I’m a serious music lover but my friends always seem to giggle when I tell them how much I love Pop Punk. Maybe, they automatically assume that when I say Pop Punk they imagine all these new fangled artists that whine, scream, and quite frankly make horrific music.
That’s not what I’m talking about though. I’m talking about real Pop Punk, the stuff I grew up on. While, in hindsight, it’s not the perfect genre, nor is it technically amazing, I still believe it’s significant enough to warrant a list of the top five Pop Punk albums ever made.
Ah, good Enema of the State. I seriously believe that Blink elevated the genre into the mainstream with this release. For a teenager, their subject matter hit the nail on the head. Rebelling against parents, not quite fitting in and of course, problems with the opposite sex. It ticked all the boxes and I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t still relate in some sense. I’ve only got a few months until I can legitimately sing: “Nobody likes you when you’re 23” and even though I’ve been singing those lyrics for a long time, it’s relevancy and truth resonates more than I could have expected.
I remember the day this absolute beauty walked into my life. I was only a wee toot in what seemed like a massive music shop in Colraine. At this point I was listening to The Deftones but wanted something a little bit different. I saw Americana and bought it because I knew my older brother liked the band (usually a good call) and the album cover looked amazing.
I’d be a complete liar if I said that I didn’t go straight to Pretty Fly (For a White Guy), at the time, I really thought it was going to be the anthem of my generation. I wasn’t quite right, but it’s still a great track, regardless.
Are NoFX really Pop Punk? This could be opened for debate but I’m going to choose to believe that they are for the purposes of my list. The War on Errorism reared its head at just the right time. I may have been a bit young but I was one of those really odd, politically aware children that wanted nothing more then George W Bush to be somehow ousted out of his Presidency. This album made me want to be a proper Punk. Fuck corporations, fuck government, fuck society. I was only a kid, but somehow, through NoFX, I realised that these are institutions that I’d have no time for. I really want to point out how much I loved the narrative of each song; it was difficult to not feel angry when each scenario was presented in such a frustrated, fast paced and furious fashion.
Bowling for Soup are still one of my absolute favourite bands. I really don’t understand what’s not to like here. Sure, they’re newer albums are a bit shit but anything pre The Great Burrito Extortion Case was golden. BFS are just a genuine band. They’re not hell bent on looking cool or even taking anything seriously. This album has some of my favourite tracks like Get Happy and Shut up and Smile. I’m not ashamed to say that BFS are my go-to band when I’m not feeling quite at myself. It’s really hard to listen to these guys and not feel, at least, a little cheered up.
Less Than Jake have no many great albums so I might be a little controversial in picking Anthem was one of my favourite Pop Punk albums, but I think that this is one of the best constructed Less Than Jake albums. I remember playing this and not actually realising that I’d have it on repeat for hours. This was this go-to album when you I was feeling self-depreciating and a little misunderstood. I’ve returned to The Science of Selling Yourself Short so many times in my life when I believed that I just fucked everything up and it would always make feel a little better. It’s relatable and a classic album for growing up.