pop punk 2010
[Photos via YouTube]

What were you doing 10 years ago? If trying to make it as a musician while working a side job filled your days, you can relate to a few bands on this list. Pop punk turned over a new leaf in 2010, with a handful of future greats introducing themselves to the music world. They spent the year touching up their first album or dropping a debut track. 

Other more established bands worked under added pressure, with hundreds of thousands of new fans anticipating a follow-up to their breakthrough record. It was a fun year for our scene, with many bands establishing or solidifying a legacy. 

Read more: Movements’ new film offers an intimate look into ‘No Good Left To Give’

Now we look back, remembering the time you first heard these songs or where these bands were before they caught fire. So much can change over 10 years. Let’s dig out our old iPods and take a stroll down memory lane.

The Wonder Years – “Melrose Diner” 

Rising to prominence when emo synth-pop and post-hardcore bands ruled the scene, the Wonder Years helped hold the pop-punk fort while encouraging subsequent bands to be comfortably introspective. “Melrose Diner” is a no slow-down hit, smacked in the center of the TWY’s beloved 2010 album, The Upsides. An upbeat track with honest lyrics and a goofy music video, it is quintessential early Wonder Years.

We Are The In Crowd – “Both Sides Of The Story”

The early 2010s belonged to We Are The In Crowd. “Both Sides Of The Story” reflected the band’s polish and knack for catchy songwriting. The combination of Tay Jardine and Jordan Eckes’ vocals acted as a welcome changeup for scene fans. When you listened to “Both Sides Of The Story” in 2010, your first thought was, “Yeah, this is it. This is what I’ve been waiting for.” Subsequent releases “Kiss Me Again” and “Rumor Mill” didn’t disappoint, either. And the band’s 2014 album, Weird Kids, is such a huge part of the 2010s pop-punk discography. But it all started with “Both Sides Of The Story.”

You Me At Six – “Underdog”

A major single on Hold Me Down, which dropped just after the decade turned, “Underdog” batted leadoff for pop punk in the 2010s. The You Me At Six album represented well, achieving gold status in the U.K. “Underdog” soars, wasting zero space in its two-and-a-half minutes of pop-punk bliss that serves as a warning about learning who to trust. 

Good Charlotte – “Like It’s Her Birthday”

Fresh off their career revival with “I Don’t Wanna Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem),” Good Charlotte aimed at keeping the momentum going with their 2010 album, Cardiology. It didn’t pack the punch of 2007’s Good Morning Revival, but the Madden brothers found a common ground between radio pop and their signature sound in “Like It’s Her Birthday.” The band utilize pace changes, a synthy ambiance and plenty of “ay, ay, ays” in this somewhat awkward yet undeniably catchy track. 

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – “In Friends We Trust”

The endearing French band with a quirky name released everyone’s favorite “friendthem” in 2010. Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! singer Bert Poncet stars with the stereotypical pop-punk voice bouncing over chunky power chords. Lyrically, it’s a really sweet song: “Hey dudes, are you ready to/Defend your mates in case they need you?/These ones that never pretend and trust you until the end/These are my eternal friends.” 

Motion City Soundtrack – “Her Words Destroyed My Planet”

2020 deprived us of seeing Motion City Soundtrack at Slam Dunk Festival to support their reunion. Vocalist Justin Pierre writes in his typical self-deprecating way, crooning “Maybe you were right after all/Maybe I’m just bad news.” A song about longing for the girl he let get away, “Her Words Destroyed My Planet” hits plenty of the subject’s tropes. But it’s so poetic and relatable, it could only be crafted by Motion City Soundtrack. As soon as COVID-19 passes, hopefully we’ll see our favorite scene nerds blast this track on another tour.  

Four Year Strong – “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)”

Four Year Strong effortlessly blend with post-hardcore and pop-punk crowds. They’re like the kid who sits at a different lunchroom table every school day. “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)” kills, with breakneck tempos, an anthemic chorus to close and goosebump-inducing background vocals. It lacks the easycore breakdown common in much of Four Year Strong’s work. But it possesses all the energy and heart. In this track, Four Year Strong join the kids at the pop-punk table. And it works.

Hey Monday – “Wish You Were Here”

Hey Monday’s 2008 album, Hold On Tight, was so huge for the scene. Following up with a worthy encore was always going to be a daunting challenge. But “Wish You Were Here” is up to the task as a slightly more polished and poppy version of the band. The methodical verses building to a brazen chorus makes this a power-pop anthem only Hey Monday can properly create. It also plays perfectly as an acoustic tune, with Cassadee Pope’s vocals consistently on point. 

Man Overboard – “Montrose”

“Montrose” serves as the standout track on a debut album of a beloved band. Everything about this song is, to quote the overused phrase from The Haunting Of Bly Manor, perfectly splendid. It’s filled with ambiance while never losing its beat, comparable to early Jimmy Eat World. Lyrically, it excels. The music video is gorgeous. Man Overboard hit on all cylinders with “Montrose.”  

Go Radio – “Goodnight Moon”

If you close your eyes and listen, you’d think “Goodnight Moon” was a Mayday Parade track. That’s because it’s by Jason Lancaster, who’s formerly of the Tallahassee band. More importantly, the song is so damn heartfelt. Lancaster pours all of his Mayday vibes into Go Radio’s most recognizable tune. It seems like just yesterday we mourned over Lancaster’s split from Mayday Parade. But it’s already been a decade since he flashed his incredible musicianship in “Goodnight Moon.”