Pop-punk is one of the most popular genres in mainstream music history - but which album is better than all the rest? See the results of this week's UG poll here.
Posted on Mar 29, 2013 03:25 pm
No matter what genre of music you love now, there's a solid chance that you've had a brush with pop-punk in your formative years.
Yes, like a first romance, many of us remember it fondly. If you're lucky and don't have a cynical streak, you probably still love the genre and sing those catchy tunes loud and proud.
The big pop punk artists are pretty obvious, but one thing that's never discussed is which band is best. Most of them have sold millions of records, so they're clearly very popular, but which album stands out from the crowd?
That's what we asked UG readers on Wednesday, and as usual, the debate was fierce. We've collected your nominations and votes, and can now present the ultimate top 10 pop-punk albums of all time.
10. Descendents "Everything Sucks" (1996)
After a 9-year break since their last album "All" in 1987 because singer Milo Aukerman quit music to study science (during who the remaining band members starting a side-project, also call All), they reunited and produced this gem. But not everyone liked it - Rolling Stone said their reunion was "unforgivable" and said the album lived up to its title.
09. Good Charlotte "The Young And The Hopeless" (2002)
The first of many examples in this list where a few strong music videos pushed them to international fame. The Madden twins had the punk look, the band had the catchy songs, and it sold almost 3.5 million copies in the US alone. Marketing is great if you can afford it, right? You might not realise, but this album was one of 15 in an experiment to put music on both sides of the disk, like a piece of digital vinyl, where one side had the album and the other featured bonus material. The format didn't take off in the same way as the album did.
08. Buzzcocks "Singles Going Steady" (1979)
This was a compilation of 7" singles by legendary British punk the Buzzcocks from between 1977-79, along with their respective b-sides. It may have started as a way to put all their fragmented singles into one format, but it became one of the most respected punk albums in history and regularly appears in charts of the best albums of the 1970s.
07. Yellowcard "Ocean Avenue" (2003)
If you have a pop punk band and your album sells 11,000 copies in its first week, you'd be pretty stoked to land at No. 61 in the Billboard chart, right? That's exactly what happened to Yellowcard with their Capitol Records debut, but their run of success didn't end there. It went on to be certified platinum after selling one million copies, and gaming fans may remember the song "Breathing" from the "Burnout 3" soundtrack.
06. Jimmy Eat World "Bleed American" (2001)
An ill-timed release and unfortunate name made the band change the title from "Bleed American" to a plain self-title in the wake of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. By 2008 the band restored the original title, which is fitting because the album makes no compromises elsewhere - it is aggressive, heartfelt, and everything a real emo record should be. And then a lot more.
05. The Offspring "Americana" (1998)
On the surface it's an awesome album of hook-filled pop punk, but under the surface it's a dark commentary on the nasty side of American life. "They're short stories about the state of things and what we see going on around us," said singer Dexter Holland at the time. "We want to expose the darker side of our culture. It may look like an episode of 'Happy Days' out there in America, but it feels more like 'Twin Peaks'."
04. Sum 41 "All Killer No Filler" (2001)
What started as a NOFX cover band became one of the fastest growing bands in pop-punk history. True to form of the genre, this breakout album covered topics like being lazy, bitchy girlfriends and pigging out on junk food - and their singalong melodies and videos won over an entire generation of punk fans..
03. Weezer "Blue Album" (1994)
When Weezer started out in 1992, no-one in LA wanted to hear them. "We were playing the same songs that eventually became hits," said the band, but apparently audiences just wanted to hear grunge bands. With some practice singing as a barbershop quartet, the band started to cut their original sound on record, and the resulting album remains a fan favorite.
02. Blink-182 "Enema Of The State" (1999)
What teenage boy wouldn't be hooked by either the radio assault of flawless pop-punk or the sexed-up nurse on the album cover? Drummer Travis Barker signed up to the band shortly before this album started production, and his work remains some of the inventive in this entire top 10. In many ways this is a landmark release, and only comes second to "Dookie" because Green Day paved the way for bands like Blink-182 to exist in the first place.
01. Green Day "Dookie"
In a funny way, Green Day and the resulting mainstream pop-punk explosion was the result of the early '90s grunge revolution. Alternative artists were the new hot topic at major labels, and so bosses sent their best A&R reps to scour the underground for the next big thing. Green Day's prior release "Kerplunk" was making waves, and a torrent of major label invites came flooding in to convince them to sign up.
The band ignored these advances until meeting Reprise's Rob Cavallo. They loved his work with The Muffs, and signed up despite a backlash from their adoring fans. Producer Jerry Finn recorded the band as only his second production credit, but he was so good at it that his career became a defining discography of catchy punk records.
The album was a global success, and as we all know, they went on to achieve even greater heights. But for many pop-punk fans, this album remains the real deal, and one that could be impossible to top in the future.
What do you make of the final list? How would you tweak the results, or do you think it's perfect already? Share your opinion in the comments.