Converse shoes that had seen better days, a bright red tie with a black shirt, pints of cider and blackcurrant at the Barrowlands, a Dead Kennedy’s badge despite only knowing one of their songs – oh, how I miss those days. Pop-punk music was at it’s strongest during the noughties and was a huge part of my adolescence, along with many others like me. Bands like Green Day, Blink-182 and Sum 41 are probably the most successful and well-known from the genre but are really only the tip of iceberg. The Offspring, Alkaline Trio, The Loved Ones, The Dropkick Murphy’s, The Bouncing Souls, Less Than Jake, NoFX and Rancid (both of whom are more punk than pop punk but did contribute a huge part to the genre), Anti-Flag, New Found Glory etc. – just some from a great collection of bands who love palm muted guitars and backing vocals consisting entirely of ‘woah’. What a time to be alive.
In recent years however, things have quietened down massively. Green Day had some terrible albums and a singer meltdown, Sum 41 also had a massive singer meltdown and Blink-182 split up, fought and made newer but not as good side projects – the list goes on. It was a rough few years. I cut my hair, stop buying Kerrang magazine, started to be polite to people of authority. It was dreadful. I was merely getting by with my old albums and maybe the odd gem from the second hand CD shops which are also slowly dying. If you see someone with a Rancid t-shirt or a Mohawk walking past, you simply nod and look back to the ground, nostalgic of how it used to be.
Last year, something strange and wonderful happened. I was still disenfranchised from the genre, – I had even bought a blender (no punk should ever own a blender, Operation Ivy had a song about it) – when my cousin, who is the drummer in my band (trying to keep that fire burning) told me about news of a new Blink-182 album. I immediately dismissed this as their previous ‘comeback’ album was so-so. Some good tracks but few memorable. This new album however, due to issues with Guitarist/Singer Tom Delonge, would feature Alkaline Trio singer Matt Skiba. He was the natural choice as he filled in for Tom during a tour and was met with great fan appreciation. I loved this turn of events but it split the fans in a massive way. I heard a couple songs and thought, ‘this could work,’ and with that, I decided to paddle back into the once Jack Daniels filled waters of the pop-punk scene. How glad I am that I did.
Sum 41 had a new album about due to be released. The singer had got over his issues and was back and according to reviews/YouTube comments they were ‘back to their best’. I listened to two of the songs available early from the album, with a small amount of trepidation, and I could not believe it. Not only were these songs amazing, they may just be two of the best songs the band has ever written. Seriously, go and listen to ‘Fake My Own Death’ right now, it is tremendous. Unless you’re a metal fan. Don’t listen to it, it’s not for you. ‘God Save Us All (Death to POP)’ is also a thumping wee tune that you can certainly get your hips swinging to. This led to me diving even deeper and I was to be rewarded for my years of loyalty.
Green Day had a new album due out. They put three ‘lyric videos’ on YouTube and not one of them was bad. The gentle crescendo into pounding chorus of ‘Still Breathing’ is a great song to listen to whilst hovering or dancing in the back garden. NOFX had a new album out as well which featured the satirically wonderful ‘Oxy Moronic’. Blink-182’s album was very well done and songs like ‘Cynical’ and ‘Brohemian Rhapsody’ were amongst some of their best work. Dropkick Murphys’ had released some songs from their new album ’11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory’ which were fist-pounding classic ‘Murphys’ anthems. A friend recommended a new(ish) band called The Menzingers to me which was a great move as they are brilliant, listen to the track ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore’ and you’ll see that they have great credentials. We were also spoiled when the Godfathers of Pop-Punk themselves, The Descendants, dropped an album in 2016 for us all to enjoy. Firm staples of the genre, Good Charlotte and Yellowcard, also had album releases but they were both bands that I have never really listened to so I passed on those but still, it’s all good times.
All-in-all it has been a great year for the genre. I have a ‘different’ haircut again and found the old Dead Kennedy’s badge. I’ve still not plucked up the courage for the red tie and black shirt but we’re getting there. You should give some of these bands a listen if you get the chance, especially if you’re one of the diehards like myself. One huge positive from the ‘Pop-Punk Revolution’ that we can all enjoy is the release of all the classic albums from the genre on vinyl. To be able to hold NOFX’S ‘Punk in Drublic’ or Green Day’s ‘Insomniac’ in record form is worth the ridiculous price I paid for an album I already own. It has certainly revitalised my love of the Pop-Punk genre, so much so that I have discarded the mobile phone as my music player, dusted off the old CD player and have begun pouring over the old albums with delight and nostalgia.
Which is what it’s all about really.