Love it or hate it, pop-punk has definitely re-established itself within the music industry in recent years, yet again becoming almost a staple in popular music. 2015 was a cardinal year for pop-punk, amongst other genres, seeing BMG buying Rise Records (home to the likes of Knuckle Puck, The Early November, PVRIS, Transit, Man Overboard and more), and bands such as 5 Seconds of Summer, Fall Out Boy and McBusted, with clear pop-punk influence, beginning to truly dominate the charts again.
This could be big news for pop-punk fans like myself (especially since we’re all gonna have to find some other lame thing to like if it gets cool again), so let’s take a look at 5 of the pop-punk juggernauts showing the rest of us that pop-punk isn’t actually dead at all!
The Wonder Years are doing huge, amazing things in the scene, most recently donating a large amount of money earned to one of 4 charities of the buyer’s choice. The band’s sophomore album, The Upsides, is known to be one of the most definitive albums in modern pop-punk, and sold nearly 2,000 units in its first week (which is a pretty big deal, since the band don’t actually consider Get Stoked as part of their career). Being one of the first bands to really pick modern pop-punk up and bring it back in to the limelight, The Wonder Years definitely deserve everything they get.
Second on the list are Brighton boys Gnarwolves who, while not strictly pop-punk, definitely fit well in to the scene, and have found their place on tour with the likes of The Story So Far, Blink 182 and Lower Than Atlantis, earning them a rightful place in the pop-punk ranks. Between skating and smoking copious amounts of THC, the band formed in late 2011 and heavily toured their 3 EPs, Fun Club, CRU and Funemployed, before releasing all three in a full length album, as well as an eponymous full length. The band really seem to have spent a great deal of time on their music and on playing shows, and it’s super cool that they all still work in bars, but it’d be even nicer to see them doing music full time!
My next set of UK lads are Neck Deep, who had possibly one of the quickest success stories I’ve heard in a long time, and who seemed to split pop-punk fans completely down the middle, causing the increasingly popular ‘UK POP PUNK’ Facebook group to fracture and argue about how much they sucked, and which member had nicer hair. After releasing EP ‘Rain In July’ on the 11th of September 2012, the band shot in to the limelight, touring almost non-stop and being signed to well known pop-punk label Hopeless Records under a year later, being signed quicker than The Beatles. The band have since played incredible spots on huge festivals, and have shared stages with music legends, giving pop-punk fans everywhere either shakes of anger, or tears of joy. Wherever you stand on the matter, it can not possibly be denied that Neck Deep have genuinely helped the UK pop-punk scene so much, and their success story is really one to be marvelled at.
Moving back over to the US, four bearded easycore professionals have been fighting for pop-punk since all the way back in 2001, and people may argue that they are some of the genre’s best. While their musical direction has changed on more than one occasion, and I honestly thought we’d lost that incredible Rise or Die sound from my childhood forever, their EP ‘Go Down In History’ got rid of every doubt I had, and I’m sure a good amount of fans feel the same way. Four Year Strong are the longest running band on this list, making them kind of like the dad’s of modern pop-punk, and after hearing their eponymous album, the future seems exciting for the bearded quartet.
Last on the list are Australian band 5 Seconds Of Summer, who stormed the charts and radio with their boyband-esque, catchy arena tunes and alternative image. The band get bashed quite a lot in the pop-punk scene, regardless of their obvious talent and incredibly well-written songs, because of their tour early in their career with chart topping British pop band One Direction. This is pretty unfair, as a band should be allowed to tour with any artist and still be seen as they are, and 5SOS are certainly not a pop band. If anything, fans should be happy that pop-punk music in some form is being exposed to the masses, giving more people a gateway in to pop-punk and allowing more bands to gain better exposure on a huge scale.
If there were a pop-punk hall of fame (come on Hoppus, you know you want it), these bands would certainly have a well deserved place there, and I’m excited to see what more the genre has in store!
Photo Credit: Brandon Hambright