Best Punk Albums From the Early 2000s

The cd that jumpstarted my love affair with music was the 2001 Warped Tour Compilation. The mix had an electrifying blend of street punk and...

The cd that jumpstarted my love affair with music was the 2001 Warped Tour Compilation. The mix had an electrifying blend of street punk and pop punk bands. It was like heroine to my ears. I had never heard such intense and equally satisfying music.

I listened to the following albums religiously all throughout high school. These bands had many imitators but none compared to their distinctively angry disposition and exciting songwriting. Their music was equally moody and inspiring for me.

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1. Anti-Flag - Underground Network

Anti-Flag's Underground Network is one of my desert island discs. It's aggressive, infectious, and dynamic all at the same time. They seamlessly blend pop, punk, and reggae to deliver one of the best punk albums that came out of the early 2000s.

Justin Sane's lyrics take a sledgehammer to the corrupt U.S. political system. This album not only made me buy my first drum set but it also opened my eyes to the flaws in our political, social, and economic system.

Standout Tracks: "Angry, Young and Poor," "This Machine Kills Fascists," "Underground Network"

2. The Casualties - Die Hards

The Die Hards album cover shows the band decked out in their leather jackets, ripped jeans with patches, and brightly-colored spiky hair, in true punk fashion. Their music was equally uncompromising. In fact, there will never be any punk singer who can ever be as good as Jorge Herrera.

The album mainly deals with themes of justice, rebellion, oppression, and their adventures touring all over the world. Side note: They are by far one of the most exciting bands to watch live. They take heavy '77 punk influences and add their New York City spin.

Standout Tracks: "Nightmare," "Die Hards," "Made In N.Y.C."

3. Clit 45 - Self-Hate Crimes

Clit 45 was one of the darker and moodier punk bands around the early 2000s. They mixed heavy, dissonant guitars with lyrics about drug and alcohol use and going to shows. The album's lyrics were clever and disturbingly poetic.

Self-Hate Crimes was Clit 45's best and final album. I'm glad I got to see them live before they disbanded. I actually saw them at the first ever concert I went to. I will never forget the rush from being at very front of the stage.

Standout Tracks: "Can't Stop the Bleeding," "Kids Aren't Alright," "Just Exist"

4. The Unseen - The Anger and the Truth

The Unseen were a Boston-based band that used their music to voice their anger and frustration. Their musical style resembled that of late 70s punk bands from England. It was their lyrics that influenced and motivated me throughout my adolescence.

The Anger and the Truth centered around themes of freedom of expression, individuality, and never giving up. I even quoted some of their optimistic lyrics in one of my college essays about the positive influence of punk.

Standout Tracks: "Live in Fear," "Something to Say," "The Anger and the Truth"

5. Cheap Sex - Launch Off to War

Cheap Sex is Mike Virus' band after The Virus broke up. Launch Off to War was their debut onto the punk scene. It was heavy, politically-charged, and energizing. There was no other punk band that sounded like them.

Like most punk bands, their lyrics pointed fingers at those in power. In fact, they have a song titled "Dick Cheney." I'll just say, they aren't too fond of the guy. One of my favorite songs is a hidden song at the end titled "Fuck Emo" that pokes fun at the superficial nature of some who identified themselves as "emo."

Standout Tracks: "Launch Off to War," "Consume and Consume," "Take a Chance"

These albums were on constant rotation on my cd player in high school. I will always return to them because they shaped my point of view. What were your favorite albums from the early 2000s? Let me know in the comments below.

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