Between 2000 and 2005, there was a plethora – a literal flood – of bands that formed who essentially copied what mid-late 90s Green Day and Blink 182 did. Dookie and Dude Ranch changed what a band could do with punk rock; that simple fast four chord dunk-a-dunk-a-dunk beat could be slowed down or changed up a bit. The rules that the forefathers of punk had set and played to – Black Flag’s chug chu ch downstroked half chords and Rollins’ pissed off rants half sang, to Bad Brains’ signature yet copied whirling frenzy of frenetic chaos – were beginning to dissolve.
Equally as important was the coming true prophecy that Refused expelled upon us in the form of 1998’s The Shape of Punk to Come.
Some would argue that this wasn’t what punk would become, but there are many bands who adopted that sound/mentality in many new forms.
Post 1998 it was add lots of melody, a pop flair – reminiscent of Axl Rose meets Joe Strummer – and there you have it! The new punk rock(?).
Of course, many would argue that the bands that fall into this category are not “punk” at all. That any pop influence just taints it too much. Well, we aren’t here to argue that. The songs listed here are considered by some to be in the “punk” camp, and that’s good enough for us to get nostalgic!
So, some of us writers at B.G.M. will now relive the glory days of early 2000s punk rock!
We will revel in sweet nostalgia as we cover our favorite punk anthems from 2000-2005; the era in which belting these emotion filled lines at the top of our off key voices was still considered hardcore.
Get ready punk power-anthem fans! You will be digging out your old Warped Tour CDs after taking this trip down memory lane!
Blink-182: “Anthem Part Two” – MCA 2001
Although Take Off Your Pants And Jacket came out in 2001, my most treasured and nostalgic moment regarding this track was in 2010. Blink-182 were billed to headline that year’s Leeds/Reading festival and I was beyond stoked; as a lifelong Blink fan that had never had the opportunity to see them live.
The night before I was due to leave for the festival, I’d just finished packing, opened a cold beer and started up iTunes to play in shuffle. “Anthem Part Two” was the first track that played, and honestly I’ve never believed in fate more than at that moment.
Taking Back Sunday – “You’re So Last Summer” – Victory Records 2002
Do you remember when Special Edition CD’s would come with promotional DVD’s attached? Victory Records was the king of early 2000’s music video DVD’s, and I watched the music video for “You’re So Last Summer” at least a hundred times the summer of 2004.
The song was angsty, talked about bleeding and throats and all the wonderful emo cliches that teenage me thought were incredibly deep.
But damn if this song wasn’t catchy. The kind of catchy that had my friends and I singing along at the top of our lungs while driving down country roads or sitting in busted out garages.
And the video was so hilarious.
How did a pop punk/emo band score Flava Flav? Gut-busting I tell you. Tell All Your Friends was released in 2002 and for me it is the quintessential pop punk/emo album of the early 2000’s. This song was absolutely meant for sad teenage boys to scream out together, like a sort of primal male bonding experience for kids not quite masculine enough to go on hunting trips or be on a sports team.
Side note: “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)” is also just as amazing, and the Fight Club-inspired music video blew my pubescent mind, but the video for “You’re So Last Summer” is just funnier to me.
MxPx – “Responsibility” – A&M 2000
In 2000 I was discovering more and more punk rock. I had fallen in love with MxPx back in the 90s thanks to a chill dude from Alaska who somehow had more CDs and cassettes than an FYI and SamGoody combined (google that post-2000 babies). But seriously, he did.
Apparently there was no record on this earth he wouldn’t buy. Borderline psychotic, but I didn’t care. I didn’t have to wait for the latest issue of some dumb music mag to drop to discover new music! Yes, the internet sucked back then. Buffering… (again, google that).
Anyways, this guy hands me MxPx’s current discography, and I was hooked like a bug to a flame.
By the time 2000 came, it was time for punk rock of all sorts to either sink or swim. MxPx did swim; staying relevant to their sound, ditching any irrelevant labels they picked up, and producing a punk rock record that still shimmered enough to inadvertantly gain the pop scene, while still drumming fast enough to be punk.
The Ever Passing Moment was exactly what post-99 MxPx fans needed, and the song “Responsibility” helped get it onto the ‘Punk Rock That Survived the Millennium” list.
Seeing them slay this song and others into fun destruction at Warped Tour ’02 was a moment that has been supremely burned into my mind.
Alongside veterans like Lagwagon, Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, New Found Glory, and Anti-Flag, MxPx brilliantly held their own.
From those moments and that song, punk rock forever became a staple for me in music that I will always love.
The nostalgic vibes are as thick as the power chords that resonate from Tom’s overly distorted guitar.
This super awesome dude that I saw them play live with could sing that song, and every other MxPx song, note for note. He was an even bigger fan than me. That awesome dude is now ill, and that is why I now am forever grateful for songs like this that are purely nostalgic. It is a beautiful thing to remember the good days.
Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle” – Dreamworks 2001
Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American was a seminal record for me (and many of you, I’m sure) and the anthem that got me to notice that record was “The Middle”. I was 15, and I was getting a lift somewhere with my friend and his sister and she put a tape on. It wasn’t quite a ‘mind blowing’ moment but it certainly made me take notice.
I lived on a steady diet of Green Day, Sum 41, and Incubus at the time and “The Middle” really stood out to me as something different.
