In other volumes I've mostly talked about bands from the past. This volume will be about the present and more centrally, about one record label.
The label in question is Decaydance, a label owned by Fall Out Boy Bassist Pete Wentz and is a subside label of Fueled By Ramen, however that link is currently rumoured to be no longer.
Nevertheless Decaydance has produced a number of popular bands, who range over many genres including the Hip-Hop band, Gym Class Heroes and Jazz/Lounge singer Neumann. However it's roots are in Pop-Punk. Wentz, with his label and band, have evolved Pop-Punk to become a genre that is more mainstream and widespread, to the point where Pop-Punk music has mistakenly been branded as "emo". Who's to blame for this mistake? the bands? the labels? the press? That's an arguement that's left for a better day.
The Academy Is...
One of the first Decaydance bands to find major success was Chicago's The Academy Is.... The band's 2005 debut, "Almost Here", an album which gained quick success with songs such as "Checkmarks" and "Slow Down" proving popular.
The band's 2007 follow up, "Santi" was less popular and saw the band take more rock-orientated approach.
This year the band returned with "Fast Times At Barrington High", an album which was more Pop-Punk sounding and with song themes relating to being in High School and falling in and out of love (a common theme in Pop-Punk songs).
Next we have a band who have more success than The Academy Is... and could be considered to be on the same level as Wentz's band. The band in question is Panic At The Disco.
I'll admit Panic (for short) are not a Pop-Punk band but they're origins are; they started out as a Blink-182 cover band. They are a band that play pop music but on a grander level. In 2005 the band's debut "A Fever You Can't Sweet Out" saw the band gain mainstream success quickly, within a year the biggest song from the album, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" had won a MTV Video Music Award.
The band's latest album "Pretty Odd" is less dance-pop than their previous effort nor is it more punk. "Pretty. Odd" is a record that has had a split opinion. It's a change in direction from the band, who have removed the dance/electronic elements and replaced them with more traditional musical instruments and the songs are sound more mature.
Another Decaydance band from Las Vegas is The Cab, one of the more poppier bands from the Decaydance roster, that has been likened to funk-pop band Maroon 5 but still have Pop-Punk sensibilities within their music. So far the band have released one album, "Whisper War", which was released earlier this year.
Decaydance has been a label with many bands who are at a young age (late teens/early 20's) and this next band is no difference, Hey Monday, one of the most poppiest bands on the roster but with guitar-driven songs about heartbreak, I'm going to consider (just) a Pop-Punk band.
In conclusion Decaydance is a label that has proved to be successful very quickly. Is it due to good marketing? good music? or just being in the right place at the right time? The answer is all three. Decaydance has a winning formula, which may or may not last but for now, it will do.
I've realised it's been a week since i wrote the last one of these, so I thought I better write another. I'm not sure what I'm going to write about. So I'm just going to do it as I go along.
One band I know I want to talk about in this volume is a band called Midtown, a band from New Brunswick, New Jersey who recorded 3 albums and 2 EP's. The band were fronted by Gabe Saporta, who went on to form the Cobra Starship; who for the record are awful and I don't care if you think I'm a idiot or whatever for saying it. I'm allowed to have my own opinion.
Anyway here's a live version of a song called "Get It Together" from the album "Living Well is The Best Revenge".
Midtown split in 2004 but since there have been rumours of them reforming. As already stated lead vocalist and bassist Gabe Saporta went on to form Cobra Starship, Heath Saraceno joined Senses Fail, drummer Rob Hitt own's I Surrender Records with hosts band such as Valencia and Permanent Me and Tyler Rann sings in a band called Band of Thieves.
Next I'm going to talk about a band called The Movielife, a band that not nessceary a Pop-Punk band but nevertheless they are band that had Pop-Punk elements and have been an influence on bands today.
The Movielife formed in 1997 and were from Long Island, New York. One of the band's first major releases is "This Time Next Year" released in 2000 on Relevation Records. The band then releasd "The Movielife Has a Gambling Problem" an EP which featured "Walking on Glass".
The band's third and final release was "Forty Hour Train Back to Penn" in 2003.
Since then the band have gone on to do several projects, most notably Brandon Reilly who formed Nightmare of You and lead singer Vinnie Caruana formed I Am the Avalance and earlier this year performed a set of The Movielife songs with the band Set Your Goals.
