A Love Letter to Pop Punk Music
Dearest Pop Punk,
By now, I am sure that you know how your dirty flirtations, presented through salty language and general allure, have affected the souls of many, in the form of us falling in love with you. It was a cruel move on your behalf, to afflict us with such merciless and irrevocable feelings, but we all know how you revel in it all, you sadist, you.
You are a tidal wave of fast-paced plucks and quick chord variations on a selection of lush electric guitars which welcomes the aural taste buds of authority-questioning teenagers, unsatisfied young adults and pleasure-seeking grown-ups to your underground club of pop punk. Your sound is a concoction of revolutionary rebellion poured over teen spirit, with just enough happy-go-lucky charm to give you the ‘OK’ from radio stations and conservative dads internationally. You lure in a crowd with more diversity than a high school textbook and, one music video and an entrancing interview later, every member of your audience suddenly knows each pop punk band-member’s deepest secret, place of birth, and blood type.
You were the alternative genre generated in the ’70s, the defining mood that created the ’80s and then you turned into a giant bomb of aggressive-rock-for-kids, and burst into the ’90s with a whole lot of shouting and rhythmic-clapping, thanks to Blink-182. You were the influencer for Green Day, Bowling for Soup and Busted. You are the reason why cool but pent-up rock chicks (me) are saying “Can 5 Seconds of Summer release a UK tour, already? (Please).” You even appear in the intense yet dazed rock scores of Best Coast. And we thank you for that, greatly.
Yet, what is it that makes your genre of music more exciting than a hyped rap ballad, but still as emotional as a love song? Perhaps it is your volume and pace; a beat strong enough to endure a WWE battle or keep someone alive during a grueling gym session. It is the sound of the climax of every romantic action thriller ever and the beginning of summer; the sound of jumping out of a plane and falling madly in love. Undoubtedly, your diversity also comes down to your words of wisdom—these bright and shiny pearls that are beautiful but slightly misshapen—which are often riddled with innuendo, suggestion and a bit of hardcore love. How were you fueled during those early years? Pure rebellion? Pure heroin? I don’t know, and you probably can’t remember either, but, whatever it was, it created the sound of teenage exhilaration.
That aside, what have you done for the people? Well, you made it a little easier for people to define themselves. You can see a person walking down the street in a The Jam t-shirt and you know that their hearts belong in the period of the mod revival. You can see a person walking down the street in an All Time Low t-shirt and you can think “Who hurt you?” The meaning of Pop Punk, to love and to loathe, has aided thousands of adolescents with moody pouts through ‘tough’ (come on) times, whilst giving them blood-pumping motivation and determination for nothing in particular and for no reason whatsoever.
In the modern age, I have found you to be more romantic, with all of your lyrics about “getting out of this town” and “wasting time together,” but coupled with the overall sound of euphoric psychitude, you keep your audience feeling so young and alive! Whenever anyone is down, they can rely on you to reassure them, a little naively, that they’re a 10 and that everything will work out in the long run. For that, I guess you are also to blame for our infinite hope—the kind which adults in mundane lines of work smirk at—but it’s amazing how you make people believe in themselves like you do.
The fanatics, who are loyal to the music that inspired your being, say that you are nothing more than a spin-off, a version of punk that wasn’t punk enough or a version of rock that was too trivial to roll. However, you are Pop Punk; your soul purpose is to fight and protest, so you really don’t care.
Love you always,
Sapphire Demirsöz is a 17-year-old aspiring writer and actress who lives in the UK. She is currently studying Literature, History, Media and Religious Studies at school and she works as a support artist in television shows. She loves watching movies by Judd Apatow and dancing around her house to pop punk. You can find her on Twitter at @SapphireD_.
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