“Burning Bridges, Searching For Some Sense Of Distance ” – I’m Still Searching

Hey, hey!

I want to continue on from the last post to do with this project and expand on some things. 

I touched on slightly the issues within my chosen niche surrounding diversity, and how I support and engage with the shift that is very much needed to move away from that. To be fair, I have grown up around this type of music, and I can honestly say after observing after all this time there is still an incredibly lack of anything diverse. It’s why I like to bring attention to the moment it’s there. I have kept reading about it as a way to gain outside perspective. 

“Pop punk has existed in the mainstream for over 40 years, yet there’s no signs of progress in diversification…The article features some groups with one or two female members, but the lack of racial diversity is striking. This article was published in 2019…”

One part of this article here that really struck out to me was “we need to hold the publications reporting on the genre and media promoting it accountable.” As someone who is trying to turn my own writing into something here, this is something to be accountable for. And goes right in hand with my previous epiphany of ethics in writing and working within this world. 

In some way, I believe this idea and execution to fall within the realm of Post-Modernism framework. This push for less misogyny, more diversity, and stands against abuse is a modern take – which is sad to think about but it is. “Postmodernists dismiss this idea as a kind of naive realism.”

Another aspect of Post-Modernism would be the cultural shifts in the wave right now. I have mentioned before about the aspect of blending genres and how the current Pop Punk era is influenced by this and by the Emo Rap era of the 2010’s. 

For example, these two  reads

“The genres aren’t that different, when you break them down. Emo is lyrical, emotional, and rooted in its aesthetics. So is rap and hip-hop.”

“Not in competition, with one fighting to win out over the other…but working in tandem to create something more than what they might offer individually…“I’ve experienced a lot of snobbery with the older generations at shows and online,” the London and LA-based DJ explains, ​“whereas the young fans I’ve met who are coming to their first gigs are so open-minded. They’ve grown up with the internet and are used to genre-hopping. They love the new concoctions of genres, which is so fresh and exciting.” 

This DA, my work, is aiming to make a stance in the world of music, it is important for my authenticity of Persona and it is Postmodern in action.

REFERENCES

Boas, S. (2020, June 17). Boas: Pop punk has a diversity problem. Northbynorthwestern.Com; North by Northwestern. https://northbynorthwestern.com/boas-pop-punk-has-a-diversity-problem/

Duignan, B. (2020). Postmodernism. In Encyclopedia Britannica.

From Lil peep to paramore, Emo and rap have been related for years. (n.d.). Kerrang.Com. Retrieved October 13, 2021, from https://www.kerrang.com/features/from-lil-peep-to-paramore-emo-and-rap-have-been-related-for-years/

How Emo rap has redefined rock music. (n.d.). Kerrang.Com. Retrieved October 13, 2021, from https://www.kerrang.com/features/how-emo-rap-has-redefined-rock-music/

“You’re Still In My Head” – Going Deeper

Hey, hey!

As I have mentioned before, the niche of mine which I’m focusing on this semester is music, particularly that within pop punk or emo type subculture. 

Part of the research for this project is meant to be observing – but I don’t know how to articulate when I am no longer observing. I live with this idea that music is a hobby and a personality trait if you’re into it strong enough. Some evidence of observing is the way so many artists released music around when this project picked up – insanely helpful. This formulated my need to have everything in one place and create a playlist, which wasn’t something I originally intended. 

An important discussion particularly within this genre is the lack of diversity and misogyny for decades. While I have firsthand experiences and knowledge from living through this community, this led to me taking on readings. This was helpful for this project because I know, ultimately, with my work I want to be a part of that shift that is finally starting to happen. I’ve touched on it, I’ve centred Women, Non-Binary and POC in my work and always will. 

“It’s essential to disrupt these narratives and hold White men accountable if we want to fight racism and sexism in our communities…To these men and boys, you are not a whole, unique person — You are A Thing and He Wants You. You are the Manic Pixie Dream Girl to their brooding, sensitive loner…The misogyny in pop punk ranges from idolizing women to wishing actual physical violence on to them…”

Not just from observing, but engaging, I came to the realisation that this to me is a lot more than just a project. I create this content outside of Uni, I enjoy doing so, and creating relationships with people working within the same line and artists became relevant quickly. Not just for this project but my future – which this DA has given me a moment to think about. This contributes to my ideas of ethics. 

