I love punk music, but it’s not the most versatile genre.
There’s only so much you can do musically when all you have is teen energy and a rudimentary grasp of your instruments. And most of it was covered by The Ramones, a brilliant band whose most famous lyric is: “Second verse, same as the first.”
That’s why The Clash dove into reggae, Johnny Rotten formed Public Image Ltd, and The Replacements ended up writing country tunes.
So, what makes the Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts special?
To put it bluntly, they’re sad.
No, not sad like The Cure. The Blue Hearts still follow the punk standard of playing 50s rock-and-roll songs faster and with more attitude. But their melancholy is deep and persistent and stems from social rejection.
It completely changes the vibe of their particular brand of punk. They’re not agitated icolonoclasts. Instead, they’re the kids in school the teachers told you to stay away from, but are actually mostly harmless.
‘Owaranai Uta (Endless Song)’ is the band's quintessential track. All of its defining characteristics are front and centre – simple catchy guitar melody, headbanging groove, anthemic chorus, and earnest lyrics.
“Let’s sing an endless song for the sake of this crappy world
Let’s sing an endless song for the sake of all the worthless people
Let’s sing an endless song for the sake of me and you and them
Let’s sing an endless song, so tomorrow we can laugh.”
It takes those messy, depressing feelings about injustice, isolation, and the impossible weight of being human and turns them into the manic energy of a mosh pit. It’s imperfect and sloppy, angry and tender, idealistic and jaded.
And, in the end, what could be more punk than that?
This article is part of Stripe, bdnews24.com's special publication focusing on culture and society from a youth perspective.