies" and "Night of the Living Dead." What's even crazier about this record than a lyric such as "Killed a girl on lover's lane/I kept her toes and teeth/Every night I stalk around until I find my keep/I'll bring back a souvenir /For it's my mommy's dream" is that these aren't even the best version of most of these songs. For those, check out the Misfits' four-disc box set.

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