No intro today. Just music. Please proceed.
5. The Movielife – “Ghosts in the Photographs”
I’ve always flirted with the idea of being way into The Movielife. They’ve got a good handful of songs that really scratch an itch for me when it comes to aggressive pop-punk, but a lot of their catalog never did it for me. I wish 2017 was the year I finally connected with The Movielife, especially considering the fact that their release this year, Cities in Search of a Heart, trends further toward the stuff that the band did after they broke up, such as I Am the Avalanche and Nightmare of You. Unfortunately, Movielife and I again didn’t click, even though we shared some great moments in the time we spent together, such as this track.
6. Knuckle Puck – “Gone”
Man, I am so glad to put this song on this list. I first picked up some Knuckle Puck tracks in 2014, shortly after one of their EPs came out. It was good, but it felt like it was pop-punk by the numbers. I really wanted more from it. Then in 2015, their album Copacetic hit, and put this band on my radar. That album was full of great tracks, from pogo-worthy pop-punkers to more melodic and emotional jams. They put out a few singles between, but the spin up to 2017’s Shapeshifter started with this track. It’s still pop-punk, but it’s raw and emotional in a way that reminded me of late-era The Starting Line. The whole album comes together even more differently, invoking shades of The Early November and Hidden in Plain View. One of my favorite pop-punk albums of the year, and one of my top albums of this year.
7. Goldfinger – “Tijuana Sunrise”
In 2017, John Feldmann crawled off his pile of One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer money to make a goddamn Goldfinger record again. That’s something I never saw coming. There’s a caveat, of course. It’s not the original band. They all left. So in their place, Feldy pulled his friends Mike Herrera (MxPx), Travis Barker (blink-182), and Philip Sneed (Story of the Year) to revamp the lineup. The weirdest part is that it worked. It’s a super fun album, and it’s got all the ska and punk rock you remember from old Goldfinger days. The new “bandmates” help flesh out the sound with more well composed parts than you’ve ever heard from Goldfinger before. Sure it may just be John Feldmann’s Super Friends now, but The Knife is a nostalgia trip, and you’ll probably want to go pick up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater after listening to it.
8. Taylor Swift – “Look What You Made Me Do”
My unabashed love for pop-punk in the first stretch of this mix so far should tell you that I love a song with a catchy hook. I latched on to Swift’s 2014 release 1989 in a way that shocked even me. The glossy production, the infectious melodies, it really sunk it’s teeth into me to the point where I overplayed the hell out of it, coupled with radio overplaying the hell out of it, and I was pretty sure I never wanted to hear Taylor Swift again. Fast forward to 2017, when I first heard “Look What You Made Me Do” on the radio. I said “I don’t know if I hate this song or if I love it.” Turns out, subverting the tropes of modern pop music and creating something unique in a sea of similar is a great way to turn some heads that never thought they would look back.
That’s a weird song to end on for today. Come back tomorrow for the next batch!