Nowadays punk rockers are a bunch of mushcakes, whining about broken hearts and begging their girls to stay. Please don't leave me. I'm nothing without you. I thought we'd always be together. Jeez. Punks used to be, well, punks. Angry at the world, refusing to take themselves too seriously and walking around with chips on their shoulder. Now, suddenly, it's as if all the world is looking for an empty spot on Dr. Phil's couch. C'mon people! Here are five "old school" punk love songs that got it right!
"I'm In Love With Your Mom"--VOM: Led by the irrepressible Richard Meltzer (irrepressible, what a word!), VOM never set out to write an anthem for a "new generation" but damned if this wasn't one of the most "important" songs of the punk era. Yes, it drew the line in the sand. Long before the term MILF entered the American Vernacular, there was this sweet lullaby to one hot mother!
"I'm In Love With My Walls"--Lester Bangs and Birdland: Leave it to another rock critic to write a song admitting not love for another person, but for the solitude that comes with staying home and not dealing with other people. Notice he wasn't in love with his typewriter. That was a love-hate thing, an emotional tug of war never completely resolved. But walls asked nothing of him other than to merely stay within them and perhaps paint them once in awhile.
"I'm In Love With Nancy Reagan"--TMA: New Jersey punks who really understood the era: "Why does she turn me on so? / Why does she make my (ahem) grow"? Yes, many bands of the era took to hating Reagan, but these boys were smart enough to take off with his wife!
"Love Comes In Spurts"--Richard Hell and the Voidoids: One of the great "punk" bands, ironically, because they could actually play their instruments, RH&TVs were one fierce unit and this quick jab at how certain muscular contractions can be confused with issues of the heart has never been improved on. That this tune has never been used in connection with a Viagra commercial is either a matter of great integrity for the group or a sign that marketing executives do not have the hippest record collections.
"Love Song"--The Damned: Is it true these guys once considered calling themselves The Darned? Well, they were among the first groups to soften and sing about love and name a song "Love Song" and that's a bad sign. But they're considered legendary by lots of people older than me and that's all the proof I need. Maybe I'll listen to this tune someday, but with a title like "Love Song," it's going to be by accident.