Folks today has been one of my worst days emotionally in a long time. I probably should drinking some tea and try to go to a calm space. Unfortunately, instead I've had 30 ounces of cold brew, just bought a monster, and now I'm going to write a mean newsletter about punk or whatever.
People Magazine made a sort of gallery of "faces of punk rock in 2021" and it's formatted to be read vertically and swiped through like an Instagram story. It's a fashion article headlined like a music article.
Normally I wouldn't even open this kind of People article. Typically I keep the rage bait I'll read down to just emo discourse listicles. I'm only human, I can't resist making several shithead tweets about how much I don't respect 3rd wave emo whenever writers I do respect make a "50 best emo songs of the decade" type list. We all have our flaws. These are mine.
Categorization in punk and its adjacent genres is an evergreen topic, though. What is punk, what is emo, what is diy, what is orgcore... It's always being discussed. It's something I like about talking about music. I don't relate to the people want to be post genre so bad because I think discussing movements in genres over time and the growth of how we discuss music is really interesting. What people want when they say genre is over is the ability to not be pigeonholed. When people say an artist is beyond genre description they just want you to think it's more interesting than it is. Genre matters and cultural signifiers that are associated with genres do too.
Being able to have language to describe a look or sound or a particular time period of a particular sound is important.
The problem with "punk rock" is that it's just an outdated term. It doesn't mean anything sonically anymore. If you looked at me and said a band is punk rock I would think you're joking. The term itself is the butt of the joke. It means nothing just like "alternative rock" and "indie rock" mean nothing. Punk, however, has an established aesthetic in a way most music genres don't (though if you said someone was embracing the indie pop aesthetic I'd be able to conjure up images of neon v-necks just as vividly). That aesthetic is, I guess, either a watered down version of spikes on a leather jacket or like pop-punk-skater-slacker vibes.
It's so deeply embarrassing on every level to call a 42 year old Kardashian "Punk Rock" just because she's dating Travis Barker. Leave her out of this. I don't care about Travis Barker, but let's not drag Kourney through the mud. Avril Lavigne is an icon of punk cringe and we love her for it. Miley is more glam rock than she is punk and better off for it.
Megan Fox... again, let's respect Ms. Fox more than this.
MGK is walking rage bait so I will not engage.
What I do find relatively interesting is the discussion around punk aesthetics in younger people. None of it feels authentic or interesting. Whenever you can look at someone and see a stylist, that's never a good thing.
I don't care about the pop punk revival because I find all the music unlistenable as it all calls back to music I don't care for. I don't like Blink-182 and I don't like Paramore much and I don't like riot grrrl stuff and I don't especially care for new All Time Low. Emo rap stuff can be cool (usually has decent unique aesthetics at least), but it's not For Me as a genre, if ya know what I mean. This all said, I still think from a style standpoint someone is failing our tiktok pop punkers. Like come on, putting a teenager in a hoodie is barely even skater adjacent enough to be pop punk. It's all the same streetwear stuff from 2015 just with loose fitting pants instead of leggings. At least put a skateboard brand's logo on it! Come on! Give Nessa a cooler hoodie!
As far as I'm concerned, the least you could do is make these kids look like wannabe members of Odd Future you'd see by a skatepark circa 2012 minus the 5 panel hat. At least do that. Stealing from the skaters never fails.
On the other side of the spectrum we have Yungblud, though, whose stylist has decided we need to commit hard to ripping off 5 Seconds of Summer's Michael Clifford circa 2014. I simply cannot back it. The super thick eyeliner, the red hair.. it's so much but not in a good way.
This is all so weird and just feels lazy. If this is how they really want to dress then okay. Whatever. But I just can't imagine that a 19 year old wants to dress like Andy Biersack in 2013. It doesn't even really match up with the "alt fashion" trends on tiktok. Willow Smith looks sick and Jaden Hossler's outfit is cool, but the problem with big Punk Rock Aesthetics is that it looks like a costume. It always does. And the casual stuff is fine, but it's boring fashion that's been dominant in celebrity culture for over 5 years now.
At the end of the day talking about celebrities and punk rock is dork behavior. I'm gonna go do work I get paid for.
Score: 2.3 / was this mean?