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Pop punk’s not dead: Feel a little emo? Express through music.

Sometimes, you just need tunes to express how you’re feeling in ways you don’t know how to put in words. But I recently realized my current playlists weren’t quite cutting it, and I found myself longing for something new and fresh.

As a long-time fan of bands like “Blink-182,” “Panic! At the Disco,” “Fall Out Boy,” “Paramore,” “Green Day” and other traditional ‘90s/early 2000s pop punk bands, I noticed their sound has become more align with today’s trends. This is totally fine, but where was the music I could lock myself in my room and listen to for hours, shedding a tear now and then or just wallowing in my early ‘20s angst?

I perused Spotify for some inspiration, and in just a few hours, I discovered some of the best music I had heard in a while. I used to have an aversion to the “new” pop punk of my generation, thinking it initially sounded whiny and almost like they were talk-singing. In retrospect, I had only heard a couple of the thousands of bands that are out there now. What makes “new” pop punk so different is the range of sounds depending on the band and even within different albums – from the more hardcore instrumentals to chill, lyrical tracks.

I have since accumulated a list of bands worth knowing in the current pop punk genre based on some of their most recent content. Though I am nowhere near an expert quite yet, these four bands will give you a taste of the pop punk world nowaways.

1. “Knuckle Puck”
With their second full-length album, “Shapeshifter,” their meaningful lyrics about change and their fiery instrumentals permeate the album with a beautiful, yet energetic sound from start to finish. Songs like “Plastic Brains” and “Want Me Around” are among my favorites; two somewhat-slower songs perfectly balanced with ballad-like verses and catchy choruses and hooks. Joe Taylor’s vocals will certainly make you feel things. “Knuckle Puck” is one to keep an eye on.

2. “Neck Deep”
“Neck Deep” has been