Best punk albums: 15 to 11

15. Oi! The Album – Various Artists (EMI, 1980)

This album should be considered a historical artifact, capturing

the attitude and sound of a brief period in the United Kingdom. Full

of piss and vinegar, these bands represented a unanimous

feeling of disgust for society and politics. Many of these tunes

became anthems for the working class and the reemerging

skinhead culture.

The Cockney Rejects kick off the album with the now popular

multi-purpose chant “Oi, Oi, Oi.” All the players are here that were

indicative of the spirit of the time: the Angelic Upstarts, the 4-Skins

and the now legendary Exploited.

The Exploited staked two tracks, “Daily News” and “I Still Believe In

Anarchy.” “I’m not afraid of having a fight/And I’m not ashamed

about getting drunk/And I don’t care what you say/Cause I believe

in anarchy.”

Straightforward and honest, this album spoke volumes for

thousands of youths in the UK. Once again, the old adage “punk’s

dead” was defeated.

Featured tracks: “Oi, Oi, Oi” “Guns For The Afghan Rebels” “I Still

Believe In Anarchy”

14. Dropkick Murphys – Do Or Die (Hellcat Records,


File under “soundtrack for the working class.” It’s difficult to listen

to this disc without welling up over the strife and turmoil the

American blue collar worker has endured over the past fifty years.

Made up of equal parts Oi!, traditional Irish folk and `77 style punk,

the Dropkick Murphys continue to be Boston’s leading export

second only to the Red Sox.

Unity is the one word to describe this already monumental album.

The Murphys pay homage to two lost friends on the tracks “Noble”

and “Boys on the Docks.”

This piece of work can be appreciated by more than punks alone.

A version of “Cadence to Arms” establishes the tone on the album

with full bagpipe accompaniment. They immediately tackle the

aforementioned working class pride on the album’s title track, “Do

or Die.”

The Murphys are all too familiar with the deterioration of unions,

belting out lines such as “The once steel tough fabric of the union

man/Was sold and bartered away/Fed to money wolves in the

Reagan years/Caught a drift in greedy ninety’s days.” The chorus

is sung with more conviction than most celebrities reciting the

national anthem at today’s sporting events; “Your dreams are in

danger and `We Must Rise’/Our time has come we are under the

gun `It’s Do Or Die.’ “

Enduring friendship is the other prominent element “Do Or Die”

highlights on “Memories Remain.” “Well we started shooting

hoops now we’re sipping Black and Tans/From the park to the pub

was the course we ran/The times have changed but friends

remain/My heart and soul’s with you/Cause one thing’s for sure/I

always swore I’d never turn my back to you.”

“Do Or Die” is best heard at your favorite pub with a pint of

Guinness in hand.

Featured tracks: this album should be listened to only in its entirety

from beginning to end.

13. NOFX – White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean (Epitaph,


Originally titled, “White Trash, Two Spics and a Kike,” it was

changed for obvious reasons. NOFX makes this list to capture

what was representative of the Epitaph sound of punk music in the

early `90s, along with bands such as RKL and SNFU.

NOFX is one of the those “funny bands,” trading critical acclaim for

toilet humor. The album is full of puns and pokes, jabs and jokes

NOFX has become notorious for.

A couple of the more amusing ditties are a cover of Minor Threat’s

“Straight Edge” and “Liza and Louise.” “Liza and Louise” is lead

singer Fat Mike’s story of a woman coming into her new identity as

a lesbian. “Liza’s had enough of men/She says, she won’t get

burned again.” The song continues into “pleasures of the flesh”

and more descriptive activities from the bedroom.

Another track worth mentioning is the nostalgic, old-time sounding

“Buggley Eyes” that champs the lines “Have you ever gone to

sleep with Bo Derek/And woke up with Bo Diddley?” Makes no

sense, but stirs up a laugh.

Featured tracks: “Liza and Louise” “Soul Doubt” “Please Play This

Song on the Radio”

12. REO Speedealer – REO Speedealer (Royalty,


Mix the following contents, then freebase: the complexity of the

Ramones, the sense of humor of a high school dropout and the

sheer power of a diesel-belching 18-wheeler.

Clocking in at just under twenty minutes, these fifteen tracks move

along at a speed that rivals metal gods Slayer. Lacking a

significant amount of time, one might think boredom would set in

after a couple of listens, but quite the contrary. Sinister riffs and

hooks remain embedded in one’s mind after initial exposure.

Formed in 1994, the band had to drop the REO from their name a

couple of years ago in a cease and desist order from the guys in

Speedwagon. Speedealer tours relentlessly, having played 309

dates in 1999 alone. How? Drugs. Lots of drugs.

The `Dealer, as they prefer to be called, insist their lyrics are not to

be taken too seriously. Their lowlife, white trash persona is evident

on, well, every track, but is highlighted on “Crank Bait,” “Screamer”

and “Pussy.” On the latter, lead singer Jeff Hirshberg belts out the

lines “Talking ain’t shit/Baby it ain’t me/Yeah, you got to feed

it/Yeah, you got to feed it,” in reference to the song’s title.

There is no band out there right now who is playing harder, faster

or louder. Grab a copy of this album to tide yourself over until

seeing them live.

Featured tracks: “Turkeyneck” “Teenage”

11. Rocket From The Crypt – Scream, Dracula, Scream!

(Interscope, 1995)

Despite what’s written in the liner notes of this album, “Punk is

dead,” Rocket From The Crypt cannot deny their basic identity.

Rock n’ roll at heart, this is album has an attitude that is all punk.

“Used” opens with the lines “You used to be a lot like your

mom/you used to be a lot like you dad/You used to be a lot like a

son of a bitch/And that’s the way it goes.”

Their sound is about as lush as it comes, including an array of

non-traditional punk rock instruments like Glockenspiels, tubular

bells and a vast assortment of orchestral strings.

Their unorthodox recording style has stood the test of time thus far.

Rocket From The Crypt wasted no time throwing punches from the

get go on “Scream, Dracula, Scream!”

The album is solid throughout, but the best tracks “Young Livers,”

“Drop Out” and the macabre “On A Rope,” standout as tops on the

front end of this disc.

Featured tracks: “On A Rope” “Used” “Young Livers”

-Boonie Boone