Sure punk rock is often about anarchy and politics and partying, but it can also be about love. Whether it's for Valentine's Day, or for any other time of the year, you may find yourself wanting to put together a mix disc or playlist of those perfect punk rock songs. We've taken the work out of it for you, compiling ten of our favorite punk rock songs, both old and new, with links for a fast download (and even links to some great video clips of the songs). Feel free to use this list to put something together for that special someone; we won't tell where it came from.
These DIY darlings from Boston got their start as a ska punk band in 1995, but the years have seen them evolve and mature as musicians, while remaining relevant the entire time. Big D today is a band that's "Fluent in Stroll," a sound all their own that fuses ska, reggae, rock and R&B. It's a pretty solid sound by a solid band that was never steadfastly ska, and by making their own sound, they continue to be their own band.
Taken from 2009's Fluent in Stroll, "We Can Live Anywhere" is a testament to running away until the location is perfect, as long as you're taking someone special with you.
While the Ramones were best known for the fast, formulaic, short songs about goofy subjects that characterized their sound and created an indelible mark on punk music in the U.S., they also played a lot of music inspired by the sounds and harmonies of California rock bands that had come before, such as the Beach Boys. Often, these crooning tunes took the form of love songs, as is the case with the self-explanatory "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend."
Actually a cover of a '70s song by a short-lived, somewhat obscure California punk band The Simpletones, "I Have A Date" appeared on 1995's Live Fast, Diarrhea, an album not surprisingly predominantly filled with the humor the Vandals have made their forte. In that environment populated with juvenile jokes, "I Have A Date" stands out for its innocence and sincerity.
They're a psychobilly band with a flair for the macabre, but that doesn't stop Nick 13 from penning the occasional love song, as is the case with "Forever Fades Away," the first single from 2007's Music From Regions Beyond. Granted, he does sing about a dark garden where the two fell in love "like the razor's kiss," but it still manages to avoid being too morbid to make for a good love song.
The title track from the band's fourth full-length album, "Hopeless Romantic" finds the Bouncing Souls at a point in their career where they're beginning to experiment with their sound, but still holding on to the punk intensity they started out with. Today, the band has been together for over 20 years and are still going strong, but this classic profession of love with the self-deprecating line "I'm kinda' lazy and I kinda' stink, but I'll clean myself up for you" is still a song that sits high in their catalog.
A Seattle-based punk band that's inspired by new wave and pop punk bands like the Buzzcocks, the Briefs play fast, upbeat quirky songs that range silly love songs to straight up punk anthems. This track, taken from 2005's Steal Yer Heart, is a song that would make the Buzzcocks proud, as frontman Steve E Nix plays with perfectly crafted, yet quite simple, pop lyrics ("You're pretty cute, you're pretty tough, I'm stuck on you, yeah, I know I'm stuck") and revved up classic pop punk tempos.
Staring in 1978, the Descendents are one of the pioneers of American pop punk, and their propensity for well-crafted pop punk love songs, and pop punk in general. The biggest item for debate would be choosing which song to use. I opted with "I'm The One," a bittersweet tune from 1996's Everything Sucks about unrequited love, where the singer is bemoaning a situation where he's the friend of a girl he really likes, and while she goes through bad relationships, she never realizes that "I'm the one, I've been here for you all along."
The most commercially successful band and song to hit the list, this song from 1999's Enema Of The State is a song that frontman Tom DeLonge wrote about his wife after she complained that he'd written many songs about girls he'd known, but never any about her. As such, the song is a testament of love to her, and reveals some real details of their lives, including the line "she left me roses by the stairs," which is from a night where she actually did just that.
Taken from the band's debut full-length Goddamnit, "Nose Over Tail" is a perfectly written punk love song from a band that was at the height of their career in creativity and style. The juxtaposition of chaos, clamor and sweet feelings carried in lines like "your voice like the sound of sirens to a house on fire" is about as good as songwriting gets, and Matt Skiba's delivery is both sharp and tender. It's good to see that the band, who departed this sound after their first two albums in favor of something more commercial, have begun to reexamine it with 2010's This Addiction.
No list of punk rock love songs would be complete without "Punk Rock Girl," the most popular song from Philadelphia's humorous punk band, the Dead Milkmen. The band employed jangly punk melodies and an absolutely juvenile sense of humor, and this song is no exception. Even so, there is something inherently sweet about images of standing on the tables of the Phillie Pizza Company or causing chaos in a mall with that special punk rock someone.
Many have felt that way about this song, and MxPx even covered it in 2009, on their covers collection On The Cover 2.