Looking back on the punk explosion of the 1970s, it is remarkable just how many great bands there were.
Looking back on the punk explosion of the 1970s, it is remarkable just how many great bands there were. But perhaps more impressive is the enormous range of styles played by the dozens of acts that embodied the movement. All those genre-bending brands—from the bristly, ear-shredding roar of the Sex Pistols to the restrained, sly pop of Joe Jackson—and all of punk's giants and obscure heroes are represented on these four discs, which begin with the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" and end with Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart." While perusing these 100 songs, one cannot help but be struck by their seemingly eternal freshness. Though it's not exactly a greatest-hits of punk, this history lesson—aided by a beautiful 116-page booklet—is pure punk bliss that leaves one disgusted with the generic, ingenuity-free dreck that passes for rock music these days. If punk is dead, it lives forever here.—WO