10 Most Underrated Punk Albums


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Anti-Flag has one of the most underrated punk albums of all time – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Audio Ink Radio names 10 underrated punk albums that need to be heard

Punk is a very prolific genre of music. With songs often two minutes or even shorter, plus simple chord progressions, punk bands from the 1970s to today have often shot out songs and albums much faster than those in other musical genres.

The punk movement blossomed in the 1970s and continued to flourish throughout the 1980s and 1990s. While albums such as The Ramones’ 1976 self-titled debut and The Stooges’ 1973 release, “Raw Power,” helped make punk the massive genre it is today, other underrated punk albums just never got the appreciation they deserved. But, now we’re dragging those albums out of hiding and highlighting them.

The punk rock catalog has many hidden gems. Read on for Audio Ink Radio’s list of the 10 most underrated punk albums of all time. Give us your picks on Facebook here.

10. H2O, “Thicker Than Water” (1997)

Before H20 broke big and signed to Epitaph Records, they introduced their hardcore and punk sound to the world with “Thicker Than Water.” The album is fantastic, offering fun, upbeat hardcore, but it doesn’t get the recognition of their proceeding albums. It should, though, as it captures a talented a young band breaking a new musical scene.

9. Johnny Thunders, “So Alone” (1978)

Johnny Thunders is a regular on best-of lists as a member of The Heartbreakers and The New York Dolls. However, his debut solo album, “So Alone,” is captivating. This record shows Thunders’ versatility as a musician. It’s widely considered one of the most unique albums of the decade.

8. Green Day, “Kerplunk” (1991)

The hate whenever Green Day makes a best-of punk list is very real. But, there’s no denying that the band brought the punk sound to the masses. Of course, “Dookie” got a ton of fanfare upon its major-label release. But, before “Dookie,” there was “Kerplunk,” which arrived on Lookout! Records. The unassuming record sold 10,000 copies its first day and was Lookout!’s biggest-selling album. It also put Green Day on the map and got the attention of Reprise Records, who signed Green Day.

7. The Living End, “MODERN ARTillery” (2003)

The Living End released their third studio album, “MODERN ARTillery,” to a lackluster reception, which is really criminal, because it features some of the band’s best songwriting. Aside from some production choices that left a few fans scratching their heads, “MODERN ARTillery” is a gem and deserves to be heard.

6. The Dictators, “Go Girl Crazy!” (1975)

Who says punk bands can’t be funny? The Dictators’ “Go Girl Crazy!” is a humorous listen that fell by the wayside among the other punk albums making waves at the time. But, as one of punk’s first albums to really have a sense of humor, it’s an important one in the genre’s formation and history.

5. The Muffs, “Blonder and Blonder” (1995)

Sure, many diehards don’t consider Green Day “punk.” But, Green Day were and are huge. They often give credit to The Muffs for signing to a major label. The Muffs beautifully meshed punk energy with pop-fueled melodies, and that combination really came across in their sophomore release, “Blonder and Blonder.” This is about as radio-friendly as a true punk album gets, to boot.

4. Bad Religion, “The Process Of Belief” (2002)

Bad Religion are far from underrated as a punk band, but their album “The Process of Belief” could use some extra fanfare. When Bad Religion albums get mentioned on best-of lists, it’s usually for late-1980s and early-1990s releases. But, “The Process of Belief” is special. After all, the record features the ballad “Sorrow,” which is one of the band’s most beloved tracks of all time.

3. Anti-Flag, “American Fall” (2017)

“American Fall” is one of those celebrated records that didn’t make waves upon its release. But, this albums is choc-full of punk nuggets, and it even communicates the more melodic side of a band not known for that. “The Criminals” and “Digital Blackout” are especially worth a first, second and third listen.

2. Descendents, “Cool to Be You” (2004)

“Milo Goes to College” and “Everything Sucks” are a few of Descendents’ most popular releases. But, “Cool to Be You” is one of the band’s most solid collections, featuring incredible musicianship and that pop-punk spirit. “Cool to Be You” also came eight years after their famed “Problematic” release. Despite the anticipation, the album never quite got the attention it deserved.

1. The Clash, “Give ‘Em Enough Rope” (1978)

The Clash are known for their 1977 debut and, of course, 1979’s “London Calling.” While those are both stellar albums that deserve the spotlight, there’s another Clash album that stands on its own merit: “Give ‘Em Enough Rope.” The release, sandwiched between the aforementioned debut and “London Calling,” shows the band evolving and becoming better songwriters chord by chord. For its place in punk music history, “Give ‘Em Enough Rope” is Audio Ink Radio’s No. 1 most underrated punk album of all time.

Read Audio Ink Radio’s list of the best punk bands of all time here.

Anne Erickson
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