Although I’ll listen to just about anything, pop punk is probably my single favorite genre of music. If I look back at the bands who really mean something to me, it’s mostly shit like Blink 182, New Found Glory, The Vandals, Descendents, Forever The Sickest Kids, and other bands who have catchy, optimistic songs with giant hooks and fun lyrics about awesome shit. I mean, that’s what pop punk is all about, right?
Not so much, according to the new wave of TR00 POP PUNK bands who combine the self-righteousness of tr00 punx with the beta cry-babyness of pop punk and the tuneless vocals and self-pity of 90s basement emo. Sounds like a terrible combo, but tr00 pop punk is blowing up– take a look at the dashboard of your average 18 year-old Tumblrslut and her boyfriend and you’ll see nothing but reblogs of Transit colored vinyl, Title Fight hoodies, and 5 zillion live photos of sweaty band dudes looking very passionate and meaningful.
Need I say more?
From what I can tell, tr00 pop punk is where kids go when they grow out of Disneypunk (FTSK, All Time Low, The Maine) and easycore. It’s basically the same when you turn 18, go away to college, and adopt a new persona that says “I’M NOT A BABY ANYMORE, I R SRS YOUNG ADULT NOW. I DONT LIKE THAT LITTLE BABY STUFF ANYMORE!!” Only that’s not entirely true, because you are still a teenager, and what middle class teenager doesn’t like pop punk? Tr00 pop punk is basically a way for them to have their cake and eat it too. They can listen to pop punk, but still show everybody how grown-up and serious they are.
Typical tr00 pop punk fan (probably a freshman at an expensive liberal arts school, majoring in English)
It’s pretty easy to identify a tr00 pop punk band:
- From somewhere relatively affluent, yet close to a big city- the Bay Area and New Jersey seem to be hotbeds of tr00 pop punx. In those places, life is easy, and when life is easy it can be boring. What better way to deal with the boredom than pick up your guitar and record a song on your Macbook about how you “feel so alone” and “just want to find out who you really are”?
- Take “pop punk” very seriously (eg Man Overboard’s “DEFEND POP PUNK” shirts). This will seem funny to older people, because back in the day there was no such thing as pop punk with credibility, but times have changed, as you can tell by the fact that people don’t hate New Found Glory and Blink-182 anymore.
- Namedrop lots of older bands (who usually weren’t very good) and/or current hardcore bands. Both of these things are important tools in constructing their image of “guys who really know their roots.”
- Are melodic, but not in a fun, catchy way- more like a melancholy, sad “my pussy hurts and I’m going to play my guitar to distract me from the pain” kind of way. Also, the singers are really bad, with tuneless “braying donkey who was trained to sing ‘Happy Birthday’” sound ala Fugazi.
The Story So Far
Note the Bridge 9 and Devo shirts, as well as the dude in the Walnut Creek shirt. When you are talking about bored, overly-educated, upper middle class white people, you really can’t think of a better example than Walnut Creek (see also nearby Orinda, home of Fight Fair and Set Your Goals).
Strong Ian MacKaye/braying donkey vocals. Not sure what the concept for this video was– maybe something like this? Guy #1: “My parents are going to Turks & Caicos for the weekend, we should have one of those videos where there’s a giant house party, and we’re playing! Guy #2: “No way, my mom would kill me if we messed up the mantle in the living room! I’ll just stand in front of the grandfather clock in the foyer and lip synch.”
Contrast the 4.5/10 at :15 in this video with the hot sluts in the All Time Low “Weightless” video… if this is the best video girl your “pop punk” band could find, you’re doing it wrong.
A boring, sappy, acoustic song named after a Jawbreaker album from 1995?? Now that’s what I call TR00 POP PUNK!
What do you think of TR00 POP PUNX?? Did you go through a phase where you turned your back on all the “baby stuff” you liked in high school to show everybody you had become a SRS YOUNG ADULT? Is tr00 pop punk the new IKEACORE??