Last night I was browsing the AP.net forums, when I came across a thread that questioned whether or not the music industry/"scene" is over-crowded with too many bands and/or genres?
I think the answer is more or less yes. I admit when it comes to defining a genre for some bands, it is hard, either because bands use many genres within their music (Enter Shikari being a easy example).
However there is a positive outcome of band's crossing genres and sounds and that is, it introduces the listener to something different and I personally think it's good if you like various genres of music. I don't see why people put themselves into a box and listen to one type of music but I have to admit, in this day and age I don't think many people do, and if they do they're probably pretending.
Nevertheless when it comes to a genre like Pop-Punk, there are now way to many bands, that either have the same look or sound or both. Take a band like Fall Out Boy for example, hugely successful and I would say they are now rather influential, why? Because there are other Fall Out Boys, with the same look and same style of songs, just look at bands like Every Avenue, The Maine, Mayday Parade, the list goes on.
Yes these bands have been influenced by Fall Out Boy etc but the problem is the lack creativity or do they? Are these bands forced into making that sound or having that look? Possibly because I think the problem is record labels; both independents and majors, mostly the latter, want success and they want to now.So they get them on the coolest tours and have the coolest clothing sponsor and have their banner on AP.net or featured on the frontpage of myspace or purevolume. All in all they all follow the same routine.
My problem is that alot of these bands are good but they do sound a lot like the other and it becomes difficult to differ one band from another. These type of bands do have talent and do write a few good songs, but thats just it, a few good songs. Maybe these bands do lack creativiety because most of these bands have about 4 or 5 good songs per album if that.
I mean no respect to these bands but most of them (or their management/record label) are just looking for a "quick buck", get the most of what you can from them before the next "in" thing comes round, just look at the whole nu-metal thing from 5 or so years ago. Fair enough some of those bands that were successful are still together, but you have to admit that they are not as successful as they were.
So here's a warning for all you myspace/buzznet/friends and enemies/'insert trendy social networking site here' users your "band of the week" want to be around forever. Why? because their music is the current sound and they have the current look.
I have to confess I do like these type of bands but I know they won't be around forever. For example I really like Hey Monday at the moment, but I know they won't last forever and I knew Blink 182 wouldn't be around forever.
I can't think of a good intoroduction for this volume. Basically this is going to be made up of the bands that never achieved mainstream success but still have influenced bands and wrote some classic Pop-Punk songs.
"San Dimas High School Football Rules" in my opinion is the essential Ataris song. It's fast paced and is a bitter love song. "San Dimas High School Football Rules" is taken from the fantastic 'Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits' which also features great songs such as "1*15*96" and "Your Boyfriend Suck".
The follow up album was 'End Is Forever' featued songs such as "Song for a Mix Tape" and "Teenage Riot".
After this The Ataris moved to a major label, Columbia Records, where they released "So Long, Astoria" with lead single 'In This Diary' giving the band more exposure.
"So Long, Astoria" also had songs such as "Unopened Letter to the World", "So Long, Astoria", "Looking Back on Today" and a cover of Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer".
Recently the band, well Kris Roe; due to the band's constant line-up changes, have decided to move away from it's Punk Rock origins and their last album, "Welcome The Night" sounded a more indie-rock sound. However since the relase Roe has been playing the band's "Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits" acoustically and have promised the band's next album will return to this sound.
Fenix TX started out as Riverfenix who released their self-titled first album on Drive-Thru in 1997. The album caught the attention of MCA Records who signed the band, who by now had renamed theirselves Fenix TX. In 1999 the band re-recorded their debut and released "Fenix TX". The standout track was "All My Fault".
The band's next album would be "Lechuza" which gained the band more attention and featured songs such as "Katie W", "Abba Zabba" and the single "Threesome".
Unfortunatly the band broke up after "Luchuza". Singer and guitarist Will Salazar formed the band Denver Harbour. However in 2004 the band reunited for a few shows. A plan for a European tour were made but were later cancelled.
Rufio are a band I have never really listened to recent but I have always been a fan of the track 'Still', taken from "Perhaps, I Suppose".
The same goes for a song by Audio Karate called 'Nintendo 89'.
