Yesterday, Brand New’s Deja Entendu turned ten-years-old. The band’s sophomore studio album is just one of many pop punk albums from my formative teen years to turn 10 recently. Additionally, with the release of Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock and Roll, right now seems like as good a time as any to revisit those feelings of high school nostalgia. Of course, there’s the dark side to being an aged pop punk fan: My Chemical Romance announced their breakup in March; New Found Glory put out a Ramones cover album in April; the Punk Goes… album series still exists (it’s like Kidz Bop–it’ll never end.)
The biggest drag to still liking the same music as I did in high school though, is hearing that my favorite albums are getting old enough that they’re reaching double digits. As far as I’m concerned, Deja Entendu just came out and Jesse Lacey still understands me better than any of my friends. I suppose that’s the great part of all these albums, though: despite bringing up nostalgia for high school and those feelings of being misunderstood, they’re also a reminder that we’ve all changed in the past ten years (well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m certainly different than I was at 13.) These albums hold a timelessness so that we can listen to them ten, twenty, even thirty years down the line and we can still relate to Jesse Lacey as he sings the chorus to “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot:”
“Call me a safe bet, I’m betting I’m not / I’m glad that you can forgive, only hoping as time goes, you can forget”
Take This To Your Grave
Fall Out Boy
(May 6, 2003–10 years old)
If you’re like me, you were introduced to Fall Out Boy with the song “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy” and everything else was history. There’s just something about Patrick Stump’s solo vocals in the opening, then the guitar and drums kicking in that will never get old. Plus, the song is catchy as hell. However, I wouldn’t say “Grand Theft Autumn” is my favorite song. Take This To Your Grave, Fall Out Boy’s first studio album, has so many great tracks it would be easy to argue with other fans over which one can be considered the best.
Personally, “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago,” is my favorite song off the album and the lyrics are permanently committed to my memory. Although you could contend that From Under the Cork Tree really launched Fall Out Boy into the mainstream, Take This To Your Grave tends to be a fan favorite album and rightly so; the band used their first album to establish themselves within pop punk as a group with catchy lyrics and a unique-sounding vocalist.
Tell All Your Friends
Taking Back Sunday
(March 26, 2002–11 years old)
I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again: I doubt there will ever be a time in life when I can’t relate to Tell All Your Friends, Taking Back Sunday’s first studio album. When I first listened to Taking Back Sunday, it was at my stepsister’s behest; she had scrawled lyrics from many of their songs across my middle school notebook. At first, I didn’t like it–why was the lead singer screaming like that, why was it so loud? But I quickly grew to love Tell All Your Friends. Now I can’t even remember a time in my life when I didn’t know all the words to every song on the album. Taking Back Sunday is another pop punk band to have seriously quotable lyrics.
“I wanna hate you so bad / but I can’t (but I can’t) stop this / anymore than you can”
No matter how long I go between listening to Tell All Your Friends, I can always find a line from a song that describes exactly how I’m feeling in that moment. Plus, remember that time Taking Back Sunday had a cameo from Flavor Flav in their music video for “You’re So Last Summer”? Perfect.
Leaving Through The Window
(May 7, 2002–11 years old)
Something Corporate is one of those pop punk bands that everyone knows; whether they readily admit it or try to hide the fact that they knew all the lyrics to “Konstantine,” very few people survived the early 2000’s without hearing at least a snippet of a Something Corporate song. I, like many of my friends, was obsessed with “Konstantine,” and yes I do still know all the words. However, that song is not on their sophomore studio album, Leaving Through The Window, which is okay by me because Something Corporate had albums full of songs just as good as “Konstantine.”
When I was younger, the catchier tunes like “Punk Rock Princess” and “I Woke Up In A Car” were my favorites; now that I’m older I enjoy “If You C Jordan” and “Drunk Girl,” possibly because I have more life experience under my belt and can actually relate to those tracks. Something Corporate certainly made a name for themselves with their California pop punk, which sounds a bit different than Long Islanders Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. Although, it might also be the piano that Andrew McMahon adds to the mix. No matter what, Something Corporate is easily one of the best pop punk bands of the early 2000s and Leaving Through The Window is a fantastic album.
Sticks and Stones
New Found Glory
(June 11, 2002–11 years old)
Funnily enough, I first heard a New Found Glory song played as a cover by some small town band at the camp I attended in the catskills as an impressionable 12-year-old kid. It was “My Friends Over You” and I wrote the lyrics down so that I could Google (was Google even a thing in 2002?) them as soon as I got home from camp. I eventually bought Sticks and Stones and proceeded to listen to it over and over and over again. New Found Glory’s third studio album is the release that launched their career and it’s not hard to see why. Sticks and Stones had a bunch of guest musicians that contributed to the album including Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 as well as Dan Andriano and Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio.
Even though there are a bunch of punk veterans helping out the new kids, it’s the guys of New Found Glory that really made a great album. The hooks are catchy, the songs are fun to scream along to, the guitars are loud, and the drums are headbang-worthy. My favorite aspect of Sticks and Stones, though, is that the album doesn’t take itself too seriously; it’s written by a bunch of kids who have fun creating music, which you can hear in the songs. That kind of attitude also makes the album timeless. No matter how old a person is, they can relate to having fun with their friends complaining about relationships. Even after 11 years, I can still relate to Sticks and Stones and I know that probably won’t ever change.
Your Favorite Weapon
(Oct. 9, 2001–11 years old)
Brand New’s first studio album, Your Favorite Weapon, is going to be twelve years old in October–that’s more than half as old as I am! I’ve loved this album longer than any guy I ever dated and I’ve listened to it for longer than I’ve known many of the friends in my life. If there is one album that I could point to in order to explain who I am as a person, it’s Your Favorite Weapon. So what exactly do I love about the album? The loud guitar riffs, Jesse Lacey’s screaming vocals, the hyperactive drum beats, but most of all, the lyrics. “Failure by Design” was the first song I ever heard by Brand New, but my favorite song quickly became “Seventy Times 7.”
Sure, the lyrics to “Seventy Times 7” were overused especially in the AIM profiles and away messages of tween “punk rockers” (myself included,) but never have I come across a song that better voices the pure rage felt during a fight between friends. The lyrics might have become tired in the mid-2000s, but now that we’re a few years past AIM profiles the lyrics stand the test of time. Plus, the insults within the chorus will never get old:
“I’ve seen more spine in jellyfish / I’ve seen more guts in eleven-year-old kids”
Those are my favorite pop punk albums that are more than 10 years old, though there are some that didn’t quite make the cut: Senses Fail’s Let It Enfold You was released in 2004 and is only eight years old; The Dawn from BEDlight for blueEYES came out in 2005, a little less than eight years ago.
To have a listening party of all the albums listed here, check out my Spotify playlist: Pop Punk Albums in the Double Digits.