Remember when the whole Y2K was taking up some much energy? Don’t you just look back and laugh at what society gets hung up on. Seriously, people were preparing for the breakdown of the world’s infrastructure since computers were originally programmed to recognize years with two digits! And, that was a relatively quick fix, albeit one that cost businesses some cash. Yet, fast-forward to today, and we have analytics companies using our online data to use in order to compile a fairly accurate personality profile in order to market goods and political views in order for the corporation or desired politician to become elected, and we collectively turn a blind eye to this revelation since our Facebook entries are telling us this is actually Fake News. I just shake my head. No, there were no ancient aliens! No, you are NOT ancient astronauts theorists (to be a theorist, you have to have TESTABLE data)! And, no, vaccines will not make a sudden change in your child’s DNA structure causing autism; unfortunately, those children were genetically pre-programmed for the affliction.
Anyway, back to Y2K. Let’s see, my older son was in middle school at the time and just learning to play guitar and bass, while my younger son was still in elementary. But, in an eerie parallel, they were listening to a lot of the pop-punk of the day. Man, if I had a dollar for every blink-182 song I heard in those years, I could have retired before I ever took my fourth teaching position. But, I actually enjoyed those songs, since they reminded me of my days listening to The Jam, The Clash, The Undertones, Ramones and all the other pop-oriented punk bands of the day. Most surprisingly, and annoyingly to my boys, I heard a lot of Cheap Trick in those bands. So, although my boys were getting their initial dose of “punk” from bands such as blink, Green Day and The Hives, I was turning them on the original punk artists of my era.
Now, my older son, Graham, was in a little pop-punk band in high school. That band played in a talent show and won first prize over a blues guitar prodigy who was playing in bars as a 14-year-old. At least my son could realize the kid was the one with the talent and apologized for his band winning the contest by playing those pop-punk songs. Still, what Graham’s band lacked in talent, they made up in personality by pandering to the girls in the audience. Perhaps, the biggest two memories I have of that performance was Graham wearing a pair of Seventies-era short-short basketball shorts with his bass hanging low to make it seem as if he had no pants on, and his mother, my wife, gushing about “how cute he looks.” I have to admit that I literally laughed my ass off doing the set. It was obvious they had learned their lessons from blink-182’s videos.
Still, there was something enjoyable about that music to me. Did it tap into a little nostalgia trip within me? Probably. But, the genre was taking what I loved about power pop music and making it much more aggressive. And, the music was everywhere, on the radio, on TRL, laying all over the floors in my boys’ rooms. And, maybe, I miss those days when those two and I were driving their mom crazy. But, now, they are men with budding families, while we argue about the merits of many of these bands [Let me say it now – you two have convinced me that blink-182 belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, something I have argued against since 1998.]. And, like any musical movement, this one got over-saturated as well. For every brilliant song by Anderson, Indiana’s own The Ataris (their cover of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer”) there were some real “sucky” ones by all kinds of bands I have purposely forgotten, like Fenix TX or Dashboard Confessional.
Still, the genre is worth a good “going over.” So, today I give you Part 1 of my Top 50 pop-punk songs. I hope it triggers some nostalgia in my younger readers and some interest in my older ones.
50. “About a Girl” – The Academy Is…
49. “There Is” – Boxcar Racer
48. “Highly Evolved” – The Vines
47. “Out of Control” – Hoobastank
46. “Superman” – Goldfinger
45. “Best of Me” – The Starting Line
44. “Take It Off” – The Donnas
43. “Gives You Hell” – The All-American Rejects
42. “Cute Without the ‘E'” – Taking Back Sunday
41. “Dear Maria, Count Me In” – All Time Low
40. “I’d Do Anything” – Simple Plan
39. “Punk Rawk Show” – MxPx
38. “Miss Murder” – AFI
37. “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” – Good Charlotte
36. “Smooth Criminal” – Alien Ant Farm
35. “What’s My Age Again” – blink-182
34. “Thnks fr th Mmrs” – Fall Out Boy
33. “Minority” – Green Day
32. “The Impression That I Got” – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
31. “Mrs. Robinson” – The Lemonheads
30. “Sugar, We’re Going Down” – Fall Out Boy
29. “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” – My Chemical Romance
28. “Time Bomb” – Rancid
27. “Misery Business” – Paramore
26. “Sell Out” – Reel Big Fish
25. “Self Esteem” – The Offspring
24. “My Own Worst Enemy” – Lit
23. “Sk8r Boi” – Avril Lavigne
22. “My Friends Over You” – New Found Glory
21. “The Anthem” – Good Charlotte