Flash back to the first grade when I was 7 years old. I was sitting in my basement watching my brother play "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" when he called out, “Hey, listen to this song on the game, it’s really good.” From the speakers on the huge, boxy '90s TV we owned, the music started playing and the song was “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte. The moment the song ended I knew I had just heard something great. I mean, being 7 years old I was only used to the classical music my dad liked to play, the Celine Dion CDs my mom listened to and all of those pop songs on Radio Disney. I had never heard music quite like it. So, from that moment on my interest was immediately sparked. My brother started playing more songs he found from his video games and his friends, and before you knew it pop/punk/alternative music was here to stay for me and I can honestly say I don’t know who I would be without it.
The genre can primarily be summed up and include songs about getting through things, getting over things and moving on, being yourself and not letting others drag you down and just living life for yourself and nobody else. Sure, it has its fair share of entertaining and fun tracks that don’t quite fit that standard, but the bands I’ve grown up with and listen to now have a lot of those themes within their music. Especially in middle school and high school, when you’re probably going through the roughest time of growing up, the things pop/punk bands talk about and cover are so relatable. To this day I don’t think there is a better type of music to grow up with lyric-wise, because I for sure would not be the same person had I not grow up with Simple Plan telling me all of those things I mentioned and even now bands like Neck Deep reminding me there is nothing I can’t overcome.
Every time I listen to pop/punk music, I feel so incredibly empowered with their catchy guitar melodies, head banging drum beats and advice they are giving me. It makes me feel so strong and independent, and growing up feeling that way gave me so much confidence. If you ever see me when I am listening to pop/punk/alternative music, you are literally stepping into my world and probably won’t see me any more outgoing and confident than I am when I am listening to it or even talking about it. Don’t even get me started on talking about it, because I could go on for hours about bands I love, songs and stories behind them. Just the sound of Good Charlotte’s first two albums (their self-titled and “The Young and the Hopeless”), forget it. I feel on top of the world listening to them. There is no doubt my favorite band Yellowcard, with every lyrics and melody they sing makes me feel stronger. I’ve said it before, but everything I’ve ever really felt can be described somewhere down the line in the many Yellowcard songs, and what more could a kid ask for from a band than that?
There has always been pop/punk music for every mood and situation, which is one great thing about it. If I was ever in a bad mood and just wanted to listen to music that would describe it and hopefully let it out, there were bands and songs for that. If I was looking for a quick pick me up with lyrics that could push me through whatever I was dealing with, you better believe there were many. Finally, if I was ever in the car and just wanted to hear something that was going to put me in a great and upbeat mood, you guessed it --that Blink 182 album would be blaring.
This type of music gave me something growing up that differentiated me from my friends. When I listened, I could be at one with myself, which gave me the confidence to pursue and do things I liked without worrying if it was different from what everyone else was doing or listening to. Maybe that might be hard to really understand, but it makes perfect sense to me at least. As I turn 21 in the next day or so, I think about that time in my basement 14 years ago and how without pop/punk music I certainly would not have the confidence and strength I have today to do what I love, act like myself and not let people walk all over me. It’s really all I’ve ever known and can’t imagine ever not listening to it, because it has given me too much to ever let it go. It is here to stay for me.