Is Pop-Punk Getting Stale? Part 2

So after the first part of this piece, which was a rather critical look into the world of pop-punk, I think a more positive point of view is necessary. So here is a list of pop-punk bands who are really pushing boundaries and doing things right at the moment.

Neck Deep

Neck Deep are one of the most popular bands on this list, and for good reason. Their brand of pop-punk is catchy, energetic, and while it does adhere to a lot of pop-punk conventions, it is far from generic.

Listen to: In Bloom, December, Nineteen Seventy Sumthin’, Where Do We Go When We Go

As It Is

As It Is sound very different from any other pop-punk band, mainly due to their choice of using a lot of clean guitar sounds as well as the distortion. The vocals have an interesting dynamic too, thanks to having one English and one American singer. Not only this, but their new album (okay.) contains songs from all over the pop-punk spectrum, from the very poppy to the dark and sinister.

Listen to: Pretty Little Distance, Soap, No Way Out

State Champs

Similarly to Neck Deep, State Champs do stick to a lot of pop-punk conventions, but that’s fine when your music is so catchy! Honestly, this band has a knack for writing choruses like no other band on this list.

Listen to: Around The World And Back, Losing Myself, All You Are Is History


Despite being veterans of the scene, Blink-182 are still pushing and developing their sound to this day. Things had began to become stagnant with Tom DeLonge causing problems in the band, but now he’s been replaced by Matt Skiba of the Alkaline Trio, the band are back and better than ever. Their latest album, California includes some of their best work to this date, and the deluxe edition includes some incredible experimental cuts. They might just be the best pop-punk band of all time.

Listen to: 6/8, Misery, What’s My Age Again, Bottom Of The Ocean


Seaway just take pop-punk, instil it with as much life and energy as possible, and then put it out into the world. Their latest album, Vacation, is a blast of summery energy, and is one of the most fun pop-punk records I’ve ever heard.

Listen to: Lula On The Beach, Something Wonderful, 40 Over

New Found Glory

Despite their age as a band, New Found Glory are still making fresh, relevant pop-punk. There’s not much else to say other than it’s well produced, catchy, and doesn’t sound like any other band out there.

Listen to: Happy Being Miserable, Party On Apocalypse, My Friends Over You

Against The Current

I’m not sure whether I’d call these a pop-punk band any more, but I’m going to put them in this list anyway just because they make great music. They blend smooth pop melodies with pop-punk style and it works perfectly.

Listen to: In Our Bones, Forget Me Now, Fireproof, Paralyzed


The rest of this list wasn’t in any particular order, but I’ve definitely saved the best until last. Waterparks make catchy, entertaining and unique pop-punk better than anyone in the rock world. Every song is different and unique in a way bringing different ideas to the genre, and they are exactly what pop-punk needs at the moment.

Listen to: All of Double Dare; it’s too good to miss anything from it.


My Top 100 Songs: 70-61

70. Dead! – My Chemical Romance

In my opinion the best song from The Black Parade, this is an infectiously catchy song featuring some incredible guitar work and an amazing guitar solo. That’s really all there is to it.

Find it on: The Black Parade (2006)

69. If It Means A Lot To You – A Day To Remember

This was a massive change of style for A Day To Remember, and it suited them perfectly. In an album full of heavy guitars and screams, they changed things up for one, amazing acoustic duet, full of emotion. The change in style would be jarring, if the song wasn’t so perfect.

Find it on: Homesick (2009)

68. You’re Gonna Go Far Kid – The Offspring

The Offspring are kings of making catchy, energetic pop-punk, but this song goes a long way above their usual high standards. With a catchy rhythm and melody, you’d struggle to find a better song in their whole discography.

Find it on: Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace (2008)

67. Omen – The Prodigy

I never really got into The Prodigy, but one song that I think they got extremely right was this one. The sheer volume of the song, coupled with some great synthesiser work means this is a song that never fails to fill me with energy.

Find it on: Invaders Must Die (2009)

66. Doubt – Twenty One Pilots

I hated this song originally, feeling like the rapping was lacklustre and the electronic elements grated on me, but after a few listens I began to think the exact opposite. This is another song that fills me with energy, and I feel like the lyrics are some of the best on Blurryface.

Find it on: Blurryface (2015)

65. Everchanging – Rise Against

There are both an acoustic version and a regular version of this song, but I’m counting both versions here. The acoustic version has more of a sombre, regretful mood whereas the original is filled with anger, I feel like both work just as well. This is the first ever song that Tim McIlrath wrote, and I think that to write something this good at such a young age is incredible.

Find it on: The Unraveling (2001)/Long Forgotten Songs (2013)

64. Kung-Fu Lovin’ – Royal Republic

This song showcases exactly what Royal Republic do best – sheer energy mixed with great guitar and catchy hooks. I guarantee, this one’ll get inside your head for weeks to come.

