We’d love to say pop punk has come a long way since the likes of Green Day and Blink 182 and Good Charlotte sprung onto the scene a few decades ago, but the truth is we don’t know if it has. The musical hallmarks that those heavyweights established way back when have been regurgitated and reproduced throughout modern pop punk again and again. The pogo-stick rhythms, double-time second verses, staccato breakdowns and saccharine sweet choruses haven’t completely lost their novelty, but the recycled lyrical themes certainly have. Songs about suburbia, pizza, mountain dew, vans, skateboards, and Hot Topic are a dime a dozen, earning the genre a reputation as inauthentic and formulaic. As far as we can tell, it’s been a while since a pop punk band has contributed something totally new to the genre, but we were hoping somebody would prove us wrong…
So, a few days ago we posed the question ‘Do you feel like pop punk has become fomulaic and stale?’ to the The Social Music Network, a Facebook group dedicated to connecting professionals from across the music industry. Out of the thirty nine people who answered, the majority voted ‘Sometimes/Depends’.
The Social Music Network member, Kai, said: “I love pretty much any pop punk band because they’re almost always fun and energetic, but I do feel as though some are just cashing in on the success of others. So many bands at the minute are copying Neck Deep‘s style without adding much more to it.”
Reece seconded that, writing: “Most pop punk bands are either trying to copy State Champs or The Story So Far and are really limiting their songwriting based on that…”
A few members suggested new artists were to blame for the stagnation of the genre. Founding member Danny voted ‘Hell No’ to the question but admitted that “there are a huge wave of bands trying to copy all of the above down to a tee, and that’s where the genre becomes stale”.
This sentiment was echoed by Lewis, who said: “I feel like some bands are creatively restricting themselves in order to be “pop punk” because it makes it very easy for them for them to label themselves.”
Lewis’ comment raises an interesting point. The culture surrounding pop punk has become just as important to fans as the music itself, which leads us to wonder if bands are ticking all the musical boxes to stay part of the genre’s scene. Do pop punk bands feel an obligation to reproduce the genre’s hallmarks because it’s become a rite of passage into the culture?
On the other side of the coin, there were plenty of members arguing that if the formula ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Social Music Network member, Mark, argued “The surging guitar lines, and those heartbreaking lyrics give me chills…the makeup of pop punk isn’t rubbing off, it’s colourful and exuberant.”
While the internet may be divided on whether pop punk needs a refresh or not, the resounding feeling was that there are plenty of new bands with the potential to blaze a new trail in the genre.
Check out some of the bands The Social Music Networking group recommended:
“Rare Americans mix-up their pop punk sound with hip-hop which is awesome”.
Tiny Moving Parts
“I think the most original PP band I can think of off the top of my head would be Tiny Moving Parts – they do a lot of mathy/emo sounding stuff but at the core it’s pop punk summer vibes.”
“You have to come up with something different and unique and that’s much more important than trying to fit into a certain genre. Trophy Eyes are a brilliant example of this.”
The Bottom Line
“Bands like The Bottom Line are currently holding the scene up.”
Want to share your views on the state of pop punk? Leave a comment on our poll here.
Join the conversations and debates on The Social Music Networking group here.