At the end of the twentieth century, grunge had left the building, and pop music was going through its most decadent era, full of bubblegum artists created by record companies to satisfy adolescent hearts. It was in this society of teens who felt alienated and ignored that the pop punk genre was born from. This spinoff from the rebellious sounds of the late seventies and early eighties was a far cry from the punk movement despite its name. It was the time for extreme sports, power riffs, Hot Topic clothing, lots of hair product, and music that wanted to appear tough despite its cute lyrics about summer crushes and getting in fights with parents in the mall parking lot.
Pop punk is a genre that best represents the millennial generation: easy to play, with punk music’s speed and attitude, songs about the myriad of teenage feelings related to love and disenchantment. However, not everyone wanted to be in, and those who rejected the style would call it faux punk.
Dozens of bands that surged in the late nineties and early two thousands embodied the pop punk lifestyle. Everyone wanted to have fun, party, and forget about the gloominess of grunge. The following records will take you back to your teens and the moment when this subgenre of punk became our gateway to rock music.
Enema of the State (1999) – Blink-182
The trio from Pogo is perhaps the most emblematic band of the time. They personified the pop punk spirit with their funny lyrics and fast sound. Their third album, and their first with drummer Travis Barker, became their most famous. Songs like “All the Small Things” make it into a turning point for the genre.
Dookie (1994) – Green Day
Billie Joe Armstrong and co. impressed the entire world in the early nineties when they released this album in the middle of the alternative rock and grunge era. It set the stage for what was yet to come. “Longview” and “Basket Case” became the pioneers of this new sound.
Smash (1994) – The Offspring
Who could forget the catchy Indian riff from “Come Out and Play”? This California band made the most of the madness this genre created in terms of record and ticket sales. This album continues to be a fan favorite that introduced plenty of fans into the world of pop punk.
All Filler no Killer (2001) – Sum 41
This Canadian band became one of the main events in the movement. Their videos are a clear reference to the skateboarding culture that was intrinsically tied to its popularity. Songs like “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip” became their calling cards to stardom.
Sticks and Stones (2002) – New Found Glory
One of the important elements of the pop punk world was friendship. Going out and doing stupid stuff with your buddies were themes that would trump love interests and whatever else was going on. “My Friend’s Over You” became the anthem of this.
Box Car Racer (2002) – Box Car Racer
This album stood out for its darker, heavier, and more mature side compared to the previous works of Tom Delonge and Travis Barker. It featured powerful guitars, wrath-filled lyrics, elaborate arrangements, and a more organic composition altogether. It came with the eventual shift towards the genres that would follow.
Bleed American (2001) – Jimmy Eat World
With a melancholic undertone that reminds us of The Cure while still bursting with the charisma and adrenaline of pop punk, the song “The Middle” became one of the all-time favorites of our teenage years.
The Green Album (2001) – Weezer
They took us from skate to geek while the guitar took center stage. While many will argue Weezer should not be included in any Pop Punk list, it’s actually one of the most important bands of the genre. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t sung “Island in the Sun” at some kegger or pool party.
If you’re still riding the high of this blast from the past, take a trip to your teens with these 8 songs of teen nostalgia. Looking for some romance tips from music? Here’s a couple of songs that will explain why you shouldn’t be waiting for someone to love you back.
Translated by María Suárez