Find it on: Weekend Man (2016)

63. Dammit – Blink-182

This comes from the earlier, punkier era of Blink-182. Complete with a fantastic riff and incredible drumming, early Blink doesn’t get much better than this.

Find it on: Dude Ranch (1997)

62. Supersonic – Oasis

Unlike everyone else in the world, I don’t think Wonderwall is Oasis’ best song. In fact, I don’t think it’s that great at all, but we’ll get to that another time. This song shows the Gallagher brothers at their best, creating great rock music with an incredible chorus. This is what they do best.

Find it on: Definitely Maybe (1994)

61. Knights Of Cydonia – Muse

This six-minute epic shows of everything that Muse do well. Insanely good vocals, awesome electronic influences, fantastic guitar work and even more. In my opinion, Muse will never write a song as technically good as this.

Find it on: Black Holes And Revelations (2006)

Come back in another two weeks for the continuation of this list!

My Top 10 Songs Of The Year So Far

We are about halfway through the year now, and loads of great music has already been released. In this post I’ll count down my favourite songs of the year so far, to show you some of what the music world has to offer at the moment.

10. Sharp Edges – Linkin Park

When I saw Linkin Park’s first new single this year, I never guessed one of their songs would make this list. But after approaching their album with a more open mind I began to love it, this song especially. It really showed the talents of the band, adapting their sound even more to make an almost country sounding song. A joy to listen to.

9. Black Magic – The Amazons

This song comes from my second favourite album of the year so far, only just beaten by Lorde’s Melodrama. It also features some of the best guitar work on this list, and promises to be an anthem for The Amazons for years to come.

8. With Or Without Me – SAINTE

When Tay Jardine of We Are The In Crowd announced that she’s be pursuing a poppier, more colourful sound in her new project, I was immediately excited – I thought it’d really suit her. And I wasn’t wrong either, as both songs she’s released have been excellent, and incredibly catchy. This is the pick of the two.

7. House On Fire – Rise Against

Rise Against produced yet another politically-charged masterpiece this year, but oddly enough it wasn’t one of the political songs that made this list. House On Fire, a more introspective look at the struggles of parenting not only had a lot of emotion and meaning, but sounded great.

6. No Way Out – As It Is

Here’s a song from the first ever album I reviewed on this blog – okay. by As It Is. It was undoubtedly the best song on the album too, with an incredibly emotional monologue from frontman Patty Walters halfway through. And trust me, it’s even better live.

5. Bottom Of The Ocean – Blink-182

The first song on this list from Blink-182’s incredible deluxe version of California, this showed a completely different side to the band, adding more electronic elements and a darker side to their sound. It worked perfectly.

4. Kiwi – Harry Styles

Yeah, I’m as shocked as you that Harry Styles appears on this list, but the truth is, he created a great album earlier in the year, with a range of rock and pop songs. Kiwi was the best of these, showing that rock music suits him a lot more than anyone would think.

3. 6/8 – Blink-182

If Bottom Of The Ocean showed Blink-182 straying from their roots, 6/8 shows themselves experimenting even more. Written in a 6/8 time signature (hence the name), and featuring shouted lyrics and heavy guitars, this is the most experimental song Blink-182 have ever created. And I love it for that!

2. Hard Times – Paramore

Well this is definitely the catchiest song of the year so far. The fantastic vocals, great bassline, and catchy guitar all blend together to make a great song. There’s not much else to say really.

1. Liability – Lorde

What a song this is! It is slow, haunting, and completely different from the usual electronic elements Lorde uses. It was completely unexpected, but that’s fine, because it is executed perfectly, and is the best song of the best album of the year so far.

Album Review: Blink-182 – California (Deluxe)

Roughly a year on from the release of last year’s California, Blink-182 have brought us yet more music. The deluxe edition of the aforementioned album contains the original 16 tracks, a brand new 11, and an acoustic version of ‘Bored To Death’. The original album was a fantastic return, so I was excited to see what the new tracks would bring. Would they add to the album, or would this be yet another shameless cash grab in the form of a deluxe edition?

From the opening of first track, ‘Parking Lot’, I could tell that these 11 tracks would be different. It’s an upbeat punky song, to compete with some of the heaviest material on the original California. You can definitely hear Matt Skiba’s influence on this one. Next song ‘Misery’ is also special, with an anthemic chorus that rivals some of the band’s best work. ‘Don’t Mean Anything’ has quiet, dark verses that build into a great chorus that has hints of modern pop-punk bands like All Time Low. Unfortunately there are weak points too. ‘Wildfire’ tries to hark back to older Blink songs, but comes across as a bit of a messy composition. This is quickly forgotten though, because following it is one of the best songs Blink-182 have ever written: ‘6/8′. It is also maybe one of the heaviest things they’ve ever written, and again, you can hear Matt Skiba’s influence heavily on it. Mark Hoppus’ melodic voice contrasts with Skiba’s shouts, and they mix together to create a great song. To contrast this, ‘Bottom Of The Ocean’ combines synth sounds and dark guitar to create a fantastically moody song. Finally, the album is closed out by an acoustic version of ‘Bored To Death’ that somehow sounds atmospheric and flat at the same time. The guitar work is excellent, but the vocals seem a little lifeless. It’s disappointing, but it does little to change the fact that I have just listened to a wonderful album.

