All right. I’m just going to say it. The early 2000s was probably the best era in music since the Vietnam War. There. I said it. Pop-punk especially had some of the best years of its life, and that’s what I’m here to talk about. Okay, maybe that’s not ALL I’m here to talk about, but it’s going to be a lot of it, so open up your eager eyes.
One of the most important (and most debated) concepts in punk music—especially pop-punk—is going mainstream. That’s right—the big, bad wolf that is selling out. But did they? My answer is a great big, giant NO. Getting signed and making it big isn’t selling out. Why? Because sharing the music is the point. Yeah, Green Day could have stayed in California. Fall OutBoy could have stayed in Illinois. Aerosmith could have stayed in Boston and Nutella could have stayed in Italy. But none of that is relevant. These bands (and life-saving substance) all had more important things to do, bigger things to say, and more people to reach.
Getting signed does not mean you’ve forgotten where you came from. That being said, sometimes a person just can’t live with the sight of that old front door—or needs to get away from it to find or provide empowerment— and moving on from that is a crucial step that often gets mistaken for pretention; in music and in life.
All right, kids. Now that we’ve got that settled, here’s what I consider to be the ten most important mainstream tracks of that era. Feel free to comment your own personal top ten’s—that’s my favorite part! Now, I’m not saying these are my favorite songs ever, or the most important to the genre. So what are the qualifications? It’s one part ease of recognition, two parts how many times people played that track on repeat when they thought no one was looking, and a dash of pure-throw-your-head-back-and-scream-along-ability. That’s a word, right? Genre lines are gonna get blurry, but the music’s about to get lit, so turn it up.
Listen to them all with our Spotify playlist HERE.
10. Ocean Avenue—Yellowcard—2003
9. I Write Sins, Not Tragedies—Panic! At the Disco—2005
8. The Anthem—Good Charlotte—2002
7. In Too Deep—Sum 41—2001
6. Punk Rock 101—Bowling For Soup—2002
5. I Miss You—Blink 182—2004
4. American Idiot—Green Day—2004
3. Sugar We’re Goin’ Down—Fall Out Boy—2005
2. Mr. Brightside—The Killers—2004
1. Welcome to the Black Parade—My Chemical Romance—2006