Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Pop Punk: The Definitive History

Pop punk (also known as punk pop and other names) is a fusion genre that combines elements of punk rock with pop music, to varying degrees. [1]
It is not clear when the term pop punk was first used, but pop-influenced punk rock had been around since the 1970s; performed by bands such as the Ramones, Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Undertones, and Descendents.[2][3][4][5][6][7] Bad Religion, who started in 1980, were another early band to play the genre, and some consider them godfathers of pop punk.[8][9][10] In the mid-1990s, Southern California-based pop punk bands achieved worldwide commercial success, and the genre's association with that area has led some to the term SoCal sound. From the mid-1990s onwards, some bands associated with the genre have been described as faux-punk, mall punk, pseudo-punk, bubblegum punk or surf punk.[11][12]

1 History
1.1 Origins (1974-1980s)
1.2 Underground pop punk (early 1990s and later)
1.3 Popular acceptance (1994-1997)
1.4 Continued mainstream ascent (1998-2003)
1.5 Contemporary pop punk (2003 and later)
2 "Pop-Punk" as an Oxymoron
3 See also
4 Footnotes
5 External links


Origins (1974-1980s)
Further information: Punk rock
The pop punk style emerged at the onset of punk rock around 1974, with the Ramones; however it was not considered a separate subgenre until later. The Ramones' loud and fast melodic minimalism differentiated them from other bands in New York City's budding art rock scene. Additionally, protopunk bands and power pop bands such as Cheap Trick, The Knack and The Raspberries helped lay the groundwork for pop punk.[citation needed] An early use of the term pop punk appeared in a 1977 New York Times article, Cabaret: Tom Petty's Pop Punk Rock Evokes Sounds of 60's.[13] By 1977 in the United Kingdom, punk rock had already become a much more active and concentrated movement than in New York City. The Undertones, Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Rezillos and The Shapes featured catchy melodies and lyrics that sometimes dealt with relatively light themes such as teenage romance. On the somewhat harder-edged side of pop-influenced punk, there were bands such as 999, The Vibrators and The Lurkers. Many mod revival bands displayed pop punk leanings, particularly The Chords and Purple Hearts.
By 1981, hardcore punk had emerged in the United States, with louder, faster music than the songs played by punk bands. Vocal harmony, melodic instrumentation and 4/4 drumming were replaced with shouting, discordant instrumentation, and experimental rhythms. A few bands began to combine hardcore with pop music to create a new, faster pop punk sound, sometimes referred to as popcore (or skatecore), such as Descendents and The Vandals. Their positive, yet sarcastic approach began to separate them from the more serious hardcore scene. The term pop punk was used in the 1980s, in publications such as Maximum RocknRoll, to describe bands similar to Social Distortion, Agent Orange, and TSOL.[14]

Underground pop punk (early 1990s and later)
Many pop punk artists rejected mainstream record labels in favor of running their own labels or releasing albums on small independent labels, such as Lookout! Records, Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph Records. Many of these bands built large cult followings in the early 1990s, such as Bad Religion, NOFX[15][16], Propagandhi [17], The Queers, Mr. T Experience, and Screeching Weasel. Many of these bands were musically influenced by the Ramones' short song style and lyrical themes; such as boredom, dissatisfaction and growing older. However, some pop punk bands have expressed political themes in their lyrics, such as Propagandhi, Bad Religion and NOFX.

Popular acceptance (1994-1997)
In February 1994, Green Day released Dookie, the band's first album on a major label after starting out on the independent Lookout! Records. The first single, "Longview", instantly became a hit on MTV and modern rock stations across America. Following the success of their first single, Green Day released "Basket Case", which became an even bigger hit. Other hits from the album, included "When I Come Around", "Welcome to Paradise" and "She". Dookie sold 10 million copies in the US and 20 million copies worldwide. Green Day performed at Woodstock '94 and on Saturday Night Live, and appeared on the covers of Spin and Rolling Stone. They won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
Shortly after the release of Dookie, The Offspring released the album Smash on the independent label Epitaph Records. The first single "Come Out and Play", with a pop punk sound that differed from their earlier work, became popular first on radio and then on MTV. Other singles "Self Esteem" and "Gotta Get Away" sold well. The album sold over 14 million copies worldwide, setting a record for most albums sold on an independent label.
By the end of the year, Dookie and Smash had sold millions of copies.[18] The commercial success of these two albums attracted major label interest into pop punk, with bands such as Rancid and Bad Religion being offered lucrative contracts to leave their independent record labels. Rancid, while sticking with Epitaph Records, achieved some commercial success with the hits, "Ruby Soho" and "Time Bomb", from their album ...And Out Come The Wolves, which eventually went platinum.
Other punk and pop punk bands saw growing sales and increased interest surrounding their music. This also heralded the beginning of an era that would see mainstream pop punk drift farther away from underground pop punk, and closer to mainstream pop, with its radio-friendly lyrics, polished production values, and large sponsored tours. Many pop punk bands from this era played music that resembled traditional pop with a punk edge.
In the mid-1990s, a ska punk revival was taking place, led by bands such as Sublime, and Rancid. Some ska punk, such as that recorded by Goldfinger and Less Than Jake, shared many characteristic of pop punk, such as an upbeat sound.
By 1997, pop punk's audience had expanded significantly. Green Day's song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)", from their album Nimrod, brought pop punk to new levels of mainstream acceptance. The song featured Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong playing acoustic guitar and singing heartfelt lyrics, backed by violins. The song was used in the final episode of Seinfeld in 1998, exposing Green Day's music to a wider audience. Also, in 1997, Blink-182 released their third album and first commercial hit, Dude Ranch. It included two of most popular songs of the trio, "Dammit" and "Josie".

