The coolest thing about punk rock used to be how it complained about EVERYTHING: Reaganomics, Censorship, Racism, Sexism, Corporate Oppression, Religion, School, Homework, Rich People, Poor People, Middle-Class People, People Who Weren't Punk Enough, People Who Thought They Were Punk But Weren't, Punks, Metalheads, Jocks....
But then punk rock started singing more about emotions and love and how you broke my heart and that's not fair and "I'm a loser" and it became like every other stupid genre just with lousier music. But the world's a mess these days! And we need to have our voices heard! And there's no better way to do it than to inspire the masses through the magic of song!
If you can't afford to buy a Clash album to hear how it's done, just write down what you can about these edgy, enduring topics!
War: Always a good one. Be sure to be anti-war. Slam-dancing violence and breaking someone's nose at a show is all in good fun, but the real stuff is always bad. Remember the enemy is the power of oppression and we're all brothers. But go easy on the brother stuff because then you'll sound like a hippie. Be mad. But not too mad.
Unfair Taxation: This is a little tricky. But no one likes to pay taxes, so your audience is built in. Always assume you're paying too much while everyone else is paying too little. Don't be too specific because no one understands the tax laws, including the people who write them. Just stay angry and realize that if you didn't pay taxes you'd have more money to spend on stuff. And stuff is good.
Health-Care: Go watch Sicko, the Michael Moore film, and then write a summary of what you saw. Kind of like a book report. Personalize it a little. Sing about your sick aunt or uncle and how it isn't FAIR and how much getting sick is not fun. Don't be too specific, though. No one knows how to fill out the forms or follow the rules. You're not supposed to. That's the whole idea. Since this one is such a bummer, end on an upbeat note with hope for the future and a miracle cure. Even use this: "We Must Remain Strong!"
Inflation: No one knows how it works, we just know it's there and it's not good. If a slice of pizza costs $1.75 today and $2.00 a year from now, you need more money to buy it. But your boss doesn't care and doesn't give you a raise to counteract that. Instead you have to work longer and harder to get the same result. Welcome to the world! Now get mad and write about it.
Having Your Favorite TV Show Cancelled: After all these heady topics, you're going to want to hit closer to home with something that really irks you. And what irks you more than finding out that your favorite show has been cancelled while other shows that are noticeably worse are still being shown! My blood pressure boiled over the day I found out Are You Hot? wasn't being brought back but more Home Decorating shows were being added to that summer's line-up. Where's the justice, I ask you?