About a year and a half ago, I wrote a piece about why I like live music. Now I want to talk about why I like music in general, but mainly in punk, metal, hardcore and alternative genres. Although I do sometimes write about different types of bands, the majority of my pieces concern artists that would generally be classified as one or more of these.
I am not the type of person who is content to listen to whatever. I don’t follow trends much, and I couldn’t name one song by Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande or Travis Scott. I like music that speaks to me, and pop music and most modern rap don’t. I don’t relate to what the people sing about and I don’t like the way the styles sound. Punk and metal say something that I understand.
Many punk and metal musicians tell stories about their own lives. They sing about both good and bad times. There is an authenticity that I just don’t find in any other genre. A great example is in the title track to “The Ghost of Ohio,” by Andy Black. In it, he sings:
“Nothing is the same as I remember
Or is it that my memories have changed?”
I know that feeling. When I went back to my hometown years after moving away, I didn’t recognize anything.
Another aspect of the music is that the musicians are true fans of their genre. They sing about other bands they grew up with and still love. In “Punk Rock Saved My Life” by Cokie the Clown, he relates what many punk rock kids have experienced:
“It’s why I proudly say: When I was 14
And saw X and the Subhumans at the Whiskey
That was the night – it may sound trite, but punk rock saved my life”
He ends the song with:
“You see, punk rock was never just music to me, it was my life
My parents were just relatives, my family was always NOFX”
That sense of belonging comes through the speakers to those who listen to the music; I know it does for me. It makes me feel like I have a connection with other people. Take the pre-chorus of “We Got Each Other” by the Interrupters:
“If you are alone tonight
You can come with us
If you don’t have friends or family
Or people that you trust
We will be your confidants
Your sisters and your brothers.”
When I was growing up, I didn’t feel close to people, including those in my family. I felt closer to the people I listened to on my stereo.
During the Slipknot show in September, vocalist Corey Taylor said it best between songs, “Sometimes this feels like the only f’n family you have.”
I am grateful for what this “alternative” music has given me, so I feel the need to share it with others so they may feel the happiness I have felt. In the immortal words of Karl Alvarez of the Descendents, “Thank you for playing the way you play.”