In the ’80s, many a cloth-eared critic and social dullard thought punk was just a mindless fad. Here in 2020, we know better than our parents ever did. But there’s still time for them to catch up. Because these punk albums of 1983 haven’t lost any of their potency. This APTV video rundown shows exactly how crucial hardcore was, both sonically and socially.
Our punk albums of 1983 list leans toward hardcore significantly. We are absolutely sure hundreds of mixtapes with this lineup of bands and records were created. Both coasts are significantly represented, and even the Midwest gets a few of their titans slotted in. Legends abound here, and some are still active. But there’s still a significant number of outfits who brought the fury from the periphery. Our list isn’t all about America either, thanks to one battalion of Australians.
What’s really interesting about these punk albums of 1983 is how punk became an attitude and a thought process. Yes, there were thousands of bands who were adhering to the loud ‘n’ fast playbook. They just didn’t have the songs to make people remember. None of these bands made a record as big as say, Thriller. But the work of these artists has become even more resonant over the years. Consider that punk-poet troubadour who was influenced by the Clash. How about being on the ground floor of the straightedge movement? Can you imagine what your life would be like as an openly gay frontman of a hardcore band that year? In Texas, no less? For real.
Being real is what drove people to punk in the first place. Yes, a lot of those concepts and ideologies have been watered down and commodified over time. But in 1983, the honesty and the danger were still there. Between COVID-19 and the state of the nation, this selection feels more on point than ever before…