California was already a great album, but do any of these songs add anything to it? Yes, undoubtedly. It’s great to see a more experimental side of Blink-182 on this album, and while some of the songs don’t work especially well, the majority are a delight to listen to. I really hope we’ll here more of this experimental side of the band on their next album, because there are hints of true brilliance here.

Best Song: 6/8

Score: 8/10

My Top 10 Artists

As my first opinionated piece, I think I’d take the time to introduce my music tastes, as they are the main things that will be on show throughout my time writing this blog. I’ve definitely mentioned that I’m mainly into rock music, but let’s take this opportunity to look deeper into that, and see what my favourite bands within the scene are.

Honourable Mentions:

First off we have some bands that just didn’t make the cut. I love all of these bands very much, but for some reason or another, they didn’t quite make it into my top 10. That isn’t to say they’re not very good, but there are a lot of good bands out there. They are:

  • AFI
  • All Time Low
  • Avenged Sevenfold
  • Blink-182
  • A Day To Remember
  • Fall Out Boy
  • Halestorm
  • The Killers
  • Neck Deep
  • Panic! At The Disco

Now into the actual countdown:

10. My Chemical Romance

What sort of 90’s kid would I be if I didn’t mention these at some point?! I did discover these later than most; just after they broke up, to be exact, but their music captivated me from the first listen. Whether it was the raw punk of their debut, to the melodic pop-rock of their final album, Gerard and Co. found a way to pull it off, and I truly believe that every album they have produced is a masterpiece – even 2010’s criminally underrated Danger Days.

9. Sum 41

Some people might consider this a guilty pleasure, but there’s nothing guilty about it in my mind. Sum 41 have been creating top-quality pop-punk for a long time now, and even though their new album wasn’t quite as good as it could have been, the quality of their music still stands up today.

8. Green Day

Now who doesn’t love a good bit of Green Day? The grandfathers of modern punk have been around for a good 30 years now, and 12 albums down the line, they’re still as good as ever. Not only this but their political activism is still causing a stir in America today. My opinion of a good political band is one that refuses to sit back and do nothing, and Green Day are exactly that.

7. Royal Republic

Royal Republic are a small band from Malmö, Sweden, that specialise in making energetic, fast-paced rock. I had never heard of them when a friend recommended them to me, but I was hooked from the first listen and have never looked back. Their addictive brand of rock is honestly one of the most catchy things I’ve heard in my life.

6. Muse

If I was writing this post a few years ago, Muse would have topped this list by a long way, and it is only due to my tastes changing a little that they miss out. Not to say that I dislike them now; quite the opposite. Matt Bellamy’s mastery of his voice is impressive on its own, not to mention his ability on the guitar and piano. And that is before you take into account what wonderful musicians Dom Howard and Chris Wolstenholme are. Muse are an incredible band who make great music, and are fully deserving of this place in the list.

5. Enter Shikari

So what can I say about Enter Shikari apart from the fact that they’re the most innovative, creative band on this list. For the past few years they have been pushing the boundaries of rock music, and redefining the genre. They truly are an incredible, inspiring band.

4. As It Is

As It Is will always hold a special place in my heart, because even before they were releasing their own captivating brand of pop-punk, I was watching lead singer Patty Walters flourish on YouTube, where he was creating his own great cover songs. I remember thinking at some point that he had more than enough talent to make it in the music industry, and turns out I was right. As It Is bring energy, melody and catchiness to the pop-punk scene, and I think they’re truly one of the better bands in the rock world.

3. Twenty One Pilots

And so the first (and only) non-rock band pop up in this list. Twenty One Pilots break the boundaries of genre, creating their own music regardless of anyone’s expectations, and I have huge respect for them for that. Not to mention that the music they do make is catchy, inventive, and packed full of meaning. Twenty One Pilots have captured a generation of music fans, and rightly so.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers

The oldest band on this list, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been making music for a good 34 years now, and have somehow managed to keep the quality up all the way along. The band have gone through countless line-up and style changes, but throughout all of this, they have still retained the soul that their music has always had. They are well deserving of this number two spot as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

1. Rise Against

What can I say about Rise Against? They are one of the most outspokenly political bands I have ever listened to, and they have found a way to mix that with angry but catchy punk rock. Each new song is a masterpiece in its own right, and a kick in the teeth to whatever injustice they are fighting this time. They are not only deserving of number one in this list, but to be remembered as one of the great punk bands of this generation.