Persona is an incredibly important aspect in this project, but so is authenticity. I don’t just say I like some bands music if I don’t – even if I know it can get me engagement. This is somewhat because I am honest about if I even like something and because I care about my persona being authentic to me. I don’t present myself as a part of the aesthetics, the communities, the live shows for anything other than enjoyment and that is the key with this project. I make good content that I’m happy with, I meet new industry people, and it doesn’t get impacted by fake love, a fake persona.  

REFERENCES

Berkland, D. (n.d.). Androcentrism and misogyny in late twentieth century rock music. Core.Ac.Uk. Retrieved October 13, 2021, from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/145050367.pdf

de Boise, S. (2020). Music and misogyny: a content analysis of misogynistic, antifeminist forums. Popular Music39(3–4), 459–481.

Fosbraey, G., & Puckey, N. (2021). Misogyny, toxic masculinity, and heteronormativity in post-2000 popular music. Springer Nature.

West, E. (2015, August 27). “where is your boy tonight?”: Misogyny in pop punk. Athena Talks. https://medium.com/athena-talks/where-is-your-boy-tonight-misogyny-in-pop-punk-669eccedc811

“You Live In My Head Again & Again” – Simply Taylorlani Still Progressing

Hey, hey! 

I would like to welcome you back to one of my Digital Artefacts for this semester, and if you’re new here you can read the Pitch for this project here

A little while ago I decided for this semester of University I would choose to focus on a hobby of mine outside of work and span this project over two classes. That hobby being my writing and specifically my music based writing. 

To summarize, I create content here on my blog and my content based Instagram @simplytaylorlani centered around music, my thoughts, opinions and my love. I have shared a few posts where I focus on different things:

1. Where I discuss my thoughts and ranking on some albums.

2. A post where I highlight artist’s I deem need your attention and slightly touch on the unpleasantness of the Pop Punk genre.

3. A small 12 song list that would be best suited toward those 3am sadboi hours.

Besides those things I share weekly a song and an album which I am loving which resulted in the creation of a Spotify playlist for this DA.

I have said it before, but I don’t believe I have really struggled with the project at all, and if I have it is genuinely forgetting to post a song every sunday. However, that doesn’t mean everything has been positive and great. My first piece of writing – the album one – hardly got any engagement at all and I kind of started to feel that that route might not be the correct way about things. I switched it up with that second one and to my surprise I got so much engagement from it outside of Uni. Artists I tagged and wrote about in that liked and one going as far to retweet on the band account, his personal account and follow me back on most of my personal socials. This started an uphill climb in my work as many different artists and bands have started to follow, engage and just notice me whether that has been from tweeting or writing. Beyond this I have started to create personal connections with people in the industry which has been wild. 

Inside Uni circles however, I have even had the pleasure to feature on my friend Tyneesha’s DA, where we recorded a podcast and I got to roughly speak on my history and how I got interested in all of this. Tyneesha also had some really nice things to say about my project in this Twitter thread here which I appreciate a whole lot. 

I don’t think there’s been any major changes in this project outside of maybe my professionalism. I stated this in a class about how the relationships made through this project and managing them have been incredibly different to what I could have thought, in a good, but ultimately more complex way. 

For another breakdown of all of this over the course of this project you can see in this video.  

The Musicality Of Video Games

Hey, hey!

I would like to welcome you back to one of my Digital Artefacts for this semester, you can read the Pitch for this project here. 

I have been creating written content around the idea of Video Game Sound Design, and following feedback given to me have adjusted my work. A comment given to me was my lack of in depth scholarly research which altered the way I wished to go about this project. 

Initially, I aimed to just look into certain games and their soundtracks and write about them. While that is still very much a working construct, I have been working on the history and importance of this in individual posts to be more informative and educated rather than broadly exploring. 

After it being a suggestion I have also started to consider the framework of nostalgia to align this project with, as pointed out holds a mass amount of weight on how we transcribe and associate with sound design. I have found that using the formal elements to critique a game’s perspective around score to be an interesting contributor to really understanding the importance of sound.  

A source relied to me in feedback allowed me to make this project more personal and take a dive into the effect of soundtracks on myself too. I have shared personal favourite ambient game based videos which I listen to outside of the game space and why, my feelings and uses of them. 

For further information please check out the video. 

References

Extraverts, E. I. N. (n.d.). A thesis presented to. Gatech.Edu. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://smartech.gatech.edu/bitstream/handle/1853/54462/LEVY-THESIS-2015.pdf

Klimmt, C., Possler, D., May, N., Auge, H., Wanjek, L., & Wolf, A.-L. (2019). Effects of soundtrack music on the video game experience. Media Psychology22(5), 689–713.

Roberts, R. (2014). Fear of the unknown: Music and sound design in psychological horror games. In Music In Video Games (pp. 152–164). Routledge.

