Every current genre of music has its origins and its influences. In this three part feature, we will discuss the brief history of punk music. This third and final piece will cover 2000 through the present. We will throw a lot of key bands and albums at you, so you’ll have plenty of music to revisit or be introduced to.
We’ve come to the turn of the century. One of the notable band formations from 2000 is Brand New: the band that people love and can be infuriated by all at the same time. The members of Brand New had previous experience with being in bands. But they still brought the raw, gritty feel of punk to the new endeavor. I could likely do a whole piece on how Brand New has affected the scene, but with 15+ years to cover, I should probably save that for later. Some of the usual suspects, such as Green Day, No Doubt, blink–182, and Bad Religion, had releases in 2000. There was no slowing down for the punk community and there would only be more to come.
From 2001 – 2010, we saw a rise in punk music hitting the mainstream. During this time, there were also pop acts that are larger than life. In 2001, Fall Out Boy formed and while their sound has changed over the years, they played a big part in taking the scene mainstream. With the previous two parts in this series, I’ve listed a lot of bands and albums and while I’ll still do that here, I want to dive a little deeper into why things changed the way they did. As we saw in the 90s, pop punk began to rise and sailed it’s way through the mid–2000s. While these bands began to garner attention from major labels, they frequently still had a DIY attitude and that’s what made people love them. The attitude may have stayed the same, but with major labels wanting a piece of the pie, things could quickly go south. We’ve all seen fallouts with labels and their artists, and with punk music it was no different. Bands often started out on smaller labels, only to return to them after a major label flop. We still see this in 2016, too.
But let’s get back to some of the music for a bit. Fall Out Boy released Take This To Your Grave in 2003 and My Chemical Romance released I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love a year earlier. Neither of these releases charted, but they garnered enough attention to have each of their next releases chart. 2003 also brought us Deja Entendu by Brand New and Untitled by blink–182. In 2004, things stared to heat up in the mainstream punk scene. American Idiot took everyone by storm with their political driven rock opera. My Chemical Romance made their mark with Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and believe it or not, MTV still played music videos when these two albums came out. Thanks to those music videos, I also became aware of Catalyst by New Found Glory. So these bands were able to provide powerful imagery to go with their songs and really make a mark.
Not all music was as punk as it was in the 70s and 80s. As pop punk rose, it seemed to overtake punk music in popularity. The punk veterans like Bad Religion, Dropkick Murphys, and more were still putting out releases, but the bands were by no means in their heyday anymore. Green Day still relied heavily on those power chords so often found in punk, but bands like Motion City Soundtrack and Fall Out Boy came along to put even more of a pop twist on things. Now, you can hear Fall Out Boy songs during your sport of choice. It’s great for the bands to be getting this success, but many thought and still think that selling out is not a very punk thing to do. In my opinion, if the bands put in their work, did things the DIY way, and then blew up, I’m perfectly fine with that. If bands are willing to put in the nitty-gritty work, why should they not be rewarded for it?
Since American Idiot, Green Day hasn’t had quite as much success with their following albums. American Idiot hit at just the right time that everyone needed to hear it. It’s the same as when London Calling hit. A lot of a band’s luck comes from impeccable timing, whether intended or not. But to catch up, in the mid–2000s, blink–182 went on a hiatus that wouldn’t last, and well we know how that’s worked itself out in 2016. In 2005, Motion City Soundtrack released Commit This To Memory, which is a must-listen if you somehow haven’t checked out the band before.
Through the late 2000s, Anti-Flag continued to crank out the releases. The mainstream coverage began to ease up a little, but not enough to declare pop punk dead. Fall Out Boy continued to chart and hit number one on the Billboard 200 with Infinity on High. While punk wasn’t exactly at the forefront during this time, punk bands could still be found playing shows, especially in places like Los Angeles and New York. Bad Religion held down the LA scene for years and east coast bands like The Bouncing Souls kept the punk scene alive. It may have been quieter than before, but was never really gone. Philadelphia has a growing punk and pop punk scene that’s contributed some great bands over the years.
Being on the east coast for college, I was able to experience first hand what the DIY attitude is like. I frequently attended shows in people’s basements and even in the basement of a church. Bands like TheMenzingers and The Wonder Years let everyone know that you could still keep the DIY attitude, have huge followings, and not fall into the trap of major labels. The 2010s have brought some new bands that are still finding their place, but there’s a ton of room for them in cities like Philadelphia that embrace the punk scene. By 2010, Bad Religion had been a band for 30 years. Most punk bands didn’t even make it half as long as they did. That year also brought the disbandment of Fall Out Boy, which of course, wouldn’t last. Green Day and blink–182 had less-than-stellar albums release in the 2010s. So while some bands dwindled, others came into the scene and it’s still going strong today.
Before we close this out though, let’s discuss some current bands you should probably check out if you’ve read this far. Pinegrove made waves with Cardinal, Lost In Society feels like a true punk band, Knuckle Puck have been killing it in the pop punk scene, and Into It. Over It. has been at it for a while, but is one you’ll want to check out. Now this may not have ended with the punkest of punk bands, but this is where things stand at the moment. Things are by no means the same as they used to be. I could have listed so many more bands and albums, but the point was for this to be a brief history. Diving in deeper is completely up to you, but highly recommended by me.