36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F—-ing Die
January 2, 2017
Most of the songs on Four Score and Seven Years Ago were pretty posi instead of about being bored in suburbia or, like, some terrible ex-girlfriend. Relient K were also a Christian band, so, if you’re into that, they will probably be your favorite pop punk band. Oh and this record is, like, pretty. Dude doesn’t sing through his nose (bummer). — Maria Sherman
The All-American Rejects’ self-titled debut is largely still my favorite in their catalog, namely because “Swing, Swing” is on this album and it includes the lines, “Do you know what it feels like being alone?” and “My heart is crushed by a former love,” which proves that pop punk can be super sappy and adorable simultaneously. — M.S.
If we’re going to be entirely transparent here, the best thing All Time Low managed to crank out was their EP Put Up Or Shut Up, but So Wrong, It’s Right was their follow-up and it’s definitely All Time Low firing on all cylinders. And “Six Feet Under The Stars” and “Dear Maria, Count Me In” are really fun songs. Also, in 2009 they did a music video with Mark Hoppus in it, à la Simple Plan, so that’s cool too, I guess. — Ryan Broderick
The Academy Is… were a pop punk band from Chicago signed to Fueled by Ramen, that, for a while there, really seemed to be growing in popularity — which unfortunately simmered out after they recorded the follow up to their debut. (I blame dreamboat frontman William Beckett’s involvement with Cobra Starship.) Oh, and I’m pretty sure we can blame this band for inspiring Hot Topic to begin selling V-neck shirts. — M.S.
32. The Wonder Years, Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing
The Wonder Years are the closest you’re probably going to get to a really good pop punk band in 2013. And their album Suburbia is easily their best. It has a strong “Defend Pop Punk”-vibe that’s real popular with the teens nowadays, but beneath that it’s a really solid and expansive pop punk album. — R.B.
Mutiny! came out in 2006 and everyone kind of slept on it for about a year. But slowly the Warped Tour crowd came around to its mix of hardcore gang vocals, breakdowns, and pop punk melodies, which pretty much set the crowd for the easycore/crabcore thing that A Day To Remember and Attack! Attack! turned into a punchline a year or so later. So, uh, thanks for that. — R.B.
They had that song “Somewhere Down To Fullerton.” That’s pretty much the extent of why you should remember Allister. — R.B.
American Hi-Fi are easily one of the best examples of that American Pie soundtrack sound that pop punk bands all hopped on in the early 2000s. Their self-titled came out like two years after Sugarcult’s Start Static, and was pretty much the same thing but slightly more interesting. — R.B.
Bowling For Soup were fun. They weren’t very good, but they were very, very fun. They blew up with their song “1985,” but before that they had a ton of really strong songs like “Girl All the Bad Guys Want,” “Emily,” and obviously, the fantastically stupid and great “Punk Rock 101,” which is an actual song about an emo kid falling in love with a girl who works at Hot Topic. Hooray 2000s! — R.B.
“Ocean Avenue” is a good song; the rest of the album is whatever. — R.B.
The Movielife were part of that wave of Long Island emo and pop punk that tried to take things into a darker and more personal space. Unfortunately, the band had a bunch of internal drama and in the long run were totally overshadowed by Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, though that doesn’t make Forty Hour Train Back to Penn any less enjoyable and fun. — R.B.
The only goth pop punk band. So goth, the song “Sadie” is about Sadie Atkins, a murderer in the Charles Manson family. It’s, like, ridiculously catchy. — M.S.
If you’re a casual pop punk fan or really only know the stuff you saw on Fuse or Total Request Live you might not really know The Ergs. Though they gravitated more toward the legitimate punk and hardcore scene, they have a lot in common with the bands on this list, though they’re both a little more jokey and less silly. — R.B.
While Less Than Jake venture close to ska punk territory, there is no way anyone could ever argue against the pop punk-ness of “The Science of Selling Yourself Short.” — M.S.
Nothing is more pop punk than being a teenager, and Simple Plan took this to new heights. Songs with titles like “The Worst Day Ever” and “God Must Hate Me” bleed with the kind of hyperbole you’d use on your mom in high school. Plus, this record has “Addicted,” “Perfect,” and “I’m Just a Kid” on it, three radio hits. How great was 2002? Also Blink 182’s bassist Mark Hoppus is on the title track, “I’d Do Anything for You.” — M.S.
Commit This to Memory is awesome. It was produced by Mark Hoppus and it’s definitely weirder than a lot of the stuff on this list because of MCS’ Moog synthesizer and their really big fetish for ’80s powerpop, but for a while there they were definitely closer to pop punk than they were emo or any other genre they fell into. — R.B.
