1. Bobby Fuller Four - I Fought The Law
2. The Clash - Guns of Brixton
Bankrobber would have been a better choice. A deeper track, more direct in it's references to crime, I know. I linked it back there so you can watch the video if you're into the idea. But I've had Guns of Brixton on heavy rotation lately. It almost sounds like a protest song, and a lot of the lyrics seem relevant to American issues at the moment - but a closer look at the lyrics make it clear this is about organized crime. Doors are kicked down, people are shot in the street, the threat of death row hangs over head - this song has got it all.
3. Brody Dalle - Don't Mess With Me
It's a badass punk chick singing about standing up to a bunch of guys with guns pointed at her, do you need more? I've been jamming to this one a lot since the theme of being surrounded by people with guns pointed at you, and feeling like you're going to be okay because someone else is with you is a big one in my work-in-progress. And because Brody Dalle will never not be ice cold cool.
4. Big D and the Kid's Table - My Girlfriend's on Drugs
Look, I know - you're not here for ska. Too bad. The Boston ska scene doesn't get enough credit and a whole hell of a lot of it is about drugs and crime. The title of the song is "My Girlfriend's On Drugs" so I feel like you know what it's about. This is more silly than anything, but that's one thing 90s ska really handled well - serious subject matter presented in a highly danceable, super kinetic, candy coated package. Not everything has to be so fucking heavy all the time.
5. The Taxpayers - Some Kind of Disaster Relief
I know, two ska songs on one list. You guys are going to send me hatemail, aren't you? The point of these lists is to appreciate crime fiction where you don't expect to find it, and this Taxpayer's song answers that. It's a hell of a lot heavier than the Big D song above, tackling drug addiction, skipping town, kids with guns, and extreme poverty. There's a series of crime novels hiding between the drum beats.