Pop punk: more than just Blink 182

Blink 182, the so-called “king” of pop punk, is coming to town soon. If you think Blink 182 mastered pop punk, or better yet, invented it, well, you’re wrong.

I mean, for starters, popular acts like Green Day were already big on the scene when Tom DeLonge was making fart jokes (and he hasn’t stopped) in middle school. In all actually, Blink 182 acquired their catchy, funny pop punk edge from many bands before their time, like the Dead Milkmen (see song: “If You Love Somebody, Set Them on Fire”), and they continue to be thwarted by bands way better than them. So here’s the best pop punk, or pop punk influenced, bands from the 1970s to present day.

Generation X broke into the scene in 1977 with their self-titled debut album. Then, Billy Idol fronted punk act featured blazing power-chord riffs and catchy choruses, all focused on the more lighthearted subject of a teenage-like romance. These three properties, coined originally by the Ramones, would become staples in the pop punk genre as it developed throughout the ’80s and ’90s. “Kiss Me Deadly” is probably my favorite pop influenced punk song ever written.

While British punk was still big in England with Generation X and the Clash, the American hardcore scene was exploding. The Descendents took the American Hardcore momentum and added a pop twist. Upon their hit album, “Milo Goes to College,” in 1982, the LA Times wrote that it was “perfect for the little guy who was ever called a nerd and never got the girl, [its] earthy humor conveys what is often an inarticulate rage.” Being the only hardcore band singing about hopeless romanticism and never wanting to grow up, it’s obvious the impact the Descendents had on pop punk. Travis Barker of Blink 182 even sports the definitive Descendents logo as a tattoo.

During the Descendents’ reign in the ’80s, the Dead Milkmen were working their way up with snotty vocals and humorous lyrics. Their most recognizable song includes a terrible Jim Morrison impression, mocking a popular ’80s court TV show (“The People’s Court”), and lyrics running over the elderly. This common humor is found often in popular pop punk, such as Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again?” or Green Day’s “Nice Guys Finish Last.” Oh, and Green Day was around before Blink 182 (in 1987), but I don’t think I need to explain their influence on pop punk to anyone.

The early-to-mid 1990s showed an influx of popular punk groups. The years 1993-1995 alone saw the release of Green Day’s “Dookie,” Rancid’s “…And Out Come the Wolves,” Bad Religion’s “Recipe for Hate,” and most importantly to pop punk, The Offspring’s “Smash.” This album placed the Offspring on the charts for the rest of the decade with hits like “Come out and Play.” No Blink 182 record could ever come close to the pop punk masterpiece “Americana.”

Honestly, I had more than enough reason to not care when Blink 182 got back together. Modern day pop punk acts have far surpassed the monotony of Blink 182, and older pop punk acts show a lot more ambition. Since the new millennium, there have been tons of bands to one-up Blink 182. Check out the Ergs!, the Copyrights, Teenage Bottlerocket, the Sidekicks, or the Methadones. I promise they’re about ten times more angsty.