This record is about girls, the No. 1 fascination of all pop punk bands. The single, “Best of Me,” might have one of the catchiest choruses of all time. I’ll take that to the grave.
As the American Pie phase of pop punk was burning off like toxic waste, a lot of bands were jockeying to be that new kind of sound. And then in 2004, Say Anything accidentally popped out this really inspired and interesting album full of snarling and gang vocals and interesting song structures. They even ended up soundtracking a few TV shows (like Scrubs LOL) and got that “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” song on MTV. — R.B.
Jawbreaker is a controversial addition to this list. Are they emo? Are they indie? Are they just a really influential punk band? Well, let’s split the difference and call them a really influential band that made a really early-era pop punk album that absolutely inspired a lot of the groups that are also on this list, especially bands like Green Day and Blink-182. Plus, in their song “Boxcar,” they talk about what’s not punk, and what’s more pop punk than singing about whether or not you’re punk enough. — R.B.
Pop punk is about as American as it gets, so Jimmy Eat World titling their most popular album Bleed American is very appropriate. This powerhouse of an album contains the massive single, “The Middle,” easily the pop punk anthem of 2001. — M.S.
NOFX may think they’re a punk band, let’s be real: Their vocals are too clean and their hooks too massive for that genre. Punk in Drublic is their best known and most successful record to date, plus it has a hysterical name, which is almost as good as the moniker of their frontman: Fat Mike. — M.S.
In a similar vein as NOFX, The Offspring were early(ish) pop punk, laying the groundwork for the golden age of the early ’00s. While Americana contains the horrendous anthem “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” it also has “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” which is as snotty and as funny as the title would suggest. — M.S.
Similar to Operation Ivy, Rancid played with ska, but …And Out Come the Wolves is their best album and is very much not ska. Rancid were instrumental in the establishment of the 924 Gilman scene in Berkeley that would later give the world the gift that is Green Day. — M.S.
With Paramore selling out arenas around the world, it’s hard to think of the band’s early days on Warped Tour. Nonetheless, they were a super important part of the scene, especially because their front person is a woman… and I’m pretty sure a super hero. — M.S.
Operation Ivy are basically a superior version of Rancid. They’re also in the same boat as Offspring and Less Than Jake, mixing up ska and punk into something poppy and fun, though Operation Ivy were obviously a lot rougher about it. — R.B.
New Found Glory were kind of like the Wal-Mart version of Blink-182. But they did manage to produce that song “My Friends Over You,” which, if you can believe it or not, has gone on to inspire a whole crop of new pop punk bands, like Set Your Goals and The Wonder Years, so that’s pretty cool. — R.B.
In retrospect, it’s really weird that Good Charlotte were ever massively famous. They dressed like Rancid and set the template for the whole Hot Topic guy-liner, plaid skinny jeans, dress-like-some-inner-city-goth-skate-jester fashion trend. The Young And Hopeless is easily the pinnacle of boy band pop punk and “The Anthem,” “Girls & Boys,” and “The Young and the Hopeless” are all amazingly fun songs. — R.B.
Fall Out Boy are super complicated and really polarizing, but let’s ignore all of that stuff and focus on the fact that Take This to Your Grave is totally great. It’s screamy, fast, super punchy, and really clever. It’s also a rare moment where they’re not being totally annoying and self-aware. It’s just a nice, solid pop punk album. —R.B.
New Jersey became a hotbed for pop punk, maybe because it’s the most suburban place of all time ever. Lifetime were one of the first bands to embrace the genre, and when Jersey’s Best Dancers came out, it opened up everyone’s eyes to what the Garden State was capable of producing. One might mention the use of palm-muted power chords, the drummer playing a quick D-beat… everything necessary in the pop-punk equation. Also, lyrics from the record appear on Taking Back Sunday’s frontman Adam Lazarra’s arm, so I guess you could say Lifetime inspired mall emo, too. — M.S.
Pop punk came from punk, obviously, and The Descendents basically invented the genre when they strayed from Southern California hardcore to try something a little more melodic. Thank you, and thank you, Milo. — M.S.
6. Brand New, Your Favorite Weapon
Your Favorite Weapon is Brand New’s debut, and their most widely beloved album. Later in the band’s career they ventured into sappier territory (cough emo cough), but “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad” is complimentary to a mean girl and self-deprecating, a dangerous concoction when paired with a chorus that just doesn’t quit. — M.S.
5. Saves the Day, Through Being Cool