Tierney, J. (2013, July 8). What is nostalgia good for? Quite a bit, research shows. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/science/what-is-nostalgia-good-for-quite-a-bit-research-shows.html

“Now I’m Caught In The Moment” – Simply Taylorlani Is Progressing

Hey, hey!

I would like to welcome you back to one of my Digital Artefacts for this semester, and if you’re new here you can read the Pitch for this project here

In regards to Pitch feedback, it was mainly positive. I received comments on my aesthetic, instagram feed, and my personal tone. This was very helpful in furthering the process of creating content and being sure of my online persona. One of the things stated to be improved on was my academic sources to further my points which I have spent some time to improve. 

weekly song and album examples

I looked at a number of sources on the rise of genre blending and the breaking of genre boxes. This was helpful in regards to my writing as the new wave artists I have featured are very much pro breaking down those walls. 

I have been sharing written pieces here on my blog, along with content on my Instagram @simplytaylorlani centred around weekly songs and albums. Along with this I have created a playlist where I showcase artists mentioned in my work. These things have had positives and negative contributions to this project. Such as narrowing now what type of writing gets engagement and which doesn’t from mistakes and lessons, what times get the most views, techniques on which style of tweets gets my work noticed by musicians I feature.

screenshot from a class

For a further breakdown of this project over the weeks please check out this video. It goes further in depth with everything mentioned above. 

My Favourite Game Related Study Playlist’s

Hey, hey! 

For today I shall be sharing some of my favourite study/relax playlists related to games 🙂 I am partly doing this because I want to and partly to prove a point that game scores hold impact even outside of their media. I don’t just use these for study or anything, that’s more of a buzzword. I have background noise for most activities, and yeah a lot of the time I might listen to Spotify, but there are a large number of moments where I chose a “autumn village – fall nintendo music” ambiance for the vibe. 

For example, as an avid reader I will play something in the background like this. It’s relaxing and calming – depending on what you chose to listen to. I adore the Animal Crossing one’s, especially as someone who grew up playing that game. 

Another time is when I’m creating art, especially if it’s a fantasy type of piece. Just as I listen to a music artist if I’m drawing a portrait of them, listening to Zelda scores while I envision a fantastical image aids in the whole process. 

But now, onto the list!

a quite moment – zelda ost + thunderstorm ambience:

This right here is awfully comforting to me. There just is something about Zelda that is comforting to me. I found while listening to this that I often get a lot of creative process out, like I am so enchanted to keep creating. That ability is very powerful for me, as someone who gets so burnt out when it comes to my creative process.

rainbow cloud – nintendo ost + thunderstorm ambience:

One of the things that you’ll catch onto here is the way I love thunderstorm or rain ambience. It creates the perfect environment, like it sets this idea in my head that its my own time right now please breathe. This example here I listen to a lot, like all the time. I’ll get my coffee, a cookie and a book and get to work devouring the pages. I think that game ambience sounds really immersive for games, to draw you into the world, and it has that ability when losing myself in books too. 

drifting away – kirby ost + thunderstorm ambience:

Oh, I love Kirby by the way! I don’t trust you if you don’t. I know I mentioned that “study” was a buzzword, which yeah it is, however I do still use these to study. I’ve found that a lot of these game ambience videos are that they go for longer than an hour, and when you’re studying this is so useful to have your background sound timed. It’s so easy to glance up and see if it’s been five minutes or thirty. It’s a useful aid in keeping a time schedule without being overly stressed

a storm of songs – zelda ost + thunderstorm ambience:

Yes, more thunderstorms, I’m not sorry about it. I have just as much of an attachment to thunderstorms as I do Zelda. I know I’ve mentioned a lot of ways I listen to these for practical use but I must point out that no, that’s not everything. I hate quiet unless I’m trying to sleep, or I’m over stimulated but more often than not I find that I am under stimulated. These help put my brain into use when I need it to be when I am simply existing.

Some Game Soundtrack History For Your Afternoon

Hey, hey! 

For a Digital Artefact this semester I’m researching the importance, the effect, nostalgia and really anything I find myself going down a rabbit hole about in relation to Game Media – specifically Game Scores/Soundtracks. 

“I will be writing about and analysing popular soundtracks, scores and sounds from video games to uncover the reasoning for this. I will be conducting textual analysis of games, exploring the love and hype around their musical attributes, and questioning why that is. For example, what makes this soundtrack stand out? How does it make you feel? I will be using this blog to publish posts doing as such, along with my content based Instagram, Simply Taylorlani, where I will be sharing more casual content about game music.” 

