Playlist: High School Punk, Ska, and Hardcore


I thought I was a badass my first few years of high school. I skateboarded, had liberty spikes, and covered my clothes with studs, safety pins, and patches. I was an anarchist and already mocked straight-edge kids by wearing X’s on my hands while drinking and smoking. I got sent to the principal fairly often, had my fair share of detentions, and also got stuck doing in-school suspensions. Of course, I actually wasn’t a badass at all; I lived with my parents in the suburbs and got decent grades, making the majority of my visits with the principal and rent-a-cop nothing more than stern talking-to’s about “running with the wrong crowd.” I even ran track two years, which is not hardcore at all.

But even though I was really just your everyday piece of shit suburban kid acting out, those days did ultimately shape who I am today, and a lot of the punk rock ideals I held then represent themselves in my life currently, even if they have been more realistically modified. And where did I come in contact with all these politically-charged ideas? Music of course.

Discovering punk was one of the most important things that ever happened to me. It opened me up to world of counter-culture thought and aesthetics. From punk I came across hardcore, ska, thrash, and everything in between. I realized that music could directly affect my life, and it was worth my time to hunt for new bands. The radio was garbage, and it represented inane ideas for mainstream suckers (an idea I have never fully shaken). Today, music is one of the most important things in my entire life, and punk helped me figure that out.

So I present to you a Spotify playlist containing some of my favorite bands and songs from that important era in my life. It is by no means comprehensive, not only because that would be a hell of a lot of music, but also due to the limitations of Spotify’s library. Hopefully this will bring back some memories for at least a few of you, and for the rest of you, I hope it makes you want to break a window.

Listen to the playlist here.

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