How to write a punk rock song

Written by mika lo
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How to write a punk rock song
(Photo by mzacha)

While punk rock music originated in the 1970s, its influence is still felt in today's music. Artists such as Green Day and The Dresden Dolls create their own styles within the punk genre. Although writing a punk rock song that sparks serious headbanging from the crowd is possible, constructing the right blend of lyrics, emotion and music takes practice. Learning to write a punk rock song can help you express yourself and demonstrate your inner rock star.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Get lyrical inspiration from punk rock legends. Groups such as Bad Religion and The Clash helped define the genre by cranking out angry, anti-establishment masterpieces. Listening to their music can put you in the frame of mind to create your own masterpiece. Turn up the volume on classic tracks such as "Faith Alone" and "Police and Thieves" before writing sessions. Study the way the lyrics and music are constructed to get inspired.

  2. 2

    Define your mood. Punk rock songs usually fall into the broad categories of lyrical, political, angry and humorous. Starting with one of these moods in mind can spark a cool song idea. Don't be afraid to have multiple moods expressed in your song. For example, an angry song can still be lyrical and a political song can still be humorous. Think of personal events that make you feel strong emotion when trying to write a song that other people can "feel."

  3. 3

    Keep the verses short. Punk rock song verses are short and candid. This is your time to say what you can't say at work or in other, more formal settings. Let the words flow on paper as you think them to avoid losing your purest thoughts and emotion.

  4. 4

    Write a catchy chorus. The chorus, or "chant," in a punk rock song should release the unbridled energy of the song's theme. Create a memorable chorus by using repetitive, short phrasing. Altering the tempo and delivery method of the chorus can result in serious headbanging. Some of best punk rock songs are identified by the words in their choruses.

  5. 5

    Walk the line between expressing emotion and maintaining your rage. There is a distinction between expressing emotion and whining. Find a way to describe your lonely or angry feelings without coming across as needing sympathy. Ask a friend to review your song for signs of overly emotional lyrics.

Tips and warnings

  • Keeping the chords and rhythm simple allows your lyrics to stand out better.
  • Avoid being a carbon copy of your favourite punk rock band.

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