Pop punk is right up there with crunkcore and saccharine R&B as far as much-maligned genres go — and if you’ve ever had to endure Alien Ant Farm’s cover of “Smooth Criminal” or grew up cringing as Blink-182 made a lucrative career out of wiener jokes, you’ll understand why. Still, after a fallow period in the late 2000s, the genre seems to be rearing its head again — Blink-182 are reuniting, and New Found Glory just announced a tour with the defiant title “Pop Punk’s Not Dead.” At Flavorpill, we’re always up for a challenge, so we thought we’d take on the musical equivalent of taking the negative in a high school debate about climate change, or war crimes, or something — we’ve trawled the history of the genre for ten albums that actually aren’t that bad. A pop-punk list that doesn’t feature Blink-182, Sum 41, or any other band with a number in its name? The results are after the jump.
Buzzcocks — Love Bites (1978)
They started out as artsy kinda punk rock, but Buzzcocks embraced the pop-oriented end of the punk spectrum after original band leader Howard Devoto left in early 1977 to form Magazine. The band’s pop leanings truly came to the fore with their second studio album, released in 1978. It set the template for a zillion pop punk bands to follow — energetic, melodic, and not inclined to take itself overly seriously. And, of course, it contains the classic “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t've),” perhaps the archetypal pop punk track.