So this is Volume 3. I have to admit I forgot some bands from 'the Essentials' list, so for the most part this Volume will be those bands. Starting with... New Found Glory
New Found Glory or A New Found Glory; if you want to refer to the band's old name, are band that when I first heard of them were "a Blink 182 rip-off" but since then I've changed and I have discovered NFG are much more than that. Their 2nd album, simply called 'New Found Glory' contained many songs that have gone to be highlights of the band's live show for example "Hit or Miss" and "Dressed To Kill".
The album saw NFG reach a new audience and the follow up, 'Sticks and Stones' which opened with the band reacting to it's new found fame on the track "Understatement". The album also had the typical Pop-punk song theme of being heartbroken and being a teenager. "My Friends Over You" is a fine example of this (and it had a funny video too).
The band's next album, 'Catalyst' saw the band performing slightly faster but with the Pop-punk sentiments still there. My favorites from this album include "Intro" a 37 second crazy track with added shoutng group vocals and the album's lead off single "All Downhill From Here". 'Catalyst' also saw the band writing a ballad called "I Don't Wanna Know".
This more slower, somewaht radio-friendly sound of NFG would continue with 2006's 'Coming Home' album. This has been an album that has split opinion with NFG fans, some like, some don't. I do. I admit it isn't the band's best work but I would call it an underrated album. A theme I got from listening to this album was the theme of 'being in love', songs such as "On My Mind", "Hold My Hand", "Too Good To Be" and the single "It's Not Your Fault" which also showed a couple of young lovers.
Since 'Coming Home' the band have released it's 2nd collection of covers made up of songs from movies, which saw the band having various guest vocalists from more recent bands such as Dashboard Confessional, Say Anything and Taking Back Sunday. Even more recently the band have returned to it's Punk/Hardcore roots and released an EP on Bridge 9 records.
Unfortunatly the band's old record label Geffen decided to release a Best Of collection after the band left the label. I'm not going to blame Drive-Thru for this; for those who don't know when Geffen dealed with Drive-Thru they basically took over Drive-Thru's biggest acts like NFG and Something Corporate and eventually they were treated quite poorly by Geffen, which would make Drive-Thru leave the deal as soon as they could.
Anyway NFG are now signed to permanent label, Epitaph. A label which in recent years has transformed itself from being a Punk Rock label to being a sub-genre label with bands and artists ranging from Politcal Rapper Sage Francis to Indie band The Weakerthans. I for one is eager to hear a new record from NFG in Febuary 2009.
Fall Out Boy
Ok let me put this straight for anyone who thinks the following: Fall Out Boy are NOT an "emo" band, they never have and never will be. They are a Pop-Punk through and through.
Present day Fall Out Boy are a very different band to what they were in their origins. Back in 2003 FOB released "Fall Out Boy's Evening Out with Your Girlfriend" an album which the band, for some reason, now ignore to an extent. This was quickly followed up by the band's Fueled By Ramen debut, "Take This To Your Grave", a collection of 12 songs, some of which have gone on to be considered the band's best work, for example "Dead On Arrival", "Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy" and "Saturday".
The follow up came in 2005 and just a few months after then-Pop-Punk kings Blink 182 had split up. So the mainstream Pop-Punk needed a heir and the band's 2005 album "From Under The Cork Tree". This album pushed the band to another level with it's radio-friendly song and clever lyrics by Pete Wentz, saw the band given much more exposure with 'Sugar, We're Going Down' receiving wide airplay in many countries.
The band use of clever and culture-refrenced lyrics continued with "Infinity On High" with the album's first single, "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race", seeing the band confronting the state of the so-called "emo scene" which has built up in recent years and the album musically saw the band develop a more pop sound then punk. This looks set to continue with the forthcoming "Folie à Deux" album.
The change in Fall Out Boy's sound has and will continue to divide listeners. However you have to give credit to them and Wentz especially for the clever ways in which the band continues to promote itself and their work, just look at the recent Viral Marketing campaign, which slowly led to the band revealing details of their new album.
It could be considered Fall Out Boy are more a product of consumerism; they have their own dolls, more than a Pop-Punk band? Because with Fall Out Boy, you don't just have your album and your regular merchandise etc. You have a social networking site, you have a blog, you have a clothing line and much more. Is it clever marketing or just plainly over the top? Nevertheless Fall Out Boy have influenced many bands, that have came out over the last year or so.
Ok so here's Volume 2. This list will basically be the essential bands, the ones that introduced me to the genre. (As always videos can be seen on my own blog: http://seanreidsblog.blogspot.com/)
If you don't know who this band are, then where have you've been?
