Post-Punk Through the Ages
Post-punk has been much revisited in recent years, to the extent that it can now be classified as a genre rather than a period. It's become barnacled with all manner of associative buzzwords and bywords: "angst," "politico," "agit-funk," "bleak," "stark," "angular," all of which are appropriate, although overused. Much of what it yielded, however — pansy electronic music, hedonistic pop, pseudo-intellectual noodling, and so forth — was considered a "betrayal" by the lumpen keepers of punk's supposed true spirit.
Yet despite key, essential characteristics — an awareness of pop and rock as artifice, a belief that ideas were more important than musical proficiency — post-punk was also predicated on the idea that, following punk's Big Bang, everything was now deconsecrated, up for grabs, to be used and discarded as appropriate. At one extreme, avant experimentalists This Heat declared as part of their slogan, "All channels open." At the other, full-on pop end of the spectrum, ABC's Martin Fry could declare that he was a punk and always had been. Hence, post-punk's sheer variety and unlikely manifestations and outcrops. After a while, post-punk's initial countercultural intensity and disdain did falter, to be replaced by a jaded, post-modern irony, and then by a new wave of pop opportunists who dispensed with irony altogether. However, a more recent generation, recharged by a newfound sense of urgency, and in some cases political disaffection, has taken up the still-usable cudgels of the late '70s and early '80s.