Definition of Punk

Published: 2021-09-12 15:20:13
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A definition of punk in a reference will typically read like the following, "rock music marked by extreme and often deliberately offensive expressions of alienation and social discontent" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). The problem with this definition is that it can be used to describe many of today's more aggressive music genres. It's played using guitar, bass, and drums. Its songs are usually under three minutes in length, use a changing, but fast, tempo and strong vocals. To the unfamiliar there isn't much to differentiate punk from other common forms of rock music.
What's missing from the definition, that helps distinguish punk from other forms of music, is mention of punk's attitude about creating music. Punk starts with an attitude, an attitude driven from politics, dissatisfaction, and a call for non-violent direct action. Punk is a volatile, work in progress that is created in the spur of the moment. It's about the moments when somebody does something that points out how screwed up the world is, but makes it funny, noble, and moving. It was when this attitude met the circumstances of the mid to late 1970s that punk was born.
With the late 1970s a generation of kids threw on black leather jackets, cut their hair short and spiky, picked up instruments they could barely play, and went to war on a bloated music industry establishment. Tired of having their musical choices decided by an industry that had become self-indulgent and complacent, they decided to deal with the problem themselves, and changed the path of rock 'n' roll. Punk's "Do It Yourself/Anyone Can Do It" credo is a key and defining characteristic of the music, remove it and it's no longer punk.

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