Pop-punk. Once the most exciting word in the rock world, this genre fuses punk attitudes and guitars with pop melodies to create incredibly catchy rock songs. After around 2007 it began to rapidly decline, in both quality and the number of bands in the scene. It hit a really low point around then, but it has been making a resurgence of late, with bands like Neck Deep, State Champs and As It Is rising to prominence. But I personally think that there are two sides of this resurgence. With every great band it has brought, 100 copycats have followed, imitating the music in everything but quality. So that begs the question, is the pop-punk world growing stale? There are two sides to this argument, and I will dissect both sides of them in this post.
The first is the negative point of view, that the scene is growing stale, one that I personally agree with. As a rock music critic, I review a lot of pop-punk albums. Even three months ago, the thought of a brand new pop-punk album to review would fill me with joy, but now it fills me with dread. The problem? Most of the pop-punk albums I review are terrible. Like, truly awful. When I first reviewed them, I’d always put a positive spin on it, saying something like ‘just add a bit more variety and you’ll be fine’. The problem is, nothing changes with a large number of pop-punk bands. No matter how many albums I listen to, I hear the same drum beat, the same guitar lead, and the same whiny, often misogynistic vocals. There are definitely a lot of bands in the pop-punk world doing great things, but a lot of other bands are piggybacking off their success, making boring, emotionless, and passionless music. And because there are so many bands doing this, the pop-punk world is going stale. Even though a lot of bands are doing great things, they are being suffocated by the lack of creativity of so many others.
On the other hand, there are a lot of good things going on in the pop-punk world. For example, bands like Waterparks, As It Is and Neck Deep are making creative, exciting music. Even scene veterans like Blink-182 and All Time Low are bringing new ideas to the table, although the latter had mixed results in their new album. And by all means, these are the bands at the forefront of the industry, the ones making the music that people hear. People are more likely to hear their music, as that is the music that is pushing boundaries, creating something creative, and gaining more fans in the process. So the scene is polluted with dull, uninspiring music, but that’s not what’s getting any publicity and airtime.
I can still conclude from this that pop-punk is still getting stale though. The problem is that compared to the bad bands, the good bands are so few and far between, that not enough of a proportion of them exist to make pop-punk a popular genre. If someone thinks ‘I’ll listen to some pop-punk today, chances are that music won’t be all that great, and that needs to change for pop-punk to be a more respected genre.