Pop Punk: I Love You. Now, Stop It.
I don’t want that sentiment to be misconstrued, my love for the genre is still incredibly real. It’s just that pop punk is currently faced with the same issue every genre of music eventually encounters: the “If they can make it work, so can I” mindset. This mindset is toxic, and creates a call for repetitive, formulaic music that eventually creates blurred lines and what feels like one neverending song with a ton of guest vocals.
Not all of that fault falls into the hands of the creators. In reality, bands are more than just people – they are a business. Whether we choose to openly acknowledge it or not, it’s the honest truth. Bands that want to make it – and make it fast, will shamelessly study what has helped catapult genre staples like The Wonder Years and Man Overboard into the stream of success they currently have, and then try their hand at it. I’ve seen so many bands adopt social disorders that it’s starting to beg the question: At what point does this stop being genuine and start being a marketing ploy?
Being 21, I know I’m going to hear a lot of “You’re not old enough to know what you’re talking about.” But, you couldn’t be more wrong. One of, if not the only, benefit(s) of being so young, and getting into the genre when I did, is that I got to witness this trend explode first hand. I was listening around the time of the “I’m Not Sad Anymore” birth that looking back, only rivals that of Prince George, and I’ve been around long enough to see the genre become a bastardized version of what it was.
On the other hand, maybe I’m just too old. Too old to idly listen to the same song be constantly rehashed. I feel incredibly jaded saying this, but I miss when pop punk was most commonly associated with feel good. And yes, I’m entirely aware of how whiny and complacent this sounds. But, I’m not complacent without reason. There are still bands making music that embodies what pop punk is at its core. See: Forever Came Calling. Those are some of the most hardworking guys, working to create such straight forward, no nonsense pop punk. True to the definition of what the genre used to be, before it started to become more of a musical slur than anything else.
The entire point of this article is to get one point across, and that is that pop punk wasn’t always so riddled with disorder. There was a time before everybody had something wrong with them, before the mascot of a genre became a slice of pizza. That you can make incredible music without having to harp on insecurities or glamorizing social disorders. Just have fun. Make music that comes from the heart, and just be honest.
Pop punk, I love you. Now, stop it.