Continued mainstream ascent (1998-2003)
In 1998, The Offspring released the album Americana. This period of The Offspring's career is generally seen as their mainstream peak. The band released their next album Conspiracy of One (2000) on Napster before they released it on Columbia Records, sacrificing album sales so their fans could enjoy their music for free. Americana went platinum many times over, and produced hit singles and videos such as; "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)", "Why Don't You Get A Job?", and "The Kids Aren't Alright".
In 1999, trio Blink-182 released Enema of the State, which sold over 12 million copies worldwide. The album had three hit singles, including the #1 Single "All The Small Things" and the #2 singles "What's My Age Again?", and "Adam's Song". Like Green Day five years before them, Blink-182 inspired teens to jam out catchy, fun, four-chord pop punk tunes. Also in 1999, Lit released their second album A Place in the Sun which peaked at #31 on the Billboard 200 and spawned the single "My Own Worst Enemy" which spent 11 weeks at #1 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart. In 2001, Blink-182's album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was released and debuted at #1 on the Billboard album charts and sold over four million copies in the US. The album produced the modern rock and TRL hits "The Rock Show", "First Date", and "Stay Together For The Kids". In 2002, Blink-182 co-headlined one of the biggest tours in pop-punk history: the successful Pop Disaster Tour with Green Day.

Contemporary pop punk (2003 and later)
In 2003, Blink-182 released a self-titled album, which garnered the band several hits, such as "Feeling This" and "I Miss You." The band went on hiatus in 2005, with Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker founding the pop punk/alternative rock band +44, and Tom Delonge starting the alternative rock group Angels & Airwaves, along with other bands members. Some pop punk bands started playing a lyrically darker style of music, sometimes described as emo (although this was a reappropration of a term that had been in use much longer). In 2003, Florida pop punk band Yellowcard released the album Ocean Avenue and the hit singles "Ocean Avenue", "Way Away" and "Only One". New Found Glory released Catalyst in 2004, which included the hit, "All Downhill from Here." Although some songs on the album expanded on the band's hardcore influences, other songs added synthesizers and keyboards. Good Charlotte released their album The Chronicles of Life and Death in 2004. The album was less commercially successful than their previous effort, but it produced the hit singles "Predictable" and "I Just Wanna Live".
In October 2004, Sum 41 released the album Chuck, which mixed pop punk with several other genres, including thrash metal, alternative rock, hardcore and slower-paced music. Their first single, "We're All to Blame," reached #10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts, and the single "Pieces" topped the charts in Canada. Also in 2004, Green Day released the politically-driven rock opera American Idiot. The singles "American Idiot", "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", "Holiday", and "Wake Me Up When September Ends" received international airplay and MTV video rotation. In 2005, Fall Out Boy and The All-American Rejects gained much popularity with their breakthrough albums, From Under the Cork Tree and Move Along, respectively. These successes have influenced bands such as The Academy Is... and Boys Like Girls. Although these bands are not reliably classified as pop punk, they are influenced by pop punk bands such as Blink-182 and MxPx.
In July 2007, Sum 41 released Underclass Hero, which sounded more like their album All Killer No Filler than their heavier albums such as Chuck. Also in 2007, MxPx released their eighth studio album, Secret Weapon, which signified a return to their punk rock roots.

"Pop-Punk" as an Oxymoron
Many followers of the more underground styles of punk and hard rock often consider the term "pop-punk" a contradiction in terms given the fundmental natures of each originating genre -Punk being anti-establishment/anti-mainstream orientated in its stylings and beliefs and thus the defiant opposite to Pop. Many also consider the name dirivitive towards Punk as an evolving genre and so too the artists that may describe themselfs in this manner.
The coining of Pop-Punk as a genre may also be linked to the famous cliché, "Punk is Dead". This may be taken to cite how the mainstream medias' attention towards punk rock in the 70's subsequently caused many of the popular bands to be disregarded by their more hardcore peers.

See also
List of pop punk bands
Pop rock
Power pop

^ allmusic
^ The Modpoppunk Archives
^ The Ramones - Classic US Punk - Discography - Albums
^ allmusic ((( The Jam > Biography )))
^ The Buzzcocks, Pop Punk Pioneers
^ The Undertones
^ Undertones Get New Kicks : Rolling Stone
^ Bad Religion: New Maps of Hell - Music - Citysearch
^ Bad Religion Biography: Contemporary Musicians
^ Bad Religion, page 1 - Music - Westword - Westword
^ The Offspring: Conspiracy of One - PopMatters Music Review
^ Tiny Mix Tapes
^ New York Times, "Cabaret: Tom Petty's Pop Punk Rock Evokes Sounds of 60's", John Rockwell, March 9, 1977, Page C22, [1]
^ Maximum RocknRoll, "BLOODSPORT - cassette (music review)", Tim Yohannan, December 1984, Issue 20, Page 66, [2]
^ Punk Genres - The Subgenres of Punk Rock
^ NOFX: They've Actually Gotten Worse Live! - PopMatters Music Review
^ Vue Weekly : Edmonton's 100% Independent Weekly : Propagandhi is more than a middle finger response
^ Bestseller lists and Diamond Certification available at the RIAA website: http://www.riaa.com/gp/bestsellers/diamond.asp

External links
The Mod Pop Punk Archives - includes information about early pop punk bands
Poppunk.com - news and information about contemporary pop punk bands
Punk pop - article about pop punk music
The Buzzcocks, Founders of Pop Punk -article about the Buzzcock's role in developing pop punk genre

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