There’s no way to deny it: At this point, pop-punk is back. Love it or hate it, those high school jams from the first half of the '00s have circled back around as part of the current “emo revival.”
On top of that, pop-punk seems to be back in force. Popular music is cyclical, and it appears that the teenagers who grew up wearing Vans and listening to Blink-182 are now making their own music. See, for example, 5 Seconds of Summer.
Get ready to jump, scream, and sing your teenage heart out, because here are the 10 best pop-punk songs that you might have forgotten about.
10. “Ocean Avenue” — Yellowcard
If there’s one band that sums up 2003-04 pop-punk in a nutshell, it almost has to be Yellowcard. The Jacksonville-based band has actually put out nine albums over the last 18 years, but the only time they’ve been culturally relevant in the mainstream was with their 2003 smash hit. They might not have lasted the test of time, but don’t pretend like you didn’t love this song. For that summer, we were all 16 and it felt so right.
9. “Josie” — Blink-182
Not to be confused with Blink’s later tune “Online Songs” (which starts out with the word “Josie”), this early track set the tone (and the tempo) for future pop-punk love songs. Seventeen years later, every guy can still appreciate the qualities that Mark Hoppus’ made-up girlfriend represents. Particularly if she looks like Alyssa Milano.
8. “My Own Worst Enemy” — Lit
If Yellowcard represented early-2000s one-hit wonder pop-punk music, there’s no competition for who the predecessor was. Lit never did anything else worth noting, but this one is the late-’90s anthem of making bad decisions. If you haven’t drunkenly belted out the chorus to “My Own Worst Enemy” with an equally inebriated group of friends, were you even really ever a pop-punk kid?
7. “Dear Maria, Count Me In” — All Time Low
Okay, so this one came from the next generation of pop-punk bands, but it’s every bit as good as the other songs on this list. Considering that they even started in high school by covering other pop-punk songs, “Dear Maria, Count Me In” is really as well-crafted of a pop-punk song as you can get. As much of the newer wave of pop-punk music is, it’s by pop-punk fans for pop-punk fans, and it’s damn good.
6. “The Middle” — Jimmy Eat World
As unintelligible as the chorus might be, there’s no denying “The Middle” its place as one of the most iconic pop-punk songs ever. It’s catchy, uplifting, and fun to sing along to even if you don’t have any idea what the actual words are. Oh, and it might also be considered one of the best songs to ever come out of Arizona.
5. “Misery Business” — Paramore
To be fair, Paramore almost didn’t get included on this list because it’s tough to know exactly where to draw the line between “emo” and “pop-punk.” We decided Paramore was pop-punk enough for the list, whereas contemporaries like the Used, My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, and Brand New all fell to the dark side. Regardless of how you feel about Paramore now that they’re wildly successful and selling out shows all over the world, their first (and most popular) big hit is still a song for the ages.
4. “Punk Rawk Show” — MxPx
MxPx has been labeled as all kinds of punk: skate punk, pop-punk, Christian punk, et cetera. What doesn’t change (regardless of the subgenre) is that “Punk Rawk Show” is as good of a punk song as you’ll find anywhere. It’s anthemic, it’s fast, it’s loud, and it’s about punk rock. What could be more pop-punk than that?
3. “My Friends Over You” — New Found Glory
When your grandkids Google “pop-punk” decades from now (or however they learn about stuff then), the music video for New Found Glory’s biggest hit should absolutely be the first result. NFG never saw the huge crossover success of bands like Green Day or Blink-182, but they put out some of the best semi-serious music of the 2000s. “My Friends Over You” is New Found Glory at their finest, with both the song and the video representing perfect examples of music during our high school years.
2. “Longview” — Green Day
One of the best songs off of one of the best rock albums of all time, “Longview” is a classic on every level. Although Green Day’s legacy has been somewhat tarnished by the last decade of their existence, let’s not forget that they were arguably the best punk of the decade-ish before that. Maybe if Green Day went back to writing songs about being bored and high, they’d be able to recapture their youth.
1. “All the Small Things” — Blink-182
The best pop-punk song and the best pop-punk video of all time, “All the Small Things” is unrivaled when it comes to both immediate relevance and long-lasting impact. From the palm-muted power chords to the nasally vocals singing somewhat self-deprecating and comedic lyrics, it has everything you look for in a pop-punk song.
This list originally published on August 31, 2015, and was updated for publication on November 29, 2016.
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