Koenji, the world and elsewhere


The 50 Best (Western) Punk Songs Ever

I found this old post in the Internet Archives on November 16, 2015. Originally posted March 22, 2009. A lot has changed since then. Grooveshark is no more. Also, after another six years in Japan, I now notice how Western this list is. However, this is not an update to the list – so I won’t be adding any songs by The Stalin, Hi-Standard, GISM or any other worthy Japanese bands. The only change I will make to the old post is adding some YouTube links. And the title of the post.


Three events led to the creation of this list.

Last year, on a hot Tokyo day in September 2009, my laptop screen bid me farewell. It gave up. Our relationship had been a sham for years anyway, almost from the beginning. Anyone who’s had a Toshiba Satellite can probably relate.

I was therefore forced to buy a replacement. But after five tenuous years it really was time to get out there and find something new. Fortunately Toshiba’s hard drive had been insufficient for some time, so I had most of my stuff kept on an external drive. This made the move much easier. And even though my new HP has a lot of space, I still keep most of my stuff on the external drive.

However, one thing I did lose was a large selection of music. Because Toshiba was so weak and pathetic, it preferred to play music off the hard drive. But I still had a lot of that music on my iPhone, so I didn’t worry too much.

I got my new HP and plugged my iPhone into it, planning to sync them up. I then got the pop-up message telling me that Apple hates it customers. In order for me to sync MY iPhone to MY new laptop I would lose all the music on my iPhone. “But my old laptop died,” I told Apple Support. “We don’t care. Fuck you,” was Apple’s response. So, I decided not to sync my iPhone. All my good music was on my iPhone and I had no desire to restock my collection.

Five months later, on a cold Wednesday in February, I lost my iPhone. Somewhere between Koenji Station and Dynamo. The Koban told me 90% of lost items make their way back their owners. I don’t think iPhones are on this list. After 10 days of waiting and hoping, I was once again forced to purchase consumer electronics I already owned. More or less.

I had some music on my external drive by now, and ripped a couple CDs, to get some tunes on the new phone. But the collection was a skeletal shadow of its former self.

Six days later, I got hit with a fever that lasted five days and kept me pretty much bed ridden for the better part of a week. I hadn’t had much time to replenish my digital music collection, so in my more lucid moments I set to downloading all I’d lost. And as I gained strength I gained motivation. I would expand my collection to new levels. I had mostly been searching for old vinyls and CDs I have back in Canada. But days of searching for songs and albums I hadn’t heard in years got me thinking. And as such, a broken laptop, a lost iPhone, and a 39.42C fever resulted in the creation of this list.

This list is obviously not definitive, as no list is. It’s a list of really good songs and that’s about it. Some songs I left off because I didn’t want too many songs from the same band. After all, I could easily make this list with only four bands. But that would be boring, so I decided no band could claim more than two spots. Also, I make no distinction here between punk rock, hardcore, postpunk, protopunk, neopunk, pop punk, or whatever. People who say “that’s not punk” are pretentious douchebags. Who gives a fuck? Although I think anything below falls under the “Punk Umbrella” well enough. I’ve also listed them in chronological order, because #1 is a ridiculous concept, and most of them should come as no surprise.

I’ve added most of these songs to a palylist on Grooveshark. There are still a few I’ve uploaded but am still waiting to get into the system.

  1. 1969 I Wanna Be Your Dog The Stooges (YouTube)
  2. 1975 Politicians in My Eyes Death (YouTube)
  3. 1976 Anarchy in the UK Sex Pistols (YouTube)
  4. 1976 I’m Stranded The Saints (YouTube)
  5. 1977 Chinese Rocks The Heartbreakers (YouTube)
  6. 1977 Orgasm Addict Buzzcocks (YouTube)
  7. 1977 White Riot The Clash
  8. 1977 New Rose The Damned
  9. 1978 I Wanna Be Sedated Ramones
  10. 1978 Do They Owe Us A Living? Crass
  11. 1979 Bloodstains Agent Orange
  12. 1979 London Calling The Clash
  13. 1979 Where Eagles Dare Misfits
  14. 1979 Bomb The Boats And Feed The Fish Forgotten Rebels
  15. 1979 Fuck You Subhumans (Canada)
  16. 1980 Holiday in Cambodia Dead Kennedys
  17. 1980 Jesus (Entering From The Rear) The Feederz
  18. 1980 Police Truck Dead Kennedys
  19. 1980 World War 3 DOA
  20. 1980 Warhead UK Subs
  21. 1981 Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie Black Flag
  22. 1981 Punks Not Dead The Exploited
  23. 1981 Minor Threat Minor Threat
  24. 1982 Pay To Cum Bad Brains
  25. 1982 Moral Majority Circle Jerks
  26. 1982 Religious Wars Subhumans (UK)
  27. 1982 Time Bomb / This is Boston Not LA The Freeze
  28. 1982 Suburban Home Descendents
  29. 1982 Moral Threat Social Distortion
  30. 1982 We’re Only Gonna Die Bad Religion
  31. 1983 Coup d’Etat Circle Jerks
  32. 1983 Institutionalized Suicidal Tendencies
  33. 1984 Cannibal Cafe SNFU
  34. 1984 New Aryans Reagan Youth
  35. 1984 When The Bomb Drops Subhumans (UK)
  36. 1984 Walk Together, Rock Together 7 Seconds
  37. 1985 Salad Days Minor Threat
  38. 1986 Argh Fuck Kill Dayglo Abortions
  39. 1986 I Against I Bad Brains
  40. 1986 One to Two Dag nasty
  41. 1986 The Devil’s Voice SNFU
  42. 1986 Dad Nomeansno
  43. 1989 Start Today Gorilla Biscuits
  44. 1991 Bro Hymn Pennywise
  45. 1992 Welcome To Paradise Green Day
  46. 1994 Inner Logic Bad Religion
  47. 1995 Roots Radicals Rancid
  48. 1996 You’ve Got to Die for the Government Anti-Flag
  49. 1997 Murder The Government NOFX
  50. 2001 Fuck Authority Pennywise