Sam sets Steve up with a Spotify account, and he’s pretty grateful about it. He’d always liked music okay but it was more Bucky’s thing. But now there was just so much of it, all these musical niches, it’s impossible not find something to listen to.
The stuff they used to play is listed under “oldies”, and it feels like it, now. Coming out of his hi-tech speakers, the big brass sounds and smooth voices sound muted and compressed. He only listens to that kind of music when he’s feeling particularly maudlin, on this beat-up record player Sam assured him was “hipster as hell”. He covers the windows, turns off his phone, and lies still on the floor, because everything else might feel softer these days, but floors are still floors.
He likes most of the new stuff. Some of the pop songs and hip hop Sam introduces him to feel great when he’s working out, but a lot of the times the references go over his head. Electronic just becomes background noise to him. R&B feels like the stuff he used to listen to, but more overtly sexy, which is not a bad thing. Rock and roll is a revelation. The classic rock Tony likes to listen to is pretty good, though there’s a little too much about hobbits, wizards and aliens for him enjoy for extended periods of time.
Eventually, Steve starts to figure out what he likes the best.
Tony’s over one day because Pepper insisted he needed to get out of the lab, and Steve thinks the last time Tony was out in nature was the day he, Steve, and Thor beat the shit out of each other in the forest. He shows up in front of Steven’s door with a half-built robot under one arm and a six-pack of some fancy local IPA in the other.
(Bucky’s been coming and going at odd hours since he came back, always through the window quietly, and with this another person over there’s no way in hell he’d show up. For that reason alone Steve wants to kick him out, and he feels guilty about it, and he also feels guilty for letting Buck feel left out. So since he feels guilty one way or the other he has to lets it go for at least a little while, and leaves the window open just in case.)
Tony’d given up on his robot and was updating the software on Steve’s laptop as an excuse to snoop through Steve’s stuff. Steve’s never really been a person to hide anything, so he doesn’t mind.
“What,” says Tony, not a question. “Steve, why do you have the complete discography for the Descendents saved in your Spotify.” Also not a question.
“So I can listen to all their music?” This feels like a test.
“Steve,” says Tony. “Steve. All your saved music is punk music.”
“I like it,” says Steve. He’d looked up the definition of the word punk after he’d seen the category for the first time, eyebrows raised. It had changed some in the years since, but it still kind of applied to him.
He didn’t tell Tony that growing up he’d never heard anything so angry in his life, and how it exhilarated him. How the messages of growing up sucked, it was okay to be pissed and reckless and fighting all the time. That it was normal to be in your mid-twenties and not knowing what you’re doing with your life. That it’s totally fine to just want to be your friends all day and how awful it is when the person you love doesn’t even remember your name (or their own name. Steve’s not completely versed in the genre but there’s probably a song out there like that too).
Listening to it feels like losing fights in dirty alleyways and falling in love with your best friend and making stupid decisions. He likes it, is all.
“This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen,” says Tony. “Captain America listens to pop punk.”
“Everything sux today,” Steve mutters into his coffee.
“I heard that,” says Tony, “and I also heard the X in ‘sucks’.”
"No you didn’t.”
“Yes I did. Just like you can hear it when I say this rox my soxs.”
Steve paused. “Yes I did. How did you do that?” Also, what does that mean?
“Oh my god,” says Tony. “You listen to Bikini Kill. Please, oh please, can we leak this to the media? My birthday is next month.”
“I’m sorry, do you have a problem with girl power?” Steve says in his Sternest Dad voice. “Do I have to tell Pepper?”
“It’s just….not what people expect. From anyone from your era, really, but especially you.”
“Why not?” Steve’s genuinely curious. He listens to musics in a vacuum, doesn’t read music blogs or discuss it with people. He jumps from one section to another entirely on whims, and how intriguing a band’s name is.
After awhile Tony says, “Because Captain America is not punk rock.”
“Excuse me,” says Steve, “but how is punching Hitler in the face not punk rock?”
1. Naked Raygun - Soldiers Requiem
2. The Bouncing Souls - '87
3. Frank Turner - Peggy Sang the Blues
4. The Front Bottoms - Motorcycle
5. Bikini Kill - Double Dare Ya
6. Sharks - Luck
7. Sleater-Kinney - Surface Envy
8. Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't)
9. The Menzingers - Good Things
10. Beach Slang - Dirty Lights
11. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
12. Descendents - Everything Sux
13. Ramones - Sheena is a Punk Rocker
“Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m wasting precious, good, expensive beer on the punk rock princess over here. I should have brought PBR.”