The late 2000s through early 2010s were defined in our scene by catchy synths intertwined with pop-like melodies, garnering the name “neon pop” or “neon pop punk.” With merch that was just as bright as the dance anthems that were produced, we can’t help but look back on the short-lived genre with fondness and a sense of nostalgia.
This new wave of pop punk produced many incredible bands who ended up taking this part of the scene and making it their own. From underrated gems to genre staples, here are 10 neon-pop bands we wish were still around today.
The White Tie Affair
Hailing from Chicago, the White Tie Affair burst onto the neon-pop scene with their 2008 debut album, Walk This Way. MTV viewers probably remember a couple of the band’s tracks on shows such as TRL and The Hills. Others may recall TWTA as one of the openers on Lady Gaga’s first solo North American tour in 2009 before jumping on Vans Warped Tour that same year. They disbanded in 2012, but their iconic tracks such as “Candle (Sick And Tired)” and “You Look Better When I’m Drunk” are ones you still can’t help but sing at the top of your lungs with the volume up and the windows down.
Artist Vs Poet
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better neon power-pop band than Fort Worth’s Artist Vs Poet. The band formed in 2007, thanks to an ad on good old MySpace and signed to Fearless Records in 2008. AVP released multiple albums, EPs and covers through 2014, such as the badass song “Leaving In The Morning,” which features Mat Musto, aka blackbear. Former AVP vocalist Joe Kirkland later competed on the third season of The Voice and continues to write with many incredible artists, such as YUNGBLUD, blackbear, Dua Lipa, Backstreet Boys and more.
The Friday Night Boys
Fueled By Ramen alumni the Friday Night Boys kicked off in 2006 before finalizing their lineup and releasing their label debut EP, That’s What She Said, in 2008. FNB performed alongside many favorites, such as All Time Low, There For Tomorrow, the Summer Set, and Boys Like Girls. They also made appearances on MTV’s Total Request Live, the soundtrack for The Sims 3: World Adventures and more. If you’ve ever watched the movie When In Rome, then you’ve probably heard their catchy track “Stupid Love Letter,” which later received a music video featuring clips from the film. The band broke up in 2010, with vocalist Andrew Goldstein going on to become a multiplatinum songwriter and producer. He’s worked with artists such as ATL, blackbear, Demi Lovato, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Selena Gomez and more. He’s also currently working on his solo project FRND.
Read more: 15 neon pop punk classics you need to know
From 2008-2011, Hey Monday dominated the neon-pop scene with killer tracks such as “Homecoming,” “How You Love Me Now,” and “I Don’t Wanna Dance.” On top of their own headlining tours, they also supported bands such as All Time Low and Fall Out Boy before announcing they would be going on hiatus in 2011. Cassadee Pope went on to win season 3 of NBC’s The Voice and currently has an incredible career in country. Just last year, members reunited at Pope’s “Hey It’s Monday” pop-punk show in Nashville where they played some old tracks.
Forever The Sickest Kids
True fans of neon pop had Forever The Sickest Kids’ 2008 debut album, Underdog Alma Mater, in their daily rotation. The band signed to Fearless Records in 2012 before releasing their third album, J.A.C.K., in 2013. After performing on Warped that year, not much was heard from them, and it was revealed they were on hiatus. In 2017, the band performed at SXSW before announcing a few dates on the first Sad Summer Festival in 2019. They’ve remained relatively active on Facebook and began posting studio shots in April and May. However, no official announcement on their future has been made.
Read more: 20 neon pop-punk songs you probably forgot
The Summer Set
With four full-lengths under their belts, it’s no wonder the Summer Set were a fan favorite in the neon-pop scene. From dance-worthy bangers such as “Chelsea” to heartfelt ballads such as “Legendary,” TSS knew how to tug on every heartstring and inspire every fan in all the best ways. In early 2017, vocalist Brian Logan Dales revealed he had been working on a separate solo project called DALES. He released multiple singles throughout that year before TSS announced that they were on an indefinite hiatus. Brothers John and Stephen Gomez later went on to form TWIN XL with Cameron Walker-Wright (Nekokat). Jess Bowen has continuously filled in as a drummer for multiple acts such as 3OH!3, Tessa Violet and more.
Unless you were living under a rock from the years 2006-2011, chances are you’ve at least heard of neon power-pop prodigies Stereo Skyline. Their track “Uptown, Get Around” can be heard at the beginning of The Suite Life Movie, and if you were a fan of the show Silent Library, you probably caught the band on an episode with fellow neon-pop band Hey Monday. Although they endured multiple lineup changes throughout their career, they put out two solid EPs along with two exceptional full-lengths.
Read more: 10 neon pop-punk songs you can headbang to
One of the more underrated bands from this short-lived genre are Florida natives Junior Doctor. Their hit single “Uh Oh” garnered radio success, with their follow-up single “Falling To Pieces” captivating new and old fans alike. In 2013, after an amazing eight years of making music together, the band released a heartfelt letter on social media to their fans that they would be disbanding, claiming to desire different things out of life.
Boys Like Girls
From their self-titled debut album to Crazy World, neon-pop powerhouse Boys Like Girls were proof that hard work pays off. Tracks such as “Hero / Heroine” and “The Great Escape” became staples of the genre, still finding themselves among the shuffle in today’s playlists. Vocalist Martin Johnson has continued his endeavors with his solo project the Night Game, while Paul DiGiovanni has been involved with a few country artists, such as Dan + Shay.
Cobra Starship gave us a decade’s worth of incredible, dance-worthy neon-pop bangers across four amazing albums. Many of their singles such as “Bring It! (Snakes On A Plane)” and “Good Girls Go Bad” are standing the test of time as dance party anthems many still enjoy today. In November 2015, Cobra Starship announced that they had broken up via a blog post on their website. While the members have all gone their own ways, Vicky-T wants that reunion just as much as you do.
Which neon pop band do you hope reunites one day? Let us know in the comments below.