90′s Pop-Punk Takes the Cake
by Nicholas Vitukevich
It broke through after the grunge phase, and was before the teenie bop era. Yes, the 90’s had many waves of music come and go that endured millions of cult-like fans, but the pop-punk wave was one of the best of the decade.
Yes, punk-rock was reborn in the early 90’s with a little less Blitzkreig and a little more Americana; Green Day, Blink 182, The Offspring and even Sum 41 brought in the rear of a decade of new-wave pop-punk. They were the quirky kids that everyone loved with blue and green hair, that said the word “fuck, fuck, shit fuck,” (see the Mark, Tom and Travis Show) cause it was really cool at age 10 and even had spiky things on their wrists.
But the mainstream punk craze has come and gone, it’s not 1996 anymore, and everyone’s gotten the message…except for the band’s themselves that is.
I get it – you guys were making your music because you knew my life story. You were singing to me. Yes, I was once the 11 year old, overweight, white boy, who grew up with a happy family in suburban New Hampshire. But I understand, I get that what it means to really fight against your parents (the happy family we really were). Stick it to “the man.” And, hey, even have cool spiky hair.
But lets stop the charade. You’re not getting new fans. I have (somewhat of) a life now. My spiky hair is gone. You guys are hitting late 40’s. You have kids. That’s not punk rock, where’s the rebellion when you have a baby stroller Billy Joe?
But regardless, you still keep making new “punk” rock music for your fans that now have wives and kids themselves. Stop doing that. Stop trying to recreate yourselves. Stop coming out with new CD’s that aren’t true to yourself. You’re starting to look like Adam Sandler in Jack and Jill. He will never be able to recreate Billy Maddison again and you guys won’t be able to recreate Cheshire Cat, Dookie or even Smash.
I’m not saying stop playing, or stop making music from time to time. Just stop tryign to recreate yourself for the next set of teenie-boppers. You’re not punk-rock anymore, you’re old.
Let’s look at where these guys are at now, and where they should have stopped.
Blink 182 – The poster boys for pop-punk in the 90′s. Everyone wanted to be you, but you were untouchable. Yeah, they made it big with “All the small things,” and “Damnit” was probably the first song you learned how to play on your guitar but does anyone remember “M+M’s,” “Wasting Time,” or “Josie?”
The band broke up in 2005 shortly after releasing their self titled album Blink 182 (“Feeling This,” “I Miss You) and they should have kept it that way. The break up was one of the biggest in music history, you would have thought it was The Beatles or The Stones. Nope, it was just blink, you can hear a girl screaming frantically in the video below as MTV broke the news on TRL. (The girl screaming from the breakup is actually me at 12 years old).
(see break up announcement here http://newsroom.mtv.com/2009/02/24/remember-the-blink-182-announcement-that-rocked-trl)
The band broke due to internal differences, and creative big headed-ness. They thought all their side projects (+44, Angles and Airwaves, Box Car Racer) would be their new beginning. Well guys, this isn’t N* Sync, and you’re not Justin Timberlake. I think you figured that out fast when fans were boo-ing your side projects off stage and bring “We Want Blink” posters to your concerts.
Blink came back in 2009 after drummer Travis Barker had a near death experience in a plane crash, and all the bands musical side projects did have death experiences. But they didn’t stop their, they released a sixth studio album, Neighbors in the fall of 2011. The album was full of light pop-beats, cheery lyrics and didn’t have the same Blink feel to it as past albums have.
It was purely put out to help the band recreate themselves and have a money maker with a full overpriced summer tour to follow. Too bad the band canceled a majority of their 2o12 summer tour date in late April, looks like the internal problems are still at hand.
Green Day – Yeah, they were that “other” pop-punk trio that wasn’t Blink. The band was that crazy, high energy group that truly cared about their fans and got the crowd into every show they played. Though, after the bands sixth studio album Warning (2000) bombed it seemed like the guys might be heading south.
A short three year hiatus ensued and then they completely recreated themselves with American Idiot (2004) which followed up with 21st Century Breakdown (2009). Two albums that sound nothing like the Green Day of the 90′s. Where the band used to be filled with hard chords, heavy lyrics and a fast beat tempo, now they think they are the modern aged Beatles making mainstream self described rock-opera’s.
While this may have launched the band to be one of the biggest acts post-2000′s, they are nothing what they used to be in terms of punk.
They used to be cool, not care about their appearance, have a grunge feel to them. I mean who else would dropkick a fan that paid to go to their concert ’cause they didn’t like them (see below video).
It was announced that the band will be releasing a trilogy of albums starting in September of 2012 and ending before the calendar year called ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!. Let’s hope the trio gets out of this rock-opera funk, though from the album title I doubt that’ll be the case.
The Offspring – The peculiar minds of The Offspring might be one that stayed true to their core, or at least tried to. The group that brought you Self-Esteem, Why Don’t You Get a Job, and Pretty Fly released Rise & Fall, Rage & Grace in 2008. While the album might not have been as fun as past Offspring albums, it stayed true to punk roots and the band didn’t try to recreate themselves.
They’re set to release their ninth studio album Days Go By in June 2012.
Many acts tried to copy the success of our 90′s pop-punk friends. Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and similar bands hopped on too late, got famous too fast and burned out within a few years. They’ve changed, they’ve conformed, they’ve sold out. They got rid of the blue hair, cleaned up the clothes for shirts and ties, and changed their music. While these acts are still making records, there will never be quite a wave in music again like the 90′s pop-punk era.