There is a high possibility that you have heard a pop punk song at least once in your lifetime. Hell, there is probably no way you have not heard a track from either Green Day, Blink-182, The Offspring or My Chemical Romance. That’s right, all of these bands are considered to be underneath the banner of the aforementioned pop punk genre. There is of course different branches and varieties of the genre, but they are all a part of a larger scene that has garnered as much hate as admiration since the mid-1970’s.
Pop punk is a fusion genre that consists of punk rock music and elements of pop music at varying degrees. It appeared in the 1970’s and grew in popularity throughout the 1980’s, all the while it’s sound evolved with the times and became even more commercial radio friendly. The U.S. gets the distinction of being the birthplace of pop punk as the genre gained significant popularity in California. Independent record labels adopted the do it yourself (DIY) approach to releasing music and by the 1990’s bands like Green Day and The Offspring were selling millions of records worldwide. Many people consider the late 1990’s as the peak of popularity for the pop punk genre as this was when Blink-182’s critically acclaimed album Enema Of The State was released.
During the 2000’s a new and fairly controversial branch of punk appeared. This unique offshoot was called Emo Pop and was the combination of punk and emo rock. This made the already angry sounding punk become even more emotionally driven. While it has never really been proven, this was the start of the criticism against the genre as a whole. For whatever reason if someone was not a fan of emo pop then there was no way in heck that they would be willing to listen to even one second of a song. Not only that, but there was not just one popular emo band that hit the scene. They came in a wave of combat boots, eyeliner and pretty much any article of clothing in black. Singing about death, broken relationships and depression is not usually something that would be released on the radio, however the ridiculous amount of popularity these bands received may have been the key to the mainstream audience and public.
I remember the first CD that I ever got was Blink-182’s self-titled album and I loved that disc like a bowl of ice cream with peanuts. It was like musical marijuana, I could not stop listening to it and for awhile I believed that I could relate to the issues brought up. I was of course just fooling myself as I did not have a dysfunctional family or any real problems in my life at that moment in time (I sound cocky but it’s a fact). It made me feel cool and it was like I was part of a bigger movement that was sweeping the country. It was shortly after this that I realized the band that I idolized had been broken up for a couple years, but I was still very smitten by their discography.
This was during the time when you could hear Green Day, Blink-182, Weezer, Fall Out Boy, and other related bands on the radio every single day. Pop punk had taken over the airwaves and it looked as if it would never slow down. A couple years later the unthinkable happened and the terrifying momentum the genre had garnered slowed down considerably. No, it was not dead and no it had not disappeared off the face of the earth. It had merely taken a backseat to all of the major pop artists that come and go every year (seriously where do they find them?). The pioneers of the genre are still touring and making records that turn the heads of millions of listeners around the world, but they do it on a less publicized level.
Many people hate what is foreign to them and the mixture of raucous punk and the catchy hooks of pop music can be a jarring combination for an unwilling listener. It is no wonder that people turn their noses at the idea of spending any amount of time listening to a pop punk ballad. this of course also has to do a lot with people’s taste in music and someone who only loves Country will most likely not enjoy Green Day. Currently the most popular bands in the genre are either the older more experienced acts or the up and coming artists that I affectionately call the “Warped Tour Bands” (what the kids are listening to). I would not say that pop punk is completely gone, it is just in a growing phase. There will eventually be another band from the same genre that will receive the same amount of popularity that the more well known bands are use to. All we have to do now, is wait for the inevitable second coming of pop punk.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I would love to hear yours on the subject of pop punk today, in the future or even in the past.