Painful breakups and social awkwardness and angst-ridden lonely nights. Sometimes those teenage years took a toll on my young fledgling heart.
And to make matters worse, adults never understood. They could never comprehend how the way a girl looked at me (or didn't) could adversely affect my ability to turn in homework on time. They just could not believe that the pressure to not be myself became so intense that everything else just faded into the background.
But someone did understand. Someone knew exactly what to say to get me through. From the anthems of loneliness to the uplifting reminders that things would get better, pop-punk kept my little heart ticking through it all.
To this day, these songs still cause little prickly twinges of nostalgia to dance around in my chest when they pop up in my headphones.
10. "Still Trying" (Midtown)
Everyone has had relationships ruined because someone had a big mouth. Even if we couldn't muster the courage to call the offender out, Midtown had our backs.
9. "Stupid Kid" (Alkaline Trio)
Being young and in love and fairly stupid doesn't always end well (I know this for a fact). No one knows about the relationship between love and regret better than Alkaline Trio and no song better exemplifies this than the aptly titled "Stupid Kid."
8. "Hey" (The Movielife)
There is a first time for everything. In a lot of cases, that time came between the ages of about sixteen and nineteen. This song helped us remember all of those special times long after we had managed to screw them up.
7. "Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today" (Fall Out Boy)
Remember all of those perfect lines that popped into your head four seconds after your ex-girlfriend walked away from you junior year? Fall Out Boy was always there for us to deliver those lines for us, on time and in perfect pitch. Our favorite: "Let's play this game called 'when you catch fire'/ I wouldn't piss to put you out."
6. "True Believers" (Bouncing Souls)
No matter how many seemingly terrible things happened during my teenage years, my best friends were always there to help me through it. I want to thank the Bouncing Souls for reminding me of that.
5. "Seventy Times 7" (Brand New)
Did you ever get so fed up with someone in high school that you just wanted to badmouth him/her in front of every single person he/she knew? And then have them run off of the road and die in a car accident? Yeah, me too. Brand New helped me vent all of that frustration in a questionably-healthy manner.
4. "10 Minutes" (The Get Up Kids)
Listening to The Get Up Kids is like listening to a transcript of my 17-year-old self's worried thoughts set to some killer music. No song quite captures the flurry of doubts that ran through the hormone-laced pathways of my brain like "Ten Minutes."
3. "Hit or Miss" (New Found Glory)
Breakups can be difficult, especially when you are a melodramatic teenager and you force yourself to remember every good time you ever had with your former flame. New Found Glory made the regrets and reminiscing a little bit easier to handle.
2. "Freakish" (Saves the Day)
Everyone knows how it feels to be a voiceless loner struggling for recognition. Saves the Day's Chris Connelly forced out this song to show us that we are not alone. New Jersey's own prince of pop punk gave us all a voice with this solemn ode to anonymity.
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1. "Dammit" (Blink-182)
From the moment "Dammit" begins, the song is something of a paradox. Its iconic opening riff and catchy sing-along chorus seems to promise the listener another goofy and fun addition to the Blink-182 catalog, yet the lyrics paint a picture of heartbreak, confusion, and impending adulthood. The tune encompasses all of the pain, joy, and utter chaos of "growing up."
These songs still make my heart race to this day and send a rush of different emotions surging through my body. Did I miss any? Probably. If I had all of the space and time in the world, I could probably name one hundred more. Let me know if I left any of your favorites off of the list and I will appreciate (do little of substance to make up for) it.