Examining the Maturation of Punk Rock

“Dr. Said My Mom Should’ve Had an Abortion”

By Robert LaRosa


Whether we want to accept it or not, we change over time. We learn and grow, slowly becoming more of who we want to be in the future.

We can look to the past and remember what used to be, but ultimately that’s not the way we travel anymore.

A major change I’ve noticed comes from the music I grew up listening to.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, with a diverse group of artists topping the charts, it was punk that struck a chord in youth all over the world.

Bands like Blink 182, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, and Fall Out Boy quickly became the voice of young, rebellious kids.

Two bands that completely changed in sound, tone, and feel easily has to be  Blink 182 and Sum 41.

From their early records to their latest releases, they each sound like two different bands, perhaps even different genres.

Their maturation is well documented in their lyrics and messages. Something not unusual, however, is the backlash they received from “hardcore” fans.

The more I see news of these bands coming back with new tour dates, the more I see fans stating that they “stopped being good” before a member left, or that their new style is bad because it isn’t the same it was when they broke onto the scene.

Musicians evolve and aim for unchartered territory, not trying to put out albums that sound the same.

Musicians should be able to bend their work and experiment because that’s what naturally happens to people, let alone artists over time. True music needs to evolve.

A band like Blink 182 and the word “maturity” in the same sentence comes as a stretch but comparing their early and later works is astounding.

In the late 1990s, the group wrote about getting rejected by girls, masturbation, bestiality, bathroom humor, and middle class suburban life.

Once they entered the mainstream, they wrote more seriously, but kept their unique sense of humor. Songs like “What’s My Age Again,” “Dammit” and “Anthem Part II” all tell stories of growing up and experiencing life on one’s own terms.

“Anthem Part II” serves as a great example of this because it breaks the mold of mom and dad holding back the kids.

They explain that parents, teachers, and the people in charge (corporate leaders and politicians) have all failed us and “If we’re fucked up, you’re to blame.”

As Blink got more popular they sung more about serious relationships, cheating relationships, the meaning of life, and adulthood.

They also had a sound that leaned towards the alternative genre. So, a band that started off singing about having sex with your dog ends up writing some of the most poetic music about maturity and adulthood. Go figure.

Sum 41 is a completely different breed of animal in the rock scene because every album sounds completely different and without a doubt shows more maturity than Blink 182.

Sum 41 had its own sense of humor, but never went as far as Blink. They wrote about skating, conformity in society, rebellion, and relationships on their debut All Killer No Filler.

However, their follow-up album, Does This Look Infected featured content that was much heavier than its predecessor’s in terms of lyrics, which were similar to their first album.

But their third album, Chuck, sounds nothing like their usual work. It’s practically a heavy metal album that deals with depression, drug abuse, corruption and suicide.

The band continued to create art the way they wanted to and had complete control of their music.

Surprisingly, their next album went back to their first in terms of sound and lyrics. Underclass Hero, discussed political corruption, society, broken families, and departure.

Having the talent to write about breakups and being rebellious teenagers to follow it up with songs about government evils, broken homes and absent parents should be looked at as very mature development.

Die-hard fans should embrace what their childhood band writes about today because, like them, we grew up and can only sing and write about the same subject matter for so long before it gets old.

To consider yourself a die-hard fan and simultaneously slam your favorite artist because he or she experiments with different formulas is actually childish.

Whether we fight to not become casualties of society or deal with our personal demons, this music will always be here for us. As we get older, it will still be here, just with a different message.


Categories: Opinion

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