Top 5 Oi! Acts

I said there might be some discussion of Oi! on this blog and here it is. I know it’s far from traditional skinhead but what can I say, I enjoy the stuff. In creating my top five lists I look at three basic categories: the significance/influence the artist had on the genre and music in general, the artist’s talent and musicianship, and the strength of the artist’s catalog and songwriting — not to mention a whole lot of personal preference. To be honest, picking my five favourite Oi! bands wasn’t that difficult. In a genre that’s quite frankly overcrowded with mediocre soundalikes, the truly great Oi! bands stand out easily. Having said that, I could easily fill up a top 15 list, which is why I included a number of honourable mentions.

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I could listen to Shock Troops repeatedly, for hours, and not get bored. While some may argue the band is more “street punk” than Oi!, it’s clearly not run of the mill punk and it’s clearly bloody brilliant.

Another band some may argue is more proto-Oi! than Oi!, the Cockney Rejects gave name to the genre and their anthemic tunes are some of the best in the genre.

I love this band. These guys just might take the overall win in the songwriting category. It’s astonishing that a band with such a small initial output in the genre could have so many incredible songs. “We Are the Boys”, “Razors in the Night”, “Propaganda”, “Voice of a Generation”, and “Warriors” are all killer.

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This is a band that was way ahead of its time and wrote some truly amazing songs. “Stark Raving Normal”, “Napalm Job”, and “Such Fun” are particular standouts in my opinion.

Definitely one of the most talented and probably one of the most musically interesting Oi! bands. This is another band of which I’d be hard-pressed to get bored.

Honorable Mentions

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The first, last, & only political post you’ll read on this blog

There’s a phrase that often appears on banners and placards at patriotic marches and demonstrations in Poland: “Stop Totalitaryzmom“. That about sums up my political beliefs as they relate to a scene so often ruined by political beliefs.

In case the numerous references to ska and the 1960s haven’t make it clear, I have zero time of day for boneheads. I have English, Polish, and Jewish blood in my veins. All of my grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought the Nazis in the Second World War. One of my great-grandfathers died fighting them. If you think waving a swastika around is something of which to be proud, maybe one day my steel caps and your teeth can meet.

Having said all that, I have come to detest SHARP types as much as I detest neo-nazis. In my experience they are almost always communists or other radical leftists pushing a political ideology just as repressive and repulsive as that of the boneheads.

Bonehead v. Sharp. Two idiotic sides of the same idiotic ideological coin. Image Copyright: Oscar Hertin 2019.

That’s to say nothing of the insane social justice warrior mentality that seems to have infected parts of the Oi! scene today. I’ve seen these sorts of neo-bolshevik numbskulls claim that bands like Combat 84, Condemned 84, and 4Skins are legitimately racist or fully blown RAC bands. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Anyway, the point of all this is that if you want to talk politics then go be a political activist elsewhere. If you want to learn about some great clothes and great music, then you’ve come to the right place.