Video Game Music Pitch

TODAY – SOME HISTORY 

Video Game Music can be traced back to around as early as 1951. However, according to what I’ve found, the earliest video games were produced without sound, and in 1972 Pong was released, which is the first game with sound effects. Pong 1972 is a table tennis arcade style video game of simplistic style. 

John Wall, award-winning and BAFTA nominated composer known for the scores of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, III, & IV, Mass Effect I & II, the Myst series, Jade Empire and several other franchises – “Playing all those arcade games, I never even paid attention to the music, It just sounded like sounds to me. However, you know all the tunes. It’s so funny. The bleeps and bloops, they kind of invade your brain.” 

Video Game Music wasn’t originally created for intense feeling purposes, however later developed to retain that importance. An example of this is the Russian folk song used in the game Tetris. However, while this started to gain value, video games had limiting hardware. 

“Concert halls around the country took note, and in 2005, Wall and Tallarico launched Video Games Live. The event features some of the world’s finest orchestras performing some of the world’s most popular video game music. For the first time in years, professional musicians are receiving the kind of audience energy they’ve craved.”

HISTORY OF NINTENDO SOUNDTRACKS – 

One of the most impactful soundtracks of my childhood and even adulthood has been Nintendo. I really grew up with it, and it was pretty much everywhere. If I’m being honest having an elder brother, with a ten year age gap, probably aided in this too. I have used Nintendo as my primary example throughout this DA simply because it is what I love when it comes to scores I listen to outside of the game. 

Koji Kondo, who wrote tracks for Super Mario Bros. in the 1990s, which was still a time where music was considerably an afterthought. “Kondo, however, felt differently: ‘I wanted to create something that had never been heard before, where you’d think, “this isn’t like game music at all…”’, he said in a 2007 interview with Wired.” Kondoreally wanted you to feel through the music, a ripe example of this being the score used when swimming in order to achieve “dancing through water”. 

Game Soundtracks have very much developed pretty far these days, in fact it is a pretty integral part of the whole game production process. It is used to invoke emotions, to hide clues and advance game play just as a basic line of point compared to when it was first introduced. I have no doubt that this upward slope in development will continue in the future. 

REFERENCES 

Fritsch, M. (2013). History of video game music. In Music and Game (pp. 11–40). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

How Nintendo changed the course of music history. (n.d.). Frieze.Com. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.frieze.com/article/nintendo-music-super-mario-bros-metroid-game-soundtrack

Jack Wall – IMDb. (n.d.). Imdb.Com. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0908410/

NPR. (2008, April 13). The evolution of video game music. NPR. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89565567

I’ve Been Much Better But At Least I’m Healing – Song’s To Listen To When Alone At Night

One of my favourite things about Pop Punk is the way it made me feel, especially when I was younger and would spend hours on Tumblr. It is simply one of my favourite genres to listen to when I’m sad alone at night. And I have been doing so for years at this point which is why I think I’m ready to share a collection of songs that are perfect for those moments. Not everything here is Pop Punk to be fair, but a fair amount is, not that you need to apply genre’s to everything. I’ve said it before but never box yourself in with that.

This isn’t a complete list or anything, there are tons of songs, of albums, of playlists that could be here. But for now here’s 12.

How To Never Stop Being Sad – Dandelion Hands

Would you call this Pop Punk? Some say yes, some say no, some would probably suggest it being more Midwest, either way I’m 100% including it. The thing about Dandelion Hands is that their music is the opposite of a hug, if that makes sense. It tends to leave me senseless in a way that I can’t stop staring at the ceiling and playing over my own mundane actions of life. It’s not comforting, but you don’t want it to be, not really. It’s a moment of “oh”. It is simply something you need to experience at least once. 

The Night I Drove Alone – Citizen

This right here is a classic Sad Boi anthem and if you’re into this style of music it is probably no surprise that it is here. Have I sobbed to Citizen multiple times? Absolutely. Is it usually at night in some of my darkest moments? Correct, yeah. Do I think you should give it a listen in those times for you? Yes, yes I do. Citizen nail this thing about gripping vocals that make me feel as if I’m screaming from the heart.

High Definition – Waterparks

This might be my favourite song on this list, mostly because it is one of my favourite songs of all time. I will take no slander for it at all. I don’t think I can even describe what it is about this song. All I know is I relate to it too much sometimes, and perhaps you will too. Especially if you struggle with ideas of love. Awsten sometimes says this is the best song he’s ever written and I hope you take a moment to listen to it.