It was upbeat but had an edge to it. Catchy, but it was still rock music.
Lyrically very different to anything I had listened to and showed me there was more to punk music than angst and rebellion. Also it had a cool guitar solo and synths, which definitely wasn’t in my definition of what made a song cool!
It was a song that came out of nowhere and has shaped my approach to music ever since.
The influence on me, my friends and even to the band themselves, makes this a big anthem. This was a band that was dropped from their record label after two albums, self-funded the recording of their next album and wrote the record of their lives which saved them dying out and fading into obscurity.
“The Middle” is a simple song, it’s a fun song and one of the few songs from that era that has stood the test of time. It’s a song I listened to and connected with when I was 15 and 15 years on I still go back to it.
Say Anything – “Woe” – Doghouse Records 2004
It’s a marking of …Is a Real Boy‘s pervading use of post-ironic language as a whole, but when Max Bemis hearkens plutocrats selling him out in the midst of his effervescent, angst-ridden girls troubles, you get the feeling that his initial cheery tone on “Woe” is more or less a farce.
So it goes for the man beginning his record with a song of rebellion.
His bipolar episodes are no more apparent than on this track, detailing everything from his “too good for you” attitude towards the scene which he inhabits, to the woman of his affections.
It’s as self-involved as the people he reams on with incessant apathy, though “Woe” too shares peak songwriting not quite reached since, along with pop-punk melodies to boast. People are a bore and people suck, but at least Bemis knowingly sucks and is a bore!
At The Drive-In – “Pattern Against User” – Fearless Records 2000
The early 2000’s were a leprosy on all of mainstream pop culture and fashion; you could take the most attractive guys and girls and infect them with this unholy time plague and turn them into Ed Hardy’d, lip glossed, chokered, faux hawked, tongue pierced, Von Dutched, tip frosted ghouls that were proud to tell you that nu-metal has potential and Eminem is the new face of hip-hop.
It was a cruel and sadistic plague that took many lives.
Underneath it all, some new trends in “underground” music were poking through the disease ridden landscapes; bands like the Strokes and the Hives who excelled in over produced, uneventful, “garage” rock and the Emo/Pop punk horrors of bands like Saves the Day, My Chemical Romance, and Jimmy Eat World were starting to take over radio and music video slots of all the angst ridden 90’s acts, which were one of the last vessels to carry any semblance of political or social commentary into the mainstream.
Amongst this melee of whiney lyrics about girlfriends not putting out during Wes Anderson movies and high school romances while actually being in your mid-twenties, the only band that ever caught my ear and often flirted within these circles was At The Drive-In.
At The Drive-In released their last full length, Relationship of Command in 2000 (and they are apparently releasing a new album this year) and with it, the single “One Armed Scissor”, which is probably the worst song on the album.
My favorite song is the aggressive opener “Arcarsenal” which immediately punches a hole through the hull of the ship and sucks you into the outer space; couldn’t be more of an appropriate introduction; but abiding as closely as I can to the guidelines of this article, the track I am choosing is “Pattern Against User” which seems to be the most anthemic and as close to the pop/punk of this era as I can get.
The chorus itself is driving and melodious and the lyrics are memorable and fun- “wormed out way to distant earth” .
I am sure this song incited mass sing-alongs at their live shows. There is an even an epic vocal break down towards the end that I am sure had all the emo kids doing that fruity dance where they pat their “heart” with one hand wave their other hand back and forth over their head like some bizarre sobriety test a cop would give you.
This song and album are nostalgic to me in many ways; during this time period, while in college, my friend became a manager at a Hot Topic at the local mall and she hired all of her friends including myself.
For the in-store music, we could listen to anything we wanted to as long as long as it was sold there; and as you can imagine, the music available was a hellish shitmare; thankfully Relationship of Command was sold there and obviously attained a lot of mileage.
All in all it wasn’t a bad job; I got to hang out with my friends at work and the clientele were something out of a Tim and Eric skit. Things were all well and good until I was involved in a 3way at a party at my apartment with some co-workers; there was an individual who was jealous that they didn’t get the invite to the orgy and ratted us all out to Hot Topic headquarters which I assume looks like the inside of Tim Burton’s colon.
Apparently, as consenting adults in retail, having sex of any kind with co-workers is punishable by death and/or job loss.
I remember they sent down some trolls from the headquarters to interrogate us in the food court and with the simple plan of denying everything, they found nothing on us, no case could be made, and the trolls retreated back to Tim Burton’s anus; all the while “Pattern Against User” proudly blasted from the rod-ironed store front of Hot Topic.
Now that 2017 is here and passing, we see that music is again shifting.
There are pockets of bands here and there that are adjusting their sound to a more true punk rock sound. Even though Blink and Green Day still dominate radio and record sales, let us not forget where this all came from; bands that formed years before the year 2000!
It is fun to get nostalgic about bands that were active 12 to 17 years ago though. A time when there was so much care free fun to have as we tried to avoid emo.
Thanks for reading! Let us know in the comments what gets your nostalgic feels all tingly!
This Canadian grew up in the great state of Montana, so naturally punk and hardcore music served as a proper soundtrack to his early life. Now living in the arctic tundra he enjoys vinyl collecting, bearding, Canadian brew and long walks on the beach he makes up in his mind.