Like most of music’s recent trends, the pop-punk boom is in Soundcloud’s debt.
The music world has an on-again-off-again relationship with punk’s radio-friendly offshoot. After existing in obscurity, Green Day, The Offspring and Weezer brought the genre to the mainstream in 1994, marking the start of a defining cycle.
By the late ’90s, most early pop-punk acts faded and a new generation led by Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World and American Football took the mantle. Again, Paramore and Fall Out Boy rose afterwards with an increased audience in the mid-2000’s.
But who’s next? Except for Paramore, most mid-2000s punk bands broke up or abandoned the genre entirely by the start of the 2010s. Music moved on and the genre was down to a few holdovers with a desperate need for new blood.
After his star-making feature on Migos chart topping “Bad and Boujee,” Lil Uzi Vert’s highly anticipated “Luv is Rage 2” went through a series of delays. Instead of waiting, Uzi released a holdover EP for fans on Soundcloud, “Luv is Rage 1.5,” with career changing results.
“XO Tour Llif3” was not only a breakthrough for Lil Uzi Vert, but the track’s heavy pop-punk infusion made it one of the highest charting songs for the genre in years.
While Lil Uzi Vert may have warmed up audiences for the impending rap/pop-punk wave to come, the credit for creating the template belongs to one of his fellow Soundcloud pioneers.
Without Lil Peep, this revival wouldn’t exist. Lil Uzi Vert had the popularity that Peep never reached, but Lil Uzi Vert’s influences outside of hip-hop primarily pushed him closer towards pop while Peep’s hip-hop influences were less dominant.
Peep’s blend of trap and punk was in its musical infancy, but his genuineness could overcome most criticisms. “Hellboy,” Peep’s breakthrough mixtape, is packed with samples from artists such as Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, Aphex Twins and many smaller bands to create a “here’s what I’m listening to” vibe that helped audiences relate.
“I feel like the music industry had been falling into a pattern of creating music with the same sounds of old ones but with new lyrics,” said Angel Cruz-Viola, a first-year psychology and gender studies major. “So, this new blend of genres allows for the creation of innovative new music.”
Of the holdovers from past generations of pop-punk, few managed to stay relevant. Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore, was critically acclaimed for her talent in her era. Paramore released their first album while Williams was still 16 and by the time the genre began to enter its death spiral Williams was just entering her 20s.
Paramore’s fifth album “After Laughter” is a synthpop masterclass. Williams’ solo work effortlessly incorporates indie rock, and features on B.o.B’s “Airplanes” and Zedd’s “Stay the Night” highlight a transcendent talent.
The influence of Paramore has only just begun to show itself. If Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish are any indication, a generation of Hayley Williams devotees may soon control pop.
Like Paramore, Blink-182 is one of the most memorable bands of all time and still holds relevance. Mark Hoppus leads the band, former lead vocalist Tom DeLonge might actually prove aliens are real and drummer Travis Barker’s production skills have carried this new era of artists.
Over the past two years, Barker has produced for Machine Gun Kelly, Willow and nearly anyone else who wants to get their feet wet in pop-punk. Barker started his own record label, signing pop-punk icon Avril Lavinge to join his growing empire.
You don’t need many reasons to doubt the newest wave of the genre. Travis Barker is one of the world’s best drummers, but he is one man and he cannot carry everyone on his back.
More concerning, pop-punk historically has an atrocious history in the treatment of women, and Machine Gun Kelly’s style of relying on the genre’s misogynistic tendencies are discouraging.
Eventually, the genre will need to find its creative powerhouses that go beyond riding a Travis Barker beat. Fortunately, pop punk’s underground has bubbled to the surface, with Oso Oso, Beach Bunny and Chloe Moriondo becoming critical successes. There’s room for new artists to ride the wave.
Laine Chmielewski, a sophomore creative writing major, spoke on this blending of musical impact on music and campus.
“I think that the blending of different cultures and tastes impacts everyone around campus, as it creates this idea that people are multifaceted beings that can come from multiple backgrounds and like multiple things,” Chmielweski said.
Featured image courtesy of Julia Martins and Isabelle Dino.