Why posicore is the perfect summer music.

I’ve done a list of my top ten favourite summer anthems before, so this isn’t another one of those. But instead, I want to talk to you about potentially the greatest subgenre of punk. Posicore, or positive hardcore, is awesome. And with my carefully written guide, some of which will most likely be from Wikipedia, you’ll come to appreciate it too. Posicore, as the title of this article suggests, is the best summer music ever. Even better than 90s pop punk and that’s hard to beat. So, first of all…

…A Brief History
Posicore, as a separate subgenre of hardcore, came into play in the 80s with the formation of the Youth Crew movement; a bunch of bands who wanted to play a little differently to their contemporaries. In time, this then became posicore, but first up, who were these Youth Crew bands? Youth Of Today were the forerunners, and their music was optimistic, moralistic but still heavy as fuck. Others included Gorilla Biscuits, Cro-Mags and 7 Seconds. Even today, there isn’t that much difference musically – while you may be expecting something a little more melodic, that’s not necessarily the case, considering Comeback Kid can be counted as a posicore band. And Gorilla Biscuits, one of the first purported bands of the subgenre, were not quite atonal but definitely not as slick and poppy as the latest Descendents offering. This is still all about raw power – but not aggression.

That’s where the posi comes in. Posicore bands don’t want to sing about how they hate everything from your mother to your mohawk. Posi in itself is a slight misnomer; not every posicore song is happy and upbeat. But it’s all about change and getting off your ass and doing something, which is something I’m more than happy to listen to. Youth Crew and posicore aren’t quite the same thing; Youth Crew was the movement, posicore is the result. But both are/were progressive and exceedingly rad. You just have to look at the lyrics of bands like Crime In Stereo and well… even H2O, no matter how much they suck. You can’t deny that they’re either celebrating or denouncing something, and generally for the right reasons. A lot of posicore bands are straight edge, and the majority of the Youth Crew movement was. I suppose that’s one more reason for me to love it, but we’ll come to that in a bit.

The key thing to remember is that posicore is all about change, optimism and pretty much keeping your shit together. But how does this have anything to do with summer? Well…

…Summer’s about positivity, right?
Summer’s the best time to be getting into stuff. Whether that’s papercrafting, starting up the band again or starting up kick ass punk zines on the internet (that’s what I chose two summers ago), you’ve got all this sudden energy and enthusiasm for new stuff! That probably has a lot to do with the fact that the majority of people that read this are still in education, or thanks to my mother, work in the education business. Even if you’re not, you probably still remember summer as the time when you had all the time in the world to do anything you wanted. Posicore has that same spirit, and there is nothing more inspiring than driving around, singing along to songs that make you feel awesome about the world. Feeling lazy? Why not stick on some Stretch Arm Strong (I swear I am the only person in the world who still likes this band) and get inspired!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when it gets to summer, I just feel so much better about the world. As a result, I want to listen to stuff that gets me pumped, gets me inspired. That’s why every time I go running, I stick on Set Your Goals (well, that and the fact that their cover of Put Yo’ Hood Up makes me giggle inside every time) and think of what I’ve got to do to change. For the better. In fact, in a summer a long time ago, I started thinking about…

…That whole straight edge angle
I became straight edge when I was 13. We’ve had the story before, several times. I’m not going to carry on about it. It can’t be ignored that a lot of posicore comes from straight edge bands though, and bands that aren’t afraid to talk about their edge. Good Clean Fun even have it in their name. While I don’t listen exclusively to straight edge bands – hell, one of my favourite bands is Steel Panther and they’re all about the sex and drugs – I always feel a certain affinity with them and I tend to stray more towards straight edge bands when I’m picking out my hardcore. Partly because I can identify with them and their lyrics a lot more, but mostly because it makes me think about why I’m straight edge. Even if you’re not, posicore isn’t exactly pushy about the subject in a lot of places and generally picks up on it subtly. Unless you are in fact Good Clean Fun and then comedy angles on straight edge can be found a plenty off the starboard bow. That said, I always associate straight edge with summer and that whole previous section about positivity, making posicore my soundtrack of choice in these months. And, I guess not all of it’s that heavy…

…It’s kinda fun as well!
While the older Youth Crew stuff was hardcore to the max, the majority of posicore coming out these days is in fact reasonably melodic. At least, to the point that hardcore punk can be. A lot of posicore bands have noticeable pop-punk influences, best seen in bands like Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals. And let’s face if, if you completely reject my argument that posicore is the best summer music, you can’t deny that pop-punk is where it’s at – let’s see you have a summer where you completely ignore Millencolin. But posicore is so much more than pop-punk, because while pop-punk is fun and probably better for parties, it just lacks that passion that posicore does. It has less drive, probably because it’s wanting to get laid at the party but is throwing up on the way to the bedroom and posicore’s trying to make sure everyone else is having a good (and responsible) time. Pop-punk is easy, posicore is less so because it requires a bit of thought. It’s possible to enjoy both at face value, but if you care about music and you care about the true worth and messages that music can bring, then posicore is where it’s at.

Check out a list of posicore bands here to get started. Get involved! Just don’t listen to H2O, it’s bad for your health.

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