Warped Memories: Pop Punk & Emo Albums That Turn 20 This Year

The early 2000s were a goldmine for pop-punk and emo music, but that sentiment is a little bittersweet for elder millennials who will soon realize that some of the foundations of their Hot Topic couture and angst-ridden lyrics scribbled across their Converse are now almost old enough to order a drink from the bar. Almost but not quite yet, the following eight albums helped solidify the basis of pop-punk and emo music for a generation 20 years ago, and for that – those that spent their summers underneath the sun at Warped Tour are forever grateful. 

Simple Plan, No Pads, No Helmets...Just Balls

In an era where everything was extreme, especially sports – Simple Plan burst onto the scene with a video that featured what else? Skateboarding. “I’m Just a Kid” was featured not only on this Canadian band’s debut, ‘No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls,’ but also on the soundtrack for ‘The New Guy.’ with that, it was an MTV staple from the get-go, and for good reason. Following in the footsteps of bands like Good Charlotte, Simple Plan leaned more pop than punk but still managed to become a favorite among Warped Tour attendees thanks to their brand of emotive, outcast mall punk.

Taking Back Sunday, Tell All Your Friends

“Your lipstick, his collar / Don’t bother, angel / I know exactly what goes on.” This line single-handedly will bring a 30-something who loved emo music to their knees. It’s from their debut, ‘Tell All Your Friends,’ an album that has long since been placed upon a pedestal for all the right reasons. From start to finish, this expressive take on alternative rock music pulsates and has left audiences craving more for two decades now. So much so that when the album turned 10, a widely popular tour crisscrossed through the United States. So fingers crossed they plan on doing that again with the big 2-0 in 2022. They’ve already got a summer tour with Third Eye Blind on the books for the summer, but perhaps some fall dates are in the works.

Midtown, Living Well Is the Best Revenge

Pop-punk favorites and New Jersey natives, Midtown were playing any and everywhere at the turn of the 21st century with a few EPs and an album to their name before dropping their major-label debut in 2002. ‘Living Well Is the Best Revenge’ cemented them in the hearts of fans forever, and after one more album – they sort of just vanished. Well, not really. Lead singer, Gabe Saporta, went on to front Cobra Starship in the mid-00s, which helped usher in a new era of Warped Tour bands that relied on the power of dance. Some Midtown fans supported, and others did not – holding out for a Midtown reunion they could sink their teeth into. It finally happened in 2014 for a festival and will happen again in late 2022 as they open for My Chemical Romance, and do a few headline shows themselves.

New Found Glory, Sticks and Stones

New Found Glory had already made a name for themselves by the time ‘Stick and Stones’ came to be. A staple in the pop-punk community, ‘Sticks and Stones’ only helped take them from local scene favorites to MTV darlings thanks to hits like “My Friends Over You.” Like they did with their self-titled, New Found Glory plans to hit the road in 2022 to deliver every song on this record and then some to lucky concert-goers around the country with Four Year Strong and Be Well.

The Used, The Used

By the time The Used came on the scene, we’d already fallen in love with the likes of pop-punk and emo but this Utah band gave way to something different, screamo. The way lead singer Bert McCracken delivered blood-curdling lyrics made music fans around the world take notice. While their sophomore album led to more commercial success, ‘The Used’ is still regarded by many as their best, and for good reason. The raw emotion found within the confines of this album helped many back in the day deal with the hardships of being young and misunderstood. It’s an album that was placed on a pedestal long ago that still shines bright.

My Chemical Romance, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love

Yes, 2004’s ‘Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge’ is likely one of the most influential records in the emo genre – ever, but no one can deny that My Chemical Romance had to initially get their feet wet with a debut that highlighted just what this New Jersey band was all about. ‘I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love’ laid the foundation on which My Chemical Romance then built a solid foundation that made them one of the most celebrated bands of the 21st century in rock music.

Good Charlotte, The Young and the Hopeless

Good Charlotte made some noise in 2000 with their self-titled debut, and then two years later became the poster boys for mall punk with ‘The Young and the Hopeless’ – literally. Just as the boy band craze of the late ‘90s was losing its grip on the youth of America, in came Good Charlotte on the covers of both alternative magazines and the likes of Tiger Beat. This record was huge and inescapable. Songs like “The Anthem” and “Girls & Boys” played on a loop on MTV, as well as the album’s lead single “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.”

Written by Kendra Beltran

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