Blink-182, All Time Low, and The Wonder Years
by Bobby Benedict
Ask anyone old enough to care about pop-punk and they’ll tell you to shut up about that dead ’90s genre. To many, pop-punk is blink-182 dancing around to “All the Small Things” or any of the litany of similar bands in the ’00s. Those that are scared to like the genre for fear of retribution from the aging alcoholic punks only give credence to early influences like Screeching Weasel, The Descendents, or Bad Religion. As fans of pop-punk age, they are finding themselves doing the same genre damage control for bands from the neon/Myspace-era like All Time Low or even newer boyband-esque ones like 5 Seconds of Summer.
Everyone gets into alternative music somehow. The formula I’ve seen time and again is some band that is the most marketable version of their genre breaks into the mainstream, garners a young following, and then drags those minds out of the mainstream and into better music because those kids have to search for the music they like rather than be beholden to the radio. While that seems sort of condescending, like, “Oh, you’re too good for top 40 music, stupid hipster.” Whatever, this article isn’t for you. For me and many others, the band that brought us into punk was Blink-182. Those songs were packed with teen-angst and a message to rebel against your suburban parents and go to Warped Tour because that was cool back then.
I still love those songs, they take me back, but they don’t represent how I feel anymore. But if I was going to be into Blink then I was obviously going to be into Green Day, then be into Jimmy Eat World, too, maybe jump to Bad Religion, and then oh, who’s that band they’re taking on tour and boom, I’m out trying to find out who Against Me! is. If it weren’t for getting into MTV pop-punk and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games then I might still be buying Celine Dion CDs. Though I have just spent time justifying my path to music, is there enough room for people to suspend their musical prejudices for bands like 5 Seconds of Summer?
Ignoring the former category of those that would lump 5SOS and Blink into the same category and toss it all right in the garbage we can start with one undeniable fact. For their first album 5 Seconds of Summer worked with famed producer John Feldmann who produced bands like The Used, All Time Low, and his own band Goldfinger. For a band that was found on Youtube and then taken on tour by One Direction that isn’t a bad place to start for street cred. The problem with many of these bands that I’ve mentioned is their audience is not the aging punk who strives for Fat Mike status, but as wide an audience as possible including younger and a more female audience which is not where most punk is aimed, if we’re being honest. The gender disparity within the punk scene isn’t a topic for the tail end of a pop-punk opinion piece though, we’ll get to that another time.
In short, those that rail against pop-punk as an entire genre are ignoring a large part of the legitimate grounding that the genre has in the annals of what makes punks, which is finding meaning amidst the compartmentalized chaos that we are all trying to wade through on the way to our 9-to-5. For those that do it for the kicks of tearing down other people in a failed effort to bolster their own punk credibility then go listen to some GG Allin and enjoy drinking alone again. My name is Bobby Benedict and I like pop-punk, let’s fight.
SOUTH DAKOTA HAS POP-PUNK
Some People’s Kids
I’ve known these guys for a while and thought they’ve been through some changes they are still at their core a decent pop-punk outfit. They’ll skirt the line with grunge and get anthemic sometimes but they are catchy and simple which is something I like. They’ve been taking a little break but I’m hoping they’ll be back soon because I really enjoyed some of the tracks they were putting out.
Remember to Breathe
I’ve been following these guys for a short while but they have been a lot of fun. Their music is definitely influenced by bands like Blink, All Time Low, and Fall Out Boy with a reigned in angst and a spirited vocals. If these guys stick with it I’m sure they could find some decent supporting spots for national acts for tours.
Work of Wolves
Work of Wolves is made up of some really great musicians that I’ve seen in some of the other bands that they’ve all been in. These guys are well entrenched in the scene and their synth-pop/punk style is very pleasing to the ears. Their live shows are well produced and energetic and if they went on tour with Motion City Soundtrack I wouldn’t even be surprised, just super stoked. These guys are some of the best in the scene right now.