In Defense of Pop Punk

I just watched Punks Not Dead to try to cheer me up on this gloomy motherfucker of a day, as rock documentaries are usually the type of thing to leave me feeling empowered, but now I’m just pissed off.

It was basically an hour and a half of elitist punks, young and old, railing against pop-punk and corporate America. They threw in a couple interviews from people like Kevin Lyman in an attempt to make it seem a little more balanced, but in the end it was really just 90 minutes of vitriol.

Nothing pisses me off more than seeing the guys from the Subhumanz and U.K. Subs shit on a bunch of kids for what they’re wearing. Complaining that they hate these kids who dye their hair green because they aren’t really punk. Its just pathetic, these forty or fifty year old men attacking a bunch of high schoolers. If you ask me its pure bitterness over the fact that punk is bigger than anyone or any band right now, and they’re no longer the poster kids.

I don’t understand why people won’t just accept the fact that time passes and things change. Rancid and Green Day grew up listening to The Adicts and Flipper, and now a whole new group of kids is growing up listening to Rancid and Green Day. The idea this “pure” strain of punk must either be maintained, or the genre must be abandoned altogether is fucking ridiculous. Its like people trying to maintain a pure race.

What’s worse is they’re bashing the very people that support them. They interviewed Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 about the pop punk label, and he said “people shy away from it just to avoid their heroes making fun of them.” He just sounded so fucking sad about it. And why shouldn’t he be? I remember them getting shit on by The Buzzcocks a few years back, and asking myself, why the fuck do the Buzzcocks need to go after Sum 41? Do they really need to engage them in a “who’s more punk rock” fight? In hindsight it was clearly an attempt to prove they’re still relevant.

But they’re not. I can assure you when that article came out I was 14 or 15 and that was the first time I had ever heard of the Buzzcocks. That’s not saying the Buzzcocks are not a great band (they are) or that some kid isn’t going to pick up “The Buzzcocks Are Coming” ten years from now and have their outlook on music changed forever, but they’re not actively changing anything.

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