In the second edition of Song Of The Day, we're sticking in the punk realm, but with a song I feel more of ye might actually give a listen as it's not screamy af, it's RVIVR's Wrong Way/One Way. It's a brilliant rough edged pop punk jam, but also one of the songs that validates just why this genre, punk is one of the most important artistic things our species has been able to create.
Punk was created by misfits, the drug addled, the ethnic minorities, the working class, the alienated, the ones aware of how shit everything was and wanting to change that. Yet despite all of this history, it's still been a really hostile and reactionary place for a lot of people, especially if you're queer or gender non-conforming, like one of this band's vocalists, Mattie, formerly of Latterman, another sick rough edged melodic punk band.
They've put themselves on the line, not only by writing songs about these issues and talking about them, but by pressing for their support bands to have female and queer members, demographics who get fucked over with this stuff no matter how well their music is actually doing, and trying to make their gigs properly safe spaces. They're a band who truly embody the punk spirit of defiance towards mainstream culture and the accepting spirit people blab on about but don't turn into actual action. But enough context, let's talk about the song.
It's a great slice of pop punk, strong melodic hooks yet with enough grit to keep it the right side of the Jawbreaker/5 Seconds of Summer divide. There's a lovely guitar solo, some decent turns of pace, and musically it is one of the strongest cuts from rough edged pop punk. Yet it's the combination of the lyrics with this soaring, stirring tune that makes it worthy of being part of this column. It's a life affirming song about being OK with being what you are, whether queer or gender non-conforming, just get a load of this chorus:
"It's like a wrong way on a one way street
Promise to myself that I just don't keep
You can hate me now
But I'll stick around
Don't fit (full of shit) struggle with identity"
It's the perfect combination of anger and defiance, yet also acceptance, and feeling comfortable in your own skin, with the name you've chosen for yourself and the way you've chosen to present. I've struggled a lot with gender dysphoria in the past despite coming to terms with an identity, and having a song that not only validates my position, but is also something so very life affirming, something I can shout along to, made by a scene that can be so fucking hostile to people like me. My first and perhaps one true love, sick fuckin' riffs, hasn't left me behind and is with me and that's a really powerful thing. The official YouTube clip is linked at the top, but I'm gonna give ye a live clip here that shows these people are for real with all they stand behind.
Punk's got a lot of problems and issues, but it doesn't have to be this paradise for homophobic upper middle class gobshites to knock seven shades of shite to each other too. It's for the migrants, like Downtown Boys. It's for the indigenous, like Australia's finest decolonial death metal band, Dispossessed. Despite them largely being written out of its mainstream history, it was started by an all black band from Detroit called Death, and it's got Bad Brains, Suicidal Tendencies, Pure Hell and far too many others scattered throughout the various subgenres to mention and do justice in this article. It's for women and queer people and gender non-conforming people, like Punch, Nervus, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, I Hate Sex, Camp Cope, Against Me, and the band in question here, RVIVR, it's a truly powerful musical force of nature outside of mohawks and safety pins and sensationalist headlines, and it's something I still believe in, no matter how hard that might get.