Bummer Summer – Charmer

Oh, I cannot even translate how dearly I love this classic midwest-y tune. It is just something you need to experience. It, like most of this style of music, reminds me so much of fall and broken promises. It leaves me feeling a little less empty, but a little more sighing in sadness.

July (Part One) – Hotel Books

Only listen to Hotel Books if you really want to be broken. Or, maybe, you already are broken and just need reminding of it. If you need something to scream about, something to violently sob for a second if you really relate to the context of this. I’m sorry if you do, but please take this as my offering to you.

Whole – Basement

Just – just listen to it. In fact just listen to Basement. I’m losing my words here.

Losing Days – Hot Mulligan

Hot Mulligan is one of those bands that I listen to when I’m sad, happy or ready to think about my existence. I really thank them for that ability, and the fact that their Twitter really radiates some kind of energy that makes their music more enjoyable than it already is. Losing Days is only one of many songs I recommend listening to late at night in your room.

I Usually Call This One “Dying” – Gloom

Ah this, this doesn’t necessarily sound sad, not really. But it’s a nice breather between the others I have mentioned. I don’t really know a lot of people who listen to Gloom, but I will suggest it. This is a song that’s a vibe, reminds me of when my fairy lights flicker as I cry a little.

It’s Too Much – Moose Blood

Okay, I know people either love or hate Moose Blood and this genre has a ton of issues from bands. But this song, hell any of their songs? So good and I hate it. Moose Blood had music I loved early on in my exploration of Pop Punk and I cry often to them. It is just, I really can’t explain it, so beautifully sad. 

Sixteen – Real Friends

Oh, Oh Real Friends. I treasure them with my entire heart. They are the perfect sad band for me. I love everything they’ve done, even if it leaves me upset clinging to a pillow remembering my pain that never really leaves. This song is one that if you take anything away from this post at all, is that you should listen to it.

The Grey – Movements

Like Real Friends, Movements is that band that can fill a song with a broken heart, trauma and loneliness in a way I am obsessed with. Their Feel Something album is quite loved for this reason, and yes this song comes from there. Movements are like a blanket to me, they weigh me down but comfort me at once. I love them so much.

Well Adjusted – Summer Wars

There’s something about being an anxious person to the core and cold, rainy weather that Well Adjusted pulls out of me. I don’t just listen to this at night, but it hurts me a little more when it is. I am not well adjusted, I like to think I will be one day, and everyday I get up and attempt to be so. However, in those times where I am down so many levels this song is like taking a hammer to me feelings.

I recommend listening to these tunes. Really, each song here makes me feel things when it’s 3am, I’m staring at the ceiling, and I have a Uni class in a few hours. I cry to music a lot, and sometimes it makes no sense when I do. Like why do I cry to Future? That – that one makes no goddamn sense at all. However, these song’s right here are perfectly crafted for these moments of loneliness.

You can find each of the song’s mentioned here in this playlist of mine that includes the artists and music I talk about for University.

The Words’ll Never Come Out Right – Pop Punk Artist’s You Should Be Paying Attention To

In recent time’s Pop Punk has come again into the light of mainstream attention as it did when bands like Yellowcard, Blink-182, Good Charlotte, and All American Rejects were played constantly on the radio or the soundtracks of movies. History repeats itself constantly, so really it should be no surprise that it has once again caught on – at least for the moment.

I have no issue with this. Like I said it’s not the first time and really it’s a way for kids to discover things. Not to mention some of what has arisen from the current spotlight has been pretty decent. That being said, the mainstream lane right now is not at all what is happening within the genre. The only way I can describe it is that no matter how many different eras/styles there are to choose from – neon, skate, sad boi, etc – they only ever go for the same thing. Nostalgia, let’s revise the sound of what mainstream Pop Punk used to be. It’s always the same thing with a new face and a hint of contemporary to make it “now”. And to be honest I get it. It’s smart, who doesn’t fall for nostalgia? But really that whole lane is completely separate to the current state of the genre. The way popular culture picks things up is not to be a part of what the current wave is doing, from what is actually happening.

For a while Pop Punk from the 2010’s hit a rut, even me who adores this genre won’t hesitate to say so. It becomes, like most genres do, over-saturated with copies and personations. So with that being said, nothing within the genre really was interesting for a while.

At least, I think so, until now.

