Though I'm too old for their target demographic now, I still think pop-punk is one of the greatest musical genres ever invented. Like caramel popcorn, it's the perfect salty-sweet combination for your ears. The pop component keeps the punk from being too hard, and the punk part keeps the pop from being too soft. I recently went through my music catalog and picked out what I feel are the best of the best. Here they are - for once - in order...
Honorable Mention: Good Charlotte
The Madden twins lost a lot of points with me when one of them decided to date Paris Hilton, and the other one decided to marry Nicole Richie, but there was a time when this band made sweet sounds, particularly on "The Chronicles of Life and Death," their best album and one of my favorites of the 2000s. Cleverly presented in a "Life" or "Death" package, where the artwork and bonus songs were different for each version, the record was a minor, almost underrated concept album about the easily relatable themes of growing up and simply surviving. I also enjoyed listening to their sound mature over the years. On their first album, they made their materialistic ambitions bare. They wanted to be "in the magazines, on the movie screens..." They got their wish a few years later by being featured in the spoof flick Not Another Teen Movie, as well as a truckload of teen magazines, but then admitted how shallow their dreams were on a bonus track of the "Life and Death" album: "I only wanted a magazine/I only wanted a movie screen/I only wanted the life I'd read about and dreamed/And now my mind is an open book/And now my heart is an open wound/And now my life is an open sore for all to see." More money, more problems, lads. They should've stayed away from those snotty socialites.
Michael Perone has written for The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore City Paper, The Island Ear (now titled Long Island Press), and The Long Island Voice, a short-lived spinoff of The Village Voice. He currently works as an Editor in Manhattan. And he still thinks Michael Keaton was the best Batman.