Pop-Punk Ain't (All) Junk, Part 1

Starting with last week's Drive Like Jehu themed show, we've shifted our focus for the Fall semester to 1990s indie/underground rock. After probing the depths of 1980s post-punk over the summer (with our Unfinished Business series of shows, plus a few spin-offs), we thought we'd change gears a bit. And this week's theme takes quite the shift: 1990s pop-punk. Pop-punk's certainly not a genre that typically receives a lot of play on The Way Out, nor is it a genre that garners a whole lot of respect in the broader music culture these days (hey, where were all the 20th anniversary celebrations of Jawbreaker's 24 Hour Revenge Therapy earlier this year?). But if you're going to have a discussion about punk or indie rock in the 1990s, you really need to talk about pop-punk. (Jason Heller's excellent "Fear of a Punk Decade" column at The AV Club recently made this point very clear, if only implicitly.)

Pop-punk may be associated with some of the most formulaic and insipid, not to mention apolitical,  music to carry the "punk" label (and for good reason - see the NOFX song on this playlist for just such a critique). But at least for a brief moment in the late 1980s and early 1990s, pop-punk was the site of some of the most innovative punk music around; it was refreshing a punk/hardcore scene that had begun to grow stale and cynical, or that had completely lost its way (see: much of hardcore punk's crossover into metal). Among other things, some of the era's most strident proponents of the DIY ethic were closely associated with pop-punk (groups like the 924 Gilman Street collective in Berkeley). And many pop-punk artists were among the most outspoken when it came to carrying on punk rock's social critiques (anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, et al). Moreover, pop-punk really wasn't a distinctly separate genre or scene back in the late 1980s and early/mid-1990s, at least not the way it would become in the late 1990s after the big commercial pop-punk boom. Back in the early 1990s, pop-punk, hardcore/post-hardcore, emo, crust, riot grrrl, ska, grindcore, et al, were all relatively entwined. The bands all shared bills together, and even if you were a straight edge kid, you probably had a Green Day or OpIvy record somewhere in your collection.

Whatever the case, take this show as our mini-defense of pop-punk. Of course, we've titled the show Pop-Punk Ain't (All) Junk, so we're hedging our bets a little. We're not going to lie: a lot of the most popular pop-punk out there is total, utter garbage. But if you look past your Blink 182's and Offspring's, there's some really good music to be found.

Here's the playlist for our Saturday, September 13, 2014, broadcast:

Ramones - "Cretin Hop"
Descendents - "I'm Not a Punk"
Bad Religion - "When?"
Screeching Weasel - "Hey Suburbia (Demo Version)"
Operation Ivy - "Junkie's Runnin' Dry"
Pegboy - "Through My Fingers"
Green Day - "2000 Light Years Away"
The Queers - "Granola-Head"
The Mr. T Experience - "Psycho Girl"
Supernova - "Math"
Crimpshrine - "Summertime"
Monsula - "Pre-Past Tense"
Fuel - "Disengaged"
NOFX - "Please Play This Song on the Radio"
J Church - "Fascist Radio"
Jawbreaker - "Indictment"
Samiam - "Bad Day"
Jawbox - "Reel"
Smoking Popes - "Rubella"
Chisel - "Hip Straights"

Archived streaming audio of this show can be heard here now (playable in Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, Opera, and Safari browsers):

Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Powered by Blogger.


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by LiteThemes.com.