The new wave that has been appearing for a moment has been encpatualising. It has not completely moved from the ‘Sad Boi’ tumblr style, but it is totally switched up. I think after that massive hit of Emo Rap we had, bands have started to adapt to this way of not sticking to one thing anymore. In my opinion it’s great, amazing even. Especially when everyone has different ways of incorporating multiple things. Not to mention the features! The 2010’s era was full of features from other artists, bands, from the genre and it was great for sure. But now? I don’t think I’ve encountered as many slight rap crossovers as this new wave has been bringing. And no, I’m not talking about MGk’s album, I mean the artists who are separate from the spotlight.

Part of the reason why I wanted to write this was to share some really great artists who are being overshadowed by mainstream popular culture though. Of course someone within that is going to be a more prominent result when searching new wave Pop Punk than a band with a single EP.

SO, THE ARTISTS?

If I’m being completely frank right now, this isn’t a long list. This is partly because I have hardly been engaging with the Pop Punk scene for a while, just glimpses here and there. Not because I don’t love it, not because I hate it, but simply because I enjoy so many different types of music that it just hasn’t been my main focus right now. That’s okay though, and it leaves room for me to make an updated list in the future, but for now here are a few artists you should be paying attention to.

Magnolia Park

I discovered Magnolia Park from tiktok of all places. I was just aimlessly scrolling, as we all don’t lie, when a snipped for one of their songs and the band came up. Paired with ‘can we be your new favourite Pop Punk band?” text I stopped to pay attention. It was great marketing, I’m not gonna lie. Hell, these kids didn’t even have a single EP when I found them, yet I was actually interested.

They sounded like a mix of classic upbeat Pop Punk with this newer level of production and mixing that would have been labeled as ‘fake auto-tune bullshit’ from those types of fans. To be honest, this whole new era probably is labeled just like that to them. 

I would also like to point out that Pop Punk for the longest time, and taking a look at the mainstream counterpart right now, is very white. Really, most of who you’ll encounter are just pretty white boy’s, and while that was kind of the ‘midwest, angry, white guy’ frontman was a thing for a while, it’s kind of fucked. Magnolia Park features more than one, and not ‘just thrown in there’, POC unlike most in the genre. Actually, it was part of the reason they caught my eye.

Magnolia Park is a five piece pop punk/alternative rock band from Orlando, Florida. The band blends elements of hip hop, pop punk and Emo rock to create a captivating sound and haunting aesthetic. Their music is produced by legendary alternative rock/pop punk producer Andrew Wade of The Audio Compound, who has worked with bands like A Day To Remember, Neck Deep, Wage War, Real Friends, and more.

Magnoliaparkband.com

As smaller artists they’ve done quite a bit of collabs and brought people to feature on tracks. This is a really smart thing. For example, ‘TDH2S’ from their ‘Dream Eater’ EP feature’s Oliver Baxxter, the vocalist for Broadside. While Broadside isn’t a name like The Story So Far or Neck Deep, their existing presence within Pop Punk is there. Along with that, ‘Back on My Bullshit’ which was a popular single before the release of the EP, features iamjakehill. Both of these and others, especially with the appearance of popular emo boy Kellin Quinn, have enabled the band to engage with multiple different audiences before even an album.

To me, Magnolia Park really encaptualates what modern Pop Punk is and needs to be. It’s so interesting and different from where we just were in the genre, and I honestly just adore them. I can’t recomend them enough.

Point North

I think Point North has been around for a little bit, and to be honest I still don’t really hear many talk about them. It could be due to the fact that they’ve always had this new wave style to some extent a part of their music, and like I said before, people don’t ‘like that’. I first heard Point North because of Spotify – thank you Spotify so much – all from their cover of Nothing, Nowhere’s ‘Hammer’. It’s nothing like the original, it’s fast and loud and high energy. Honestly, I would describe most of their music like that. I love Nothing, Nowhere but that cover tops the original by far.

Point North have two albums, ‘A Light in a Dark Place’ (2018), and ‘Brand New Vision’ (2020). Both of these, to me, really express the type of stylistic choice Pop Punk is having currently. Their 2021 singles, especially ‘Nice Now’, are bright, loud and evocative, something that has always stood out to me with them.

Though most of their stuff goes back to 2018, a moment when the 2010’s had kind of a stand still in defined sound, I think they’re gonna thrive with where this genre is headed. You can already feel it with the release of their second album mid 2020, and now with a new single every few months. They’re picking up this fire momentum, something I think will get them far. Like Magnolia Park, Point North has had a feature from the infamous Kellin Quinn, who from the looks of things really enjoys getting involved with smaller artists.

