Contemporary mainstream artists such as Olivia Rodrigo, Machine Gun Kelly and Willow Smith (who is now professionally known as “WILLOW”) have belted out recent chart-topping hits that pay homage to the pop-punk styles of 2000s artists such as Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, blink-182 and Paramore.
Predictably, many veterans of the pop-punk movement of yesteryear are taking full advantage of this newfound glory. All Time Low, for instance, has been making it a point to embrace the fortuitous TikTok virality of their 2008 single “Dear Maria, Count Me In” by using the song to set an ambiance for the umpteenth “But it’s not a phase, mom!” joke.
The band is also proving itself remarkably attuned to the pop-punk revival in tapping one of its biggest rising stars, a band called Meet Me @ The Altar, as a supporting act for one of the first major pop-punk touring packages announced since the COVID-19 pandemic.
But perhaps the most high-profile champion of this resurgence is blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, whose recent pop-punk-flavored exploits have included collaborations with WILLOW (you’re supposed to shout it as you read it) and Machine Gun Kelly, in addition to other rubber-boned fledglings such as Yungblud and Trippie Redd.
If this makes you feel old, you clearly didn’t have a pop-punk phase in your golden years, as those who did are understandably using this trend as a lofty bridge to buoyantly strut over their deep-seated insecurities about getting older (“Alexa, play ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac.”).
On the other hand, many of us who have lived through the 2000s pop-punk era are not as quick to look back with rose-colored glasses.
After all, some of these bands sported frosted tips. Some of them recorded specially commissioned songs for Scooby Doo movies. Good Charlotte existed, and nobody batted an eye when a 25-year-old Joel Madden dated a 16-year-old Hilary Duff (swear to God).
It was far from a tasteful musical renaissance, but to pop-punk’s credit, it captures the spirit of fleeting youth better than many musical genres. When you’re 14, being in an all-ages venue with like-minded people in your own age group is a refuge like no other. Four-chord punk songs with catchy hooks and basic A-B-A-B-C-B structures can cater to a wide range of sensibilities encapsulating the teenage experience, whether they are feelings of depression, love or just wanting to party.
It was far from a tasteful musical renaissance, but to pop-punk’s credit, it captures the spirit of fleeting youth better than many musical genres.
Hell, My Chemical Romance’s resonance with millennial youth was so potent that the band’s now-canceled reunion tour included a sold-out stop at American Airlines Center. To put into perspective how meteoric that is, bear in mind that the band’s last headlining show in Dallas was at House of Blues in 2011, the same year they opened for blink-182 on the Honda Civic Tour.
If that same tour iteration took place today, the billing would be reversed, and that’s a powerful testament to the volatile changes that have happened over the past 10 years.
Almost to this day in 2011, we posted a photo gallery of that year’s Dallas stop for the Vans Warped Tour. It wasn’t exactly the most prosperous year for pop-punk. And almost two years ago from this day, we talked to Jeph Howard from The Used, who was promoting a Warped Tour offshoot called the Rockstar Disrupt Festival. The affair was headlined by his band, as well as Thrice, Circa Survive, The Story So Far and others. Let’s just say, uh, there was a damn good reason why it was promoted so heavily, and an arguably better reason why the touring festival never happened again.
Maybe the pandemic played at least a marginal role, but how or why the pendulum has lately swung in overwhelming favor for pop-punk can only be answered with blind speculation. But just as Joel Madden’s past romantic partners inevitably reach the age of consent, ephemeral trends in music inevitably make a comeback.
It’s not a phase mom, indeed.