There’s no denying that the ’90s set the foundation for pop punk as we know it. For over 20 years, many of the genre’s early pioneers have served as a source of inspiration for emerging outfits. A select handful, however, have assumed the responsibility to actively progress the scene themselves.
The mainstream alternative surge may have fizzled out over the course of the decade. However, these loyalists have remained resolute in their craft, continuing to churn out edgy, high-energy bangers. And for that, we couldn’t be more grateful.
Here are 10 modern tracks by ’90s pop-punk bands that prove the genre is alive and well.
Less Than Jake – “Lie To Me”
Less Than Jake made their debut in 1995 with Pezcore. In the 26 years since, they’ve been trailblazing and commanding Warped Tour crowds with their upbeat, ska-heavy tunes. The band closed out 2020 with their ninth full-length, Silver Linings. While this is a record best listened to all the way through, “Lie To Me” offers a good taste of their modern sound.
MxPx – “Fever Dream”
It’s hard to believe that, in just a few years, we’ll be celebrating the 30th birthday of MxPx‘s Pokinatcha. Don’t get too hung up in nostalgia, though, because the band are still here for us in the best ways. They spent the first few months of the pandemic recording live versions, which they later released under Life In Quarantine. Just a couple of weeks later, they released a new single, “Fever Dream.” The track and accompanying video detail the experience of quarantine in the band’s signature style. It was a comforting display of shared experience, to say the least.
Good Charlotte – “Last December”
Good Charlotte took a brief break in releasing new content following their 2018 album, Generation Rx. Of course, they weren’t going to let 2020 go by without delivering something to homebound fans. The band dropped their latest single “Last December” in (you could probably guess) December. Both the song and music video provide a cathartic look at life in the midst of world-changing current events.
blink-182 – “Quarantine”
Who would’ve thought at the turn of the century that blink-182 would continue to deliver hard-hitters for two more decades? Probably everyone, to be honest… Short of their hiatus in the 2000s, the group have never shown any indication of slowing down. Their topical 2020 track “Quarantine” is just the latest display of their timeless, boundless pop-punk energy. The band also featured on a version of Oliver Tree‘s “Let Me Down” last year, demonstrating their continued relevance in the modern scene.
Descendents – “That’s The Breaks”
The late ’70s-rooted punk outfit were already a force to be reckoned with when they returned from their hiatus in 1995. Descendents‘ activity has been notably off and on over the last few decades, though they’ve released three singles in the past year. The most recent, “That’s The Breaks,” dropped in January. The 42-second track delivers some serious political punk edge, speaking to Donald Trump directly in the last week of his presidency.
Goldfinger – “Wallflower”
Goldfinger were among the notable pioneers who brought ska influence to pop punk with their debut self-titled album in 1996. No surprise, they’ve managed to carry the torch ever since. They released their eighth full-length, Never Look Back, in December. Though undeniably modern, the whole album feels delightfully on brand, even compared to their early discography. We recommend checking out “Wallflower” for a good sample of their ever-persistent displays of talent.
NOFX – “Linewleum” (feat. Avenged Sevenfold)
Had this not been a strictly pop-punk-bounded list, we would’ve had a good twofer here. Honestly, we can’t say we ever expected a collaboration between NOFX and metal icons Avenged Sevenfold. It’s pretty in line for 2021 and its series of wonderful surprises, though. “Linewleum” is exactly what you’d expect from the pairing, boasting catchy riffs with a vague undercurrent of A7X’s signature dark tones. The track serves as a tribute to NOFX’s fanbase, with the video including fan covers of the band’s hit track, “Linoleum.”
Green Day – “Father Of All…”
No doubt, Green Day have been a saving grace of the last year. From Billie Joe Armstrong‘s No Fun Mondays cover series to continued speculation over whether or not they’re behind the Network (they are), they’ve given us a lot to consume. They kicked off their year of productivity in 2020 with the release of their 13th (yes, you read that right) album, Father Of All… The title track in particular is an excellent representation of all the pop-punk edge the band have maintained over their 30-year-plus tenure.
New Found Glory – “Greatest Of All Time”
New Found Glory only barely qualify as a ’90s band. However, we’d be remiss in not mentioning them. Their 1999 debut album, Nothing Gold Can Stay, has been a widely noted inspiration for 2000s-era bands. The band honored their 21st year with a new album, Forever And Ever x Infinity. The entire record is a massive callback to their early roots, but lead single “Greatest Of All Time” is particularly nostalgic.
Anti-Flag – “20/20 Vision”
It’s hardly surprising that Anti-Flag have remained so prolific since their debut, Die For The Government, in 1996. The band address current events and political climates with a punk aggressiveness like no other. Of course, they hit the nail on the head with their 2020 record, 20/20 Vision. Upbeat and catchy as always, each song is remarkably resonant, but the title track packs a particularly serious punch.
Who are your favorite ’90s pop-punk bands still putting out music today? Let us know in the comments!