Raging Gracefully: The Best Newer Music by Old Punks

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Loud music ceased to be strictly a young person’s phenomenon a very long time ago. What’s more, if you came of age during the punk and post-punk eras and fervently believe in the prevailing ethos that anyone can do it, then there shouldn’t be anything amiss about continuing to make a racket even if you now qualify for a discount transit pass. Besides, Johnny Rotten said you should never trust a hippie—but he wasn’t so specific about anyone over 30 (or 50).

Nevertheless, the warhorses of the era still contend with an ageist tendency that’s unfortunately common. There’s no lack of public enthusiasm or critical acknowledgment of the early musical innovations and successes on which the reputations of the acts in this playlist were staked. Fans are happy to see their aging-but-spry heroes play old favorites on reunion tours, but alas, they typically zone out during new songs that the artists are genuinely excited to play. These latter-day addendums to revered back catalogs somehow feel superfluous, even when they come to outnumber the LPs that already occupy prime real estate in your collection.

Now in their 41st year of activity—save for a few hiatuses—Wire are one of the many acts who say bollocks to that. This week sees the release of the band’s 15th album, Silver/Lead, which is just as vital as anything in their history. The same degree of vim and vigor distinguishes a diverse array of songs on this playlist, from peers who emerged alongside Wire in the punk/post-punk era of 1976–1982 and who have recently reunited (PiL, The Pop Group) or rudely refuse to die (New Order, Pere Ubu, Mekons). Here’s to you, magnificent geezers.