Punk rock doesn’t have to snarl 24/7. In fact, we love it when loud guitars and throaty screams are used to proclaim love’s myths and virtues. After all, even the thickest leather jacket can’t protect one’s heart from love. Here’s a list of great indie punk songs with varying degrees of sappiness, complete with a Sap Level, so you know which song you should put on depending on how fuzzy-wuggy-huggy you’re feeling.
Vivian Girls – “Can’t Get Over You”
Sap Level: 8. I-should-leave-you-but-I-can’t sad sap. There’s an awareness here that the romantic object is a total shithead, which helps prevent it from being blindly sappy. Whereas with the next track…
Wavves – “Green Eyes”
Sap Level: 10. …damn dude. Thirsty much? This is that unrequited-love-heart-on-denim-sleeve sap, which we’ve all experienced, so stop pretending.
Jay Reatard – “You Mean Nothing To Me”
Sap Level: 6. Ironic sap. Jay wants to get to know someone but is too afraid to try, so he lies to himself that he totally resents her. I wonder if that strategy works at house parties.
Ty Segall – “Lovely One”
Sap Level: 9. You know that tough-looking punk couple you always see on your street, their tattooed knuckles always intertwined with each other’s? This is the song they dance like monkeys to when no one’s looking.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “You Been My Baby”
Sap Level: 5. Whoa fella, you’re obviously stoked on this relationship, but maybe tone down the Charles Manson vibes? On second thought, don’t do that. Like at all.
Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
Sap Level: 7. This song is basically what white male camp counsellors hear in their heads when they remember a summer romance.
Grinderman – “No Pussy Blues”
Sap Level: 2. Nick Cave leaves little room for sentimentality when he’s got bonking on the brain. He does care for the song’s frigid antagonist, though he would probably like her a lot more if she’d give him some good loving.