Pop Punk’s Not Dead: why people have a problem with it…


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Pop Punk’s a pleasure. A guilty pleasure.

I’m an advocate for pop-punk. Like a big slice of chocolate cake from the fridge in the middle of the night, pop-punk is my guilty pleasure. No matter how simplicity cheesy it may be, you can’t argue how heinously addictive it is. Fast and simple chord patterns, frantic four-to-the-floor and a ear-hammer loud mix: make for a good cocktail of release music. And yet, due to its its repetition, lacklustre cliches and expected motifs, so it never reaches the heights of idyllic “in-depth” genres and is often down-trodden like the simple sibling in the family.

I say to that, isn’t the point of it all? Isn’t it meant to be cheesy, unadulterated fun? The best bit about pop-punk is that it doesn’t try to be anything else. Not like his far-outright cousin of melty post-punk – a genre that has neither a mutual understanding for what it is, or if it’s a genre at all – who often gleams at the dinner table, proud of its new-wave nuances. Which don’t get me wrong, it’s cool and all. But pop-punk doesn’t wish for the edgy cargo pants or the lava lamp to stick with in this family. It just needs a misunderstood audience to sing to.

The MGK Problem

This same notion of it being exactly the point fits the bill when acutely-aware music fanatics with a keen sense of what makes music “good”, stick their brash noses up at the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, a character and palette often thought deserving to be at the bottom of the ocean for many; all the while forgetting that it sounds exactly like how the rest of pop-punk sounds.

The Blinks, the Neck Deeps, the Stand Atalntics to the Paramore (subject to a re-fit), all squeeze up in the wafer-thin bracket of pop-punk – a cluster-f*ck of adolescent “letting-it-all-go” heartbreak for the debbie downers, the burn outs to the down-and-outers. Now, we see the pop-punk’s revilitisation in early risers like MGK, Willow and even Olivia Rodrigo. The perfect reflection of modern Gen-Z angst. The artists of today, for tomorrow.

What’s more, it turned out that MGK’s music fitted the pop-punk cogs quite nicely. It required a bit more elbow-grease to fit – on an account of him being an arsehole – but it fit, nonetheless. Now, if we’re going off the basis of pop-punk stigma, is him being an arsehole perceived as a success – or is it simply unwarranted for someone who used to be no more than a rapper? Either way, it smells rotten, whatever it is.

Look, I’m not trying to toy with the idea that we should take pop-punk seriously, (as we should do the total opposite in fact, and take it at face value) but rather, take ourselves less seriously on how we take on music. We’re not bonafide connoisseurs, we’re listeners with an opinion. Take the music at face-value and enjoy it for what it is – fabulous nonsense.

who am I tryna kid? I’m so mediocre, I don’t measure up to no one. I’m not perfect, I’m a screw up. Who could love me like this?

Ugly Crier, Mckenna Grace

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