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Napster University: Pop Punk 101

by Stephanie Benson

Napster University: Pop Punk 101


For the entire month of September, Napster is offering our Music 101 course, a 30-day deep dive into everything from early jazz to the rise of hip-hop to the hottest new global sensations. Each day we'll provide you with a fascinating new listening experience and a quick education on the origins and significance of a different musical genre, subgenre, scene, trend or fad.

Pop punk is one big, fat oxymoron if you think about it, but if The Ramones were the first punk band, then "Blitzkrieg Bop'" and their obvious affection for teenybopper pop also made them the first pop punk band. Punk, in its earthiest of roots, may just be poppier than any self-aware devotee would ever admit. But since The Ramones, the genre branched off into several differing sectors, some more snot-nosed and anarchic than others. This playlist highlights more of the latter: groups that nail the requisite sneer but add irresistible pop charm that even a mom could love (well, maybe), full of punks more likely to scream about orgasm addictions, getting stoned in the afternoon, suburban stagnancy and losing their nose-ringed sweetheart than any unjust isms. Starting with 1976's Ramones, we travel through time and highlight 20 of pop punk's most successful and influential albums to see how the genre has grown, changed and thrived.

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