Various Artists

Punk You!, Vol. 1: Music for the Discerning Slacker Punk

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Punk You is far from being the definitive collection of '70s punk, but as a collection of solid punk songs it works just fine. Catchy classics like Generation X's awesome "One Hundred Punks" (featuring a young Billy Idol!) and the Buzzcocks' hilarious "Orgasm Addict" rub shoulders with obscure gems by Stiff Little Fingers and the Rezillos. Many of new wave's biggest artists show off their punk roots on this collection. Blondie and Adam Ant (performing here as Adam & the Ants) pretty much sound the same as they would when they became popular (which is not a bad thing), while a pre-"I Want Candy" Bow Wow Wow turns in the surprisingly good "Radio G String." The best of the smaller groups is definitely the Stranglers' angry "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)," a raging Irish-flavored punk track that would later be covered by hardcore metal act Prong. And the album does contain three of the very best punk songs the period had to offer. "Oh Bondage (Up Yours)" is the X-Ray Spex song that would serve as one of the major inspirations for the riot grrrl movement of the '90s, featuring the tortured wail of Poly Styrene over a mess of guitars and saxophones. Wire's "Reuters" is a monstrous dirge, predicting a terrifying apocalypse over a mountain of guitar sludge. Finally, Killing Joke ends the album with "Eighties," the band's cynical prediction of the decade that killed punk rock (which features a riff almost exactly like Nirvana's "Come as You Are," ten years before Cobain's anthem). Fans of British punk probably have most of these songs already, but for those curious about the bands that followed in the footsteps of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, this is a great place to start.

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