small text medium text large text

Songs about Dysfunctional Families
Featured Collection May 2010

In the 1970s and 80s, American punk bands' version of family life was full of henpecking parents, rebellious kids, and suburban boredom. Get your fill of dysfunction with the following albums:

Big Black
The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape
Jordan, Minnesota's families' alleged history of ritualized abuse was eventually proven to be false, but in the Big Black song "Jordan Minnesota," the horrible memories "will stay with you until you die."
Circle Jerks
Group Sex
The Circle Jerks "Don't Care" about your nice car, nice parents, or your nice home.
Milo Goes to College
Singer Milo Aukerman had to temporarily leave the band to go off to college, but many of the songs he sang on this album (e.g., "Parents," "Marriage," and "Suburban Home") dealt with the issues of home: nagging parents, sexless marriage, and being a clone in the 'burbs.
Rocket to Russia
In "We're a Happy Family," the unrelated members of the Ramones sing a sarcastic song about, amongst other things, pill-popping family members.
Social Distortion
Mommy's Little Monster
In "Telling Them," troubled front man Mike Ness sings, "My mommy's worried about the way I drink / My daddy can't deal with the way I think," but finds solidarity in a community of other show-going punks.
Under the Big Black Sun
Singer Exene Cervenka and bassist/vocalist John Doe's on and off relationship seemed to inspire many of X's songs. In "Because I Do," Exene asks, "What kind of fool am I? / I am the married kind."

Timothy R. Williams
Music Librarian
April 2010