Top 50 Greatest Pop Punk Songs of All Time: Rebuttal
Updated: Apr 8, 2022
Editor's Note: Last week, I read an article at cleveland.com 100 Greatest Pop Punk Songs of All Time. The list, from top to bottom, wasn't a terrible list, but it really rubbed me the wrong way that the author included the Buzzcocks, but especially the Ramones' Blitzkrieg Bop. So I quickly, and sloppily, hammered out a 50 song rebuttal, knowing that the website limited submission word counts.
Here's my Rebuttal to Troy Smith's Top 100 Pop Punk Songs of All Time list. You can't include the Ramones and other bands from the 70's. That was real punk. Pop-punk became its own creature in the mid 90's with Jawbreaker, Green Day, and the Offspring. If you include the Ramones on the list, the great punk of the late 70's and 80's would wipe out over half of your list. With Smith's loose definition of pop punk, you could argue Back in the USSR by the Beatles is pop punk, which is absurd. Top 50 Pop Punk Songs of All Time:
(Side Note: I waffled and changed #50 from Nerf Herder's Van Halen.)
50. Peter Bazooka by the Dead Milkmen
49. Under Pressure by the Used and My Chemical Romance
48. Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm
47. Walkin' on the Sun by Smash Mouth
46. L.A, Devotee by Panic! At the Disco
45. Be My Escape by Reliant K
44. My Own Worst Enemy by Lit
43. Kick Some A** by Stroke 9
42. Inside Out by Eve 6
41. Ruby Soho by Rancid
40. Girl All the Bad Guys Want by Bowling for Soup
39. Pool Party by the Aquabats!
38. Drugs Are Good by NOFX
37.The Sweater Song by Weezer
36. F*** My Life 666 by Against Me!
35. Molly Coddled by Tilt
34. Misery Business by Paramore
33. Gives You Hell by the All American Rejects
32. Lump by the Presidents of the United States of America
31. Bad Habit by the Offspring
30. Sugar We're Going Down by Fallout Boy
29. Get Free by the Vines
28. Girl's Not Grey by AFI
27. Can't Wait One Minute More by CIV
26. Fat Lip by Sum 41
25. Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
24. Bound for the Floor by Local H
23. Cleveland Polka by Mr. Gnome
22. Savior by Rise Against
21. Returning to the Fold by the Thermals
20. You Are Not My Friend by Frenzel Rhomb
19. We Must Have Blood by the Dwarves
18. Thrash Unreal by Against Me!
17. Friend Like That by Hawk Nelson
16. 40 oz. on Repeat by FIDLAR
15. 21st Century Digital Boy by Bad Religion
14. Lucky Me Lucky You by Punch Buggy
13. It's a Fine Line Between a Monkey and a Robot by the Dillinger Four
12. Just a Girl by No Doubt
11. Diamonds and Guns by the Transplants
10. All Downhill From Here by New Found Glory
9. I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At the DIsco
8. What's My Age Again? by Blink 182
7. I'm Not Okay by My Chemical Romance
6. Fell in Love with a Girl by White Stripes
5. Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades by Brand New
4. One Armed Scissor by At The Drive In
3. Accident Prone by Jawbreaker
2. Basket Case by Green Day
1. Self Esteem the Offspring
Editor's Note (Continued): So the day after I submitted my list, I got a note from cleveland.com that they'd like to publish my editorial, but I'd have to cut my word count down from about 450 to 200. They counted the numbers as words. I was steamed and said I would pass on their generous offer. They then gave me permission to publish my severely cut down rebuttal on my own blog. My submission ended on the word OFFSPRING.
Now when it comes down to the actual lists, Troy's more of a Green Day guy and I'm more of an Offspring Guy, but you're splitting hairs between the two bands. But here's my point, Troy isn't perfect and let me give you an example.
Back in the year 2002, Scene Magazine published ten separate Top 10 Albums of the Year lists from 10 different writers. Nearly every writer that year included the album Source Tags and Codes by ....And They Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead.
There was no right or wrong album answer, the sets of articles were fun and insightful. But you may consider Another Morning Stoner pop punk. Now I absolutely don't, but that would be a spirited debate.
What about ska? Would you consider Reel Big Fish pop punk?
I wouldn't, but you might.
If you look back at my list, I included the White Stripes, Troy didn't. He's obviously familiar with the White Stripes and must consider them simply Rock. I think the White Stripes are right on the line between Rock and Punk.
Back in 1981, Jello Biafra lamented in song about his own band the Dead Kennedys, "we're not a punk rock band, we're a new wave band" in Pull My Strings.
The Dead Kennedys were awesome, but they were neither new wave nor pop punk. The Clash, Sex Pistols, and the Ramones all had better songs than Self Esteem. You can't retroactively put them on the list.
In defense of cleveland.com, they only have so much ink, and only have so many resources, it's hard to have more than one opinion.
Whenever you say the words 'punk band,' my ears automatically perk up. "Hey, you ever hear of Alice Donut?"
According to "historians," Alice Donut is classified as Acid Punk. Acid Punk? Other bands in that category? Butthole Surfers and that's about it.
Closest that Alice Donut ever got to pop punk? Hmmmm. That's a good question. After Alice Donut broke up, I never expected them to reappear. Then they returned with the Three Sisters album in 2003. I could argue that the lead single Kiss Me was pop punk, but basically argue just hard enough to put it in my article.
Seriously though, I remember when the kids in Sum 41 all joked that every great band has a dead member. Then they all looked startled and started pointing at each other. And that's the spirit of pop punk.
The Hell Song by Sum 41