Pop punk. If you told someone in the ’80s that this would soon be a respectable genre they would punch you in the teeth. But maybe it was time to lighten up when the 90s rolled around.
While punk identified itself as a strict outcry against popular culture in the ’80s that’s exactly what it became. A part of the popular mainstream, and like anything popular it will started to sell. Skate board culture and leather took off sprouting a monopoly on punk aesthetic and fashion in Reagan America. As it became more widely accepted sub-genre’s peeled off from the main body in a desperate hope to avoid being ‘in vogue’.
So if you see the title of this article and scream bloody murder know that punk was popular and therefore it was a natural progression to the tongue in cheek lyricism of the ’90s and early 2000s.
We have calibrated, collected and conspired on the 10 best pop punk bands of all time. While a somewhat controversial genre it definitely had it’s hey day.
1. Blink 182
In the 90s, punk was yearning for a lighter shade and with their tongue in cheek lyricism, prankish camaraderie and well constructed hit churning abilities, Blink 182 were more than happy to take on the task. Since the release of Dude Ranch it was clear that the Californian trio were set for big things, while 1999’s Enema Of The State launched the band to international stardom and sold 15 million copies world wide.
As for bands that birthed a legion of imitators and inspired a generation of punks, Blink 182 hold the cake as I know I’m not the only one who can still recite every word to All The Small Things.
2. Green Day
An extremely close tie for first place, Green Day have been a household name for multiple generations and could have just as easily crowned this list. Another trio, this time from Berkeley, they erupted in 1994 from their debut major label release Dookie. Counteract that with American Idiot in 2004 and you have an intergenerational giant attracting different subcultures of youths to the same pop punk flame. If there was no Green Day the rest of this list wouldn’t exist.
3. My Chemical Romance
As one of the most theatric bands in the pop punk army, My Chemical Romance live on with an eternal flame. Although they have gone to join the Black Parade themselves, Alex Lahey‘s recent Like A Version held a torch to the legacy of MCR and their legions of fans still living among us.
While one half of said genre is pop then you’ve got to give them credit for the commercial success of their tunes, they inspired a generation of emo-punks and make us dream of seeing a black float roll down the street carrying Gerard Way.
4. Jimmy Eat World
Jimmy Eat World certainly have a few pop punk masterpieces to their name with tracks like The Middle, Sweetness, and A Praise Chorus. However, it’s the dedication to their emo contemporaries that imbued Jimmy Eat World songs with a powerful resonance and uplifting philosophical message that was missing in Blink 182 or Green Day.
Holy moly Hayley Williams had some pipes. While it’s easy to make fun of almost any band on this list at some point, it is the youthful wonder of experiencing heartbreak, romance, bliss and joy that makes a lot of pop-punk so great and Paramore embodied that perfectly.
6. Fall Out Boy
A band with perhaps the longest song titles in the world. Their lyrics, written by bassist Pete Wentz, mirror this type of poetic thought splurging which earn’t Fall Out Boy a different kind of catchiness. Their dedication to hyperboles, puns and dramatic hooks is what made From Under A Cork Tree such a smash hit and to this day has earn’t them a legendary name in the scene.
Jawbreaker are one of the most true to form pop-punk bands of all time. Never ones to divulge into all out pop later in their career and still proudly carrying the flag of punk’s raw aggression and snarling vocals. While they were never built like the snotty Blink 182 or Green Day, Jawbreaker remain a good reminder of the true currents of pop punk.
8. Sum 41
With frosted spiked tips and a tendency to throw in a rap verse or two Sum 41 don’t necessarily stand the test of time visually but when they hit their melodic stride on tunes like Fatlip, The Hell Song, and Still Waiting goddam did Sum 41 rip it up. Embodying a lot of what made the The Beastie Boys such a smash hit, Sum 41 were their poppier younger brothers.
9. Panic! At The Disco
Panic! At The Disco, essentially just Brendon Urie, had it all. Incredible vocals, a slightly emo edge and some undying hooks. While their debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out began sales relatively slow it became a staple in the pop-punk tapestry and I still don’t trust anyone who says I Write Sins Not Tragedies isn’t a guilty pleasure.
10. All Time Low
Forming in Baltimore in 2003 All Time Low still embody the true essence of what made pop-punk such a commercial hit. Taking leads from Green Day and Blink 182, they may not have pioneered the genre but they certainly fanned the flames for many good years. Their seminal albums So Wrong, It’s Right and Nothing Personal are certified pop-punk anthems cover to cover.