Meet Me @ The Altar

As I mentioned above, Pop Punk always had a white dominating scene, and along with that male. I know you’re probably sitting there like ‘but hey Paramore!’ and you’re right, sure. However, the amount of discourse over Paramore being simply just a Pop band was everywhere in the 2000’s and 2010’s. It really wasn’t about the music, it was just about the fact Hayley Williams is female. Not to mention, Tonight Alive and Against The Current are both female fronted bands that never got anything as much as others based simply on gender. There’s this stereotype of ‘Misogynistic Pop Punk’, lyrically and community wise, and for the longest time it completely was.

I say all this because one of the incredible driving factors of this new wave is the diversity in race and gender. And Meet Me @ The Altar is making impacts in changing how the scene has been for the better.

Once again I did find their music through TikTok, which is proving to be a solid platform for music artists. Honestly, I didn’t come across them themselves, I saw many different people talking about them instead. The thing with this genre is that it is incredibly closed off, or used to be, and so many fans still want that for it. Which is why when you hear a lot of people talking about the same artist, especially newer, they’re usually really good. And boy, are Meet Me @ The Altar is.

An exhilarating blast of sticky-sweet vocals, fluttery electric riffs, and a dangerously catchy chorus (“Your flowers will finally grow!”), it’s all but guaranteed to have you longing for the days of black eyeliner and studded belts.

rollingstone

Meet Me @ The Altar is really moving this genre forward at such a fast pace, and I do wholeheartedly put a lot of the new transitions that are happening to them. Their song ‘Hit Like A Girl’ is completely an anthem for me. It’s something I wish younger me could sing along to rather than ‘Do you look yourself, straight in the eyes and think about who you let between your thighs?’. It’s been time for change for a while, and it’s here finally. If you should pay attention to anyone on this list, if anyone I have mentioned is going to make massive headways, it is them and you should really, really check them out.

Honourable Mention – Lil Lotus

Okay, I know this might get me disliked by some people. Which is fine, I don’t really care if you’re gonna disagree about this.

I mentioned before how the Emo Rap movement that we had in the 2010’s really aided in some newer influence, to bring things together in production and out stepping genre boxes. However, that goes both ways. There are so many artists within that scene, or even those who’ve transitioned from musician to producer, who came from Pop Punk influence. You’ll be surprised with how many Sad Boi Pop Punk era songs have been sampled. Even Lil Peep songs, if you want me to go there.

The point? Influence isn’t a one way street, and while Lil Lotus is commonly more associated with emo rap, he isn’t remotely a simply artist like that. His latest album, ‘Errør Bøy’, is honestly more fitting with bands like Magnolia Park than rap – while still so distinctively being both. Actually, Lil Lotus is touring with Magnolia Park as an open for him, so there you go. That sounded aggressive, but I guess I’m tired of the genre box. ‘Romantic Disaster’ off the album actually features Chrissy Costanza, from Against The Current if you remember them from what I said before.

Change is on it’s way, it’s been meaning to happen, and I really think now is the time to stop thinking you can only listen to one thing to really be a fan. Lil Lotus isn’t just a Rap type artist, he isn’t so simply placed like that. I think if you’re really into keeping up with the way the scene is growing, you need to acknowledge that genres can influence each other. That artists are going to influence each other, and that’s a great thing, not something to hate on.

I Wanna Live Inside Your Mind Next To Your Favourite Songs – Ranking Waterpark’s Albums

I would like to say that I have a pretty open and vast music taste. For me it really is just about the music, or well, art anyway. I don’t like to sit there and critique something based on what someone else thinks is “real music”, especially when all they mean by that is organic sounds. It’s just a silly argument to me, as if sound and music isn’t just pretty little air waves that we all hear differently as living beings. Not to mention it’s just self expression, it’s just creation like everything else in the world is. I think you must live a pretty boring life to only be open to one thing – I could never imagine only watching trashy rom-coms just because something else is entirely different. That’s the point, right?

Now, I promise you this has a reason, I’m not just ranting.

Waterparks are a three piece band from Houston, Texas, and when they were younger very much so inspired by “pop punk” music. As most of us who found bands at a young age can be. When signed to their first label, the whole “pop punk” box was something Waterparks fell into because of this. The issue? They’re so much more than that.

As the years have progressed there has been plenty of talk from Awsten Knight – vocalist, intense creative mind – about the genre in correspondent to the band:

Q: “What do you take from pop punk music and work into your own art?”

A: “The thing is we have all the ingredients for a pop punk band, but it’s the last thing I want to be.”

Q: “Why?”

A: “Because I just – I feel like pop punk hit where it was gonna hit…and at the same time it’s such a limiting genre because you can only do so many things with it. And that’s – that’s another reason I’m so into like -“

Q: “Genre belnding?”

