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This to That: Pop Punk

Paramore are soon to release This Is Why, an album that Musta has already expressed their excitement for. For a band plagued by never-ending drama, they have maintained a consistency in style and accomplishment.

Paramore were at the forefront of the 2000s pop punk scene, combining angry lyrics with a ragged musical sound, characterised by loud drums and startling strums on the electric guitar. They followed in the footsteps of Green Day, a group from southern California, who rendered a unique style through crafting sarcastic lyrics. Green Day’s second album Dookie is considered one of the earliest examples of the pop punk sub-genre. The 10 million copies of this album sold proved that this unlikely melding of the traditional and non-traditional was commercially viable.

Courtesy of: Fueled by Ramen and Atlantic Records

Culturally, pop punk made its debut in a time of political turmoil for America the Iraq War felt equal parts endless and pointless, an interminable nihilism slipped into the cultural vernacular. This simmering anger was reflected in pop punk, solidified by songs like ‘American Idiot’.

Irish band NewDad perhaps verge on the bubblier sound of indie music, drawing from a series of less charged sources like Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. Yet their most recent offering, the single ‘ILY2’ released in 2022 has a crunchier, angrier composition. Opening with a steady drum beat before confronting the listener with a wall of sound at the chorus, ‘ILY2’ is the honest, painful admission of love, dragged out of someone.

In a surprising turn, WILLOW (of ‘Whip My Hair’ fame,) has abandoned the dance tracks of her youth to dive into the pop punk scene, with unexpectedly thrilling results. 2021’s lately I feel EVERYTHING features performances from Travis Barker (of Blink-182) and Avril Lavigne. This song - ‘G R O W’, combines the harried pace of the drums with heartfelt lyrics: “I’ve been putting work in, healing myself / Still got room to grow”. This kind of lyricism utilises the online language of self-betterment to introduce younger audiences to the pop punk sound.

Courtesy of: Roc Nation and Polydor

Last year WILLOW continued investing in the genre by releasing <COPINGMECHANISM> which feels louder, more all-encompassing in its sound. If lately I feel EVERYTHING is a heated rant, mid-conversation, <COPINGMECHANISM> is like screaming into your pillow after an argument. Even the image of the cover, an electric guitar smashed through a TV screen, with spiderwebbed cracks littering the glass, belies the anger in tracks like ‘curious/furious’ and ‘BATSHIT!’.

In 2022, American band Bad Omens also released their aptly titled album THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND. Their press release correctly articulated the sinister style that guides each track. Pop punk demands a startling degree of honesty, or as Bad Omens noted in that same press release: “every decision in the writing process was for myself, with no fear of for our anyone else’s expectations…” If you are an artist considering experimenting with the genre, there is no appropriate time to make pop punk music, only when you are sure you have something to say.


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