A Meg Theory | The Resurgence of Punk and the End of the World

 
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Those who have the absolute pleasure — nay, GIFT! — of knowing Meghan, know she’s one smart cookie. She’s got her ear to the ground and knows whats up, left, right, and center. With her finger on the pulse of the contemporary climate, Meghan’s got some observations and theories to share. 

Eyes up and pencils down, kids.

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Punk is coming back because it is the end of the world. This is a hypothesis of mine, well, the whole punk is coming back bit. What first planted the seed of this idea was a message from Sean regarding submissions from up-and-coming bands to be reviewed by the blog, reading, “is this blink 182 rapping cool now? I keep getting submissions that sound like blink 182 rap songs.” This, however, leads us more towards the conversation of emo-rap which has been blossoming after pioneers such as the late Lil Peep paved the way. Yet, emo-rap although related to this theory, would need its own article, so back to the Punk. 

The theory continued to form as I saw that The 1975 had a new album coming out. I’d been getting inklings of information from Kevin Abstract Instagram stories of screenshotted texts between The 1975’s main singer, Matt Healy and Mr. Abstract about their excitement to release their new music. In Abstract's case, he was referencing music from Brockhampton’s most recent album, Ginger. In Healy’s case, he was referencing The 1975’s upcoming album “Notes on a Conditional Form.” Next, I saw a  Paper Magazine article, titled “The 1975's New Music Is A Hard Punk Pivot.” That led to a listen of the new single People, and goodness was that punk, so much so that you have punk pioneers shouting “this is subcultural appropriation,” lol. 

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Punk rock is about pissing people off, it doesn't want to be accepted, it wants to repel, to make people uncomfortable. So what could be more Punk Rock than pissing off the very founders of Punk Rock itself? But it makes sense. Matt Healey, The 1975, they are intellectuals, they are socially conscious. This political side of them didn’t come out of the blue now that activism is “trending.” Themes such as mental illness have always been present throughout their past works. Further, their most recent album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, is (was?) arguably their most politically charged to date. The track, “Love it if We Made It” references mass-incarceration, fossil fuels, and immigration. It quotes Trump’s “I moved on her like a bitch,” and is pretty much summed up by the line “Modernity has failed us.” 

They, like the rest of us, are depressed. They like the rest of us are trapped in a consumer society, numbed by drugs, alcohol, and product, with a government that has never and seemingly will never be for the people, and they are mad about it. Throw in the fact that these greedy people in power are driving this Earth into a literal apocalypse (ie. the global climate crisis) and things seem pretty hopeless. What better time for Punk Rock?

Punk Rock has always been political. It has always been a voice, a scream against the system.  The 1975 opens up this new project of theirs with the voice of Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg calling for civil-disobedience immediately to combat the global climate crisis.  Then, the single, People, is a screaming call to the people to wake up with lyrics, 

Wake up, wake up, wake up

We are appalling and we need to stop just watching shit in bed

And I know it sounds boring and we like things that are funny

But we need to get this in our fucking heads

The economy's a goner, republic's a banana, ignore it if you wanna.


Punk rock? I think yes, but with a new flavor.  A necessary difference, like how Black Mirror is different from the Twilight Zone; relevancy. 

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The final drop to my theory came from yet another Instagram story that led me to the track 3 Years Sober by 93PUNX and Vic Mensa produced by none other than songwriter, producer, and blink-182 drummer, Travis Barker. A change from the usual indie-rap Vic Mensa I used to listen to while dizzily going about my college days, this is a Punk track. Yet, it's Millennial Punk. A trap-like beat enters first, followed by a guitar riff reminiscent of 90s bands such as Nirvana, The Offspring, or the Foo Fighters.  It’s 90s influenced because that’s what Millenials grew up hearing, yet its got today’s flavor and today’s problems oozing out of it in the lyrics. A bit emo-rappy too for sure. 

So what does this all mean? Uncertainty. Uncertainty is the most certain thing in the world today. Just like we have no idea what horrifying news stories we will wake up to tomorrow, we are just as unsure where this new Punk movement will go and what it will sound like. I don’t know what it will look like, but I know that something’s coming and if that something just happens to be the soundtrack to the end of humankind, let’s hear it. 

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Sean Maldjian