Posted: Jan 12, 2007 9:01 pm
I'd say that "Punk" is a mixture of style, attitude and musical style. Any or several of the following could mark a person/band as punk. Probably, it's best to have a combination of at least 3 of these to avoid being considered a poser.
1. Music with an exuberant, youthful energy. Usually guitar driven.
2. Simple song structures, often chorus heavy.
3. Rough instrumentation. The songs come off like rough cuts or even slightly unprofessional at times. (Leonard Cohen is probably among the least punk musicians in the world, yet his album Death of a Ladies' Man was embraced by the punk movement, in large part, I think, due to the fact that it jumps from style to style (50's doo-wop, country, love ballad, rock) leaving each style slightly fractured. Slightly harder and darker than what is traditional. To me, this is a punk hallmark.)
4. Punk fashions, such as hair dyed in wild colors and styled in spikes, mohawks etc. Denim & leather mixed clothing. Pins & buttons. Piercings. Etc. (This is the most superficial level, an often imitated aspect adopted by many posers, unnecessary and can largely be ignored.)
5. A generally rebellious attitude in both behavior and song writing. This can manifest as:
A. Political awareness and activism or
B. A general rebellious, perhaps criminal, degeneracy. An attitude generally of "Fuck you" especially if mixed with a sense of fatalism. "Fuck the world. Nothing matters."
C. A generally transgressive attitude in life and particularly art. A desire to break the rules and boundaries of genre. An artistic effort to change what is viewed as possible or acceptable either in art or society or both.