A Ten Song Introduction To Early 2000s Pop Punk Music

Pop punk is alive once again, for better or for worse (I’m talking about you, MGK). Let The Mic’s former Features Editor Gemma Cockrell take you on a trip down memory lane and show you what true pop punk really is.

All The Small Things – blink-182

Obviously, I had to pick a blink-182 song for the list, and since there were so many other pop punk bands available during this era, I made sure to limit myself to just one track from each band. All The Small Things is blink-182’s most well-known song, and to this day it will get any pop punk fan on their feet, singing at the top of their lungs. Even though this list is in no particular order, this one definitely deserves the top spot.

American Idiot – Green Day

Green Day were perhaps my first introduction to pop punk – through 5 Seconds of Summer, of course, like every 13-year-old in 2014. Even though Basket Case is their biggest song, that was released in the 90s, so I thought the best fit for the list was American Idiot. The album of the same name is undoubtedly Green Day’s most well-known – it was bold, ambitious, and larger than life. This song makes a huge political statement, capturing the essence of punk with a hint of pop in the upbeat guitars.

In Too Deep – Sum 41

Again, I have picked a band’s most popular song, but it’s popular for a reason, right? The second single from All Killer, No Filler tells the story of a relationship that needs to end, a topic that would become a popular lyrical theme of the genre. The track Fat Lip from the same album might capture the raucous energy of punk more, but In Too Deep has more of a pop edge. The catchy powerhouse chorus makes it essential for this list.

Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne

Unfortunately, pop punk was a much more male dominated genre back in the early 2000s than it is in 2022. Paramore would soon come along, but before Hayley Williams was Avril Lavigne. Sk8er Boi may be more pop than punk, but she captured the image of the era and took it to the mainstream. The most notable female voice in the pop punk scene in the early 2000s, Avril proved to young girls like myself that rock and roll wasn’t only for men.

The Anthem – Good Charlotte

What does every musical era need? A defining anthem. And Good Charlotte were here to provide one. “This is the anthem, throw all your hands up” they sing on their 2002 hit, and a whole wave of fans obeyed. The Young and the Hopeless had a long list of hits, including Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous and Girls & Boys, but The Anthem was probably the most defining one, and remains their most popular hit to this day.

The Middle – Jimmy Eat World

A message of reassurance that everything will be alright in the end is what Jimmy Eat World provided on The Middle. Taken from their popular 2001 album Bleed American, this track begins with instantly recognisable guitar strums that any pop punk fan will be able to identify. It is a relatively short song, with an energetic burst of a chorus and a memorable guitar solo in the latter half of the track. If you need some encouragement and positivity, this one is for you.

Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard

Telling the tale of a nostalgic teen romance that should have never ended, Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard is a lot more… happy than any of the other picks on the list. Pop punk can tend to dwell on anger and breakups, but this song tells a different story. Yes, there is still some sadness involved, as the love story that is being sung about is in the past, but if you’re a romantic at heart then this is the song for you.

My Friends Over You – New Found Glory

New Found Glory still close every live show that they play with this song, and I don’t think this is something that will ever change. The lyrics about putting friendship before an intimate relationship truly capture the blissful ignorance of youth – putting your friends before anything else, having a laugh, and enjoying being young whilst it lasts. Bros before hoes.

Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne

The ultimate MILF, the MILF of all MILF’s, Stacy’s Mom. We all know her. She’s got it going on. The most popular Fountains of Wayne song by a mile, this is a track that everyone surely must have heard at least once. Even though the band are often described more as ‘power pop’, this song’s chorus definitely took influence from the pop punk surge of the early 2000s. Don’t take this one too seriously – it’s meant to be fun.

Dirty Little Secret – The All-American Rejects

I personally didn’t discover The All-American Rejects until their 2008 album When The World Comes Down, which features their biggest song Gives You Hell, but I soon went back in their discography to visit their 2005 album Move Along, and found the track Dirty Little Secret. Yes, I know this may be mid-2000s, but it definitely fits into the pop punk genre. The track It Ends Tonight is another personal favourite from this album that I would recommend checking out.

Gemma Cockrell


Edited by: Roxann Yus

Featured image courtesy of blink-182 via Facebook.