A: “Yeah, and it’s like – and it’s no disrespect like I’m not just trying to shit on like pop punk stuff, but it’s like I just like so much more, you know what I mean? Like besides and also another thing that sucks is when you’re put in that category it’s so hard to get out of it. And when people see you as a “pop punk band” it’s just associated with like being a teenager at warped tour or whatever and it’s like that’s just not what I want.”

Awsten Knight, Zach Sang – The Zach Sang Show, 2019

I only bring this up because often the most negative criticism of Waterparks is the fact that they’re “not pop punk.” It’s not hard to find macho midwest dudes who dislike them just for not making pop punk music, all because the band themself would be around/tour with bands that were. Which I find hilarious.

“Fans of rock think there’s so much better than fans of other things because they’re like ‘oh but this is like meaningful’… most of the time it’s just like vague negative bull, like they’re not even saying anything it’s just like – just like vague struggle fluff for the sake of like being relatable…”

Awsten Knight, 2019

Again, I only bring this up because you can’t justify your opinion on something that they’re not and I think it’s incredibly important to only go into their music with this information. You can’t go into a Waterparks album expecting pop punk – in fact you can’t go into a Waterparks album expecting anything.

Waterparks have four albums – minus their Fandom: Live In The UK – three EPs and, depending on who you ask if they consider it, the “unreleased non-official G album” demos on soundcloud that Awsten had to release because of a tweet. For the purposes of this blog post I’ll just be focusing on albums, but who knows in the future I might follow up with my opinions on everything else.

Fourth Place – Entertaiment

I feel like I might get some hate for this one, which is fine but I have my reasons. I have been listening to Waterparks since the EP days and have watched them steadily grow since and with the release of Entertainment brought in a number of new fans. This isn’t bad, I think this was an era where things started to happen within fans and it was honestly a moment. That being said, this is my least favourite album out of anything they’ve produced. It just doesn’t feel right for me, not at all. That doesn’t mean I hate it, for I enjoy a lot of the songs from Entertainment. But I think that’s just the point, it feels like some songs, not an album, not a piece of art. Maybe there’s something missing for me, maybe I just never connected to it the way I did with every other album? It just feels adolescent to me as well, I don’t know how to explain it.

It’s not a bad album, not really. I know a lot of people who adore it, the vibes of it. That’s just not me though.

Third Place – Greatest Hit’s

Here is where things get difficult. I love – and by god I mean love – this album. Waterparks have some of my favourite artistry out there in the music game right now for me. The contextual elements. The max amount of detail – like how Track 1: Greatest Hits has audio from the streets when their Fandom album was on a billboard in times square. Insane, I love it so much. Greatest Hits is amazing, it’s a piece of art.That being said, as much as this gets played nearly daily for me, I adore the other two albums even more. I don’t even know how it’s possible, but I do.

Second Place – Double Dare

For the longest time Double Dare was my favourite album – one of my favourite’s of all time actually. And it still very much is, but I think most of my love for it comes from my emotional connection to it and what it ‘means’ to me rather than think it’s their best collective piece of music. Of course it keep’s second place though. This album came out exactly when I needed it in 2016, it brought so much joy into my life and it still does every time I listen to it. It’s nostalgic in the best way, while still completely holding up in being good music. Nothing enacts the same feeling as when I hear the opening to Track 8: Powerless.

First Place – Fandom

For a while I sat here not knowing if Fandom or Double Dare would get first place and it took me a long time to decide. If that doesn’t prove just how top notch both of them are then well, I don’t know I just felt like saying that. Fandom was always second to me, for so long, but after thinking it out I actually listen to Fandom more. It only came out in 2019, yet I still listen to it – the songs separately and as a whole – so often that there is always one song in my top tracks. Like Greatest Hits, Fandom has so much contextual depth and artistry. It was the first record away from their first label and you could notice the shift in how they produced their art. It was a moment of growth, change and it was so authentically themself. I love it, I’m attached to it, and I really recommend you listen to it at least once in your life. 

“I have a theory that we could do almost any – where we can do close to anything sonically, not anything but like most things genre wise and as long as what I’m saying is very authentic and very, very real and you can tell I feel like we’ll be aright cuz like Turbulent sounds nothing like any of the older stuff but it’s like what I wanted to make…I like dark music, I like pop music, I fast, I was like that’s all of those things…I just, I like so many things and I just think it’s stupid that – alright I think it’d be dumb to only show like one dimension of yourself especially like today…”

Awsten Knight, 2019