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Power chords and Pennywise: 90 minutes of 1999’s best pop punk

Photo: The Distillers (Kevin Winter/Getty Images); New Found Glory (Nigel Crane/Getty Images); The Buzzcocks (Mick Hutson/Getty Images

1999 wasn’t the year of rock. It was the year of boy bands, of Destiny’s Child, of “No Scrubs,” of Cash Money Records. There was nu-metal, sure, and Goo Goo Dolls, but, lord, there had to be a middle ground, right? There was! It was the sound of the suburbs, of Warped Tour and American Pie. It was pop punk, a naughty, neon-tinged riff on the trail blazed by the Buzzcocks and the Ramones that owed more to MTV, capitalist excess, and workaday mallrats than rebellion and the counter-culture.

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That was the prevailing attitude, at least, of bands like Blink-182, New Found Glory, and Lit, who broke into the mainstream with obnoxious, infectious cuts like “What’s My Age Again,” “Hit Or Miss,” and “My Own Worst Enemy.” They weren’t the only ones pairing power chords with snotty, heartsick lyrics, though. The legends—Buzzcocks, Screeching Weasel—were still putting out records, while the upstart acts that would come to elevate the genre—The Distillers, for example—were lighting up LiveJournal with the singles that would propel them to stardom.

As such, the below playlist is more eclectic than you might think. Do all of these bands deserve to be given a label so notorious as pop punk? Who knows, it’s a slippery term. What they all share, though, is an intensity, an attitude, and a gift for melody. They also all originally came out in 1999—you may note, however, that some of the picks below were later re-released on a subsequent LP. Also, Parasites’ Compost, but we’re allowing it since it arrived just 11 days into 2000. Fuck rules, right?


Power Chords and Pennywise: A 1999 Pop-Punk Playlist

1. The Ataris, “Your Boyfriend Sucks”
2. New Found Glory, “It Never Snows In Florida”
3. Groovy Ghoulies, “(She’s My) Vampire Girl”
4. Fastbacks, “As Everything”
5. The Get-Up Kids, “Holiday”
6. Tsunami Bomb, “3 Days & 1000 Nights”
7. The Lillingtons, “I Saw The Apeman”
8. Blink-182, “Aliens Exist”
9. Parasites, “I Almost Loved You”
10. Pennywise, “Victim Of Reality”
11. Saves The Day, “Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots”
12. The Muffs, “Another Ugly Face”
13. No Use For A Name, “Coming Too Close”
14. Buzzcocks, “Turn Of The Screw”
15. Screeching Weasel, “The Scene”
16. Bloodhound Gang, “I Hope You Die”
17. Alkaline Trio, “Goodbye Forever”
18. Bigwig, “Falling Down”
19. The Mr. T Experience, “Self Pity”
20. Lit, “Zip-Lock”
21. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, “Tomorrow”
22. Ten Foot Pole, “The Getaway”
23. The Distillers, “L.A. Girl”
24. Jetland, “Meet Your Maker”
25. Anti-Flag, “A New Kind Of Army”
26. Face To Face, “I Know What You Are”
27. Fenix TX, “Ben”
28. Good Riddance, “Shadows Of Defeat”
29. Jimmy Eat World, “Crush”
30. The Bouncing Souls, “Wish Me Well (You Can Go To Hell)”

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.