Re: Ramones vs The Sex Pistols (Artists of the Day)
posted at 11/3/2010 12:39 PM EDT
Well, it depends on how you define "political" and "philosophical" - and it also depends on how valid one thinks a political or philosophical statement is. There are those, for example, who feel that if a statement of such calibre comes from someone with a high-school education, then their opinion is not a valid one because they lack seven years of Art History at Ivy League College (note: this is not directed at any poster on this forum).
"God Save the Queen" (by the Pistols) was one of the most banned songs in Britian's history, though I think the band itself wondered why anyone would call them a "political" band.
The thing with musicians is that they don't sing about what you (and again, I mean the "royal you" - not anyone on this forum) think is political...they sing about what they think is political. As an example, the majority of U2's American fans probably have no clue what "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" is...nor do they care. And if they did know, they still wouldn't care because it doesn't affect them. But it affects U2 - and is significant to their Irish fans. Does that make it a non-political song because it has no affect on American fans, or because it holds no significance here in the States? "New Years Day" doesn't affect fans in the States either....but is a very significant political statement.
Musicians express their thoughts, ideas, and philosophies through their music. One may not agree with it, but that does not invalidate what they are saying. Or millions may agree with it, but that does not make what they are saying true. Music is a personal experience...sometimes shared by fifty people, sometimes shared by millions of people.
Did the Pistols make a meaningful contribution to the political dialogue? Well, the political dialogue of the 70's was anti-establishment, anti-war, and anti-calling-soft-rock-rock-and-roll (well, perhaps not so much this last one...). Yes, they carried their anti-establishment attitude on tour, and in their songs, and in the controversy they caused. Other bands did it better, and longer, but that still does not invalidate the splash the Pistols made.
My own worthless opinion, of course.
As for defining punk...well, other than the rather vauge "it is what it is", or the rather simple "three chords and the truth"....maybe I'll just go with this:
This is from a fan magazine called Sideburn that was out in the 70's....
Everytime I thought of a way to define punk, I thought of other examples that fit the same definition that were not punk music.
If anything, I think I'd say Punk is stripped down music that is existential in it's attitude.