Blink were one of the bands that introduced me to Pop-Punk, with the band's breakthrough album, 'Enema of The State'. That album featured the band's biggest hit 'All The Small Things', however I've opted to choose 'What's My Age Again?' as one of the essential Blink 182 song.
Of course I'm not going to be a fool and ignore Blink's pre-'Enema of The State' period. The following track is 'Dammit', from the band's 'Dude Ranch' album.
I'd also like to include the following Blink 182 songs:
Pathetic (from Dude Ranch)
Anthem (from Enema of the State)
Going Away To College (from Enema of the State)
Mutt (from Enema of the State)
Story of a Lonely Guy (from Take Off Your Pants and Jacket)
Stay Together For The Kids (from Take Off Your Pants and Jacket)
Reckless Abandon (from Take Off Your Pants and Jacket)
Please Take Me Home (from Take Off Your Pants and Jacket)
Feeling This (from untitled/self-titled)
Go (from untitled/self-titled)
All of This (from untitled/self-titled)
Unfortunatly in Febuary 2005 Blink 182 split-up and of course there has been various rumours of the band getting back together but personally I prefer if they didn't.
Before this band turned into a rip-off Green Day/Blink 182 band (see last year's 'Underclass Hero' album for details), they were a mainstay in the Pop-Punk community. The band's breakthrough album, 'All Killer, No Filler' was a fun record with metal riffs. The album's biggest single was, of course, Fat Lip with the essential funny music video.
Sum 41-Fat Lip
The album also had other great singles; 'Motivation' and 'In Too Deep'.
It's also worth checking out this song
Sum 41- Makes No Difference (From Half Hour of Power)
Unfortuantly the band has not yet managed to reach the same level success as 'All Killer, No Filler', despite having some decent songs for example 'Hell Song(from 'Does This Look Infected?'), the ballad-like song 'Piecies' (from 'Chuck') and 'With Me' (from Underclass Hero).
No personally I don't consider Green Day as a Pop-Punk band, I consider them simply as a Punk band. However I guess you could say they are an influence on various bands that are labelled 'Pop-Punk'.
I'll try and keep this brief, so I won't talk about 'American Idiot' and probably 'Warning'. Anyway I guest I have to start with 'Basket Case' from the mega-selling album, 'Dookie'.
I'd also recommened these Green Day songs:
Brain Stew/Jaded (from 'Insomniac)
Nice Guy's Finish Last (From 'Nimrod')
Hitchin' A Ride (From 'Nimrod')
Redundant (From 'Nimrod')
Longview (From 'Dookie')
Welcome To Paradise (From 'Dookie')
When I Come Around (From 'Dookie')
Volume 3 is coming soon.
Feedback/Suggestions are welcomed as always.
The title says it plain and simple.
Here are the first bunch of my personal favorite Pop-Punk songs (ever!)
EDIT: Ok so I thought I'd expand on this post and give reason for posting this. Basically I am; with some guilt, a huge Pop-Punk fan (even though my favorite 3 bands arn't Pop-Punk bands, weird). It's my favorite genre of music. Some may describe it as Pop music but with guitars. I would have to agree to an extent, for the most part Pop-Punk is harmless music; it's fast but not to heavy, it can be emotional not entirely emo, it can be fun but it's not over the top.
For me this type of music can brighten up my day. If I feel down, still a song on that is bouncy and fast paced and I'll feel good. It's also a good way to get me out of bed in the morning; having my iPod next to my bed is very handy, stick a good tune on and it'll wake me up.
The Starting Line- Best of Me
I first heard this band on a TV channel we used to have in the UK called P-Rock, unfortuately it didn't last very long. However at the time the channel expose me to some great bands like The Starting Line, Brand New and Taking Back Sunday. As well as the following two bands, Allister and Home Grown.
Allister- Somewhere On Fullerton
Home Grown- You're Not Alone
All Time Low- Coffee Shop Soundtrack
All Time Low are one of the many of a new crop of Pop-Punk bands. I first came across this band after hearing them on a Warped Tour Compilation a few years back, it was this track. Since this song, which was released on the band's 2006 Put Up or Shut Up EP, the band have gone on to find greater success with the band's recent release 'So Wrong, It's Right'.