For better or for worse, as the old saying goes, history repeats itself. Get out your Vans and Dickies and brace yourself because pop punk is back and arguably worse than ever. In the late 90s and early 2000s, pop punk had such a distinct sound. It was different from their predecessors, which some say started in the 70s with bands such as The Buzzcocks and The Undertones.
By now, we’ve all sadly endured Machine Gun Kelly’s attempt at pop punk. I don’t necessarily mean to sound like an elitist, but he just doesn’t do it right. Pop punk has changed over time. It seems that Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) and Avril Lavigne want to keep this same sound that was popular at the time. I understand that people cling to nostalgia, but in this case, it’s time to move on. I promise there are some great pop punk bands that don’t get the recognition they deserve. These include, but are not limited to: Heart Attack Man, Weighbridge, Keep Flying, Magnolia Park, Grayscale, Neck Deep, The Story so far, Stand Atlantic, Summer Heights, Rarity and a billion more. I just scratched the surface. They all have their own sound but it doesn’t sound like Sum 41 or Good Charlotte. It still has elements of early 2000s pop punk, but they’ve appropriated the genre.
If you listen to any of these bands, you’ll quickly realize that they don’t sound like the radio pop punk that the media tries to force into our ears. If you like MGK and anything on the radio, that’s fine, of course. We are all entitled to our own tastes. However, I encourage everyone to get out there and really dig and fall down the never-ending music hole.
MGK doesn’t do pop punk. It’s still pop music. Throwing a guitar in the hands of a rapper doesn’t make him punk. This makes it weird and unnatural. Just look at Lil’ Wayne trying it out in 2012. It was interesting, to say the least. That’s not to say artists can’t switch genres. We see it all the time. Just call it what it is. It’s just already done pop rock radio. It’s unfair to the musicians who have worked so hard to get where they are in this genre and many of them never get the recognition and following they deserve. MGK was an already established rapper with a fan base who got kicked out of his own genre. How bad do you have to be as a musician for that to happen? The answer to that is pretty bad.
I will say I can see how catchy and fun to listen to it is. That’s what Blink 182 was. The difference though is that Blink 182 did it over 20 years ago, when it made sense and was new for the time. People love it now because it’s different for MGK, not because it’s the first cool thing to happen to music in 20 years. Maybe if MGK had done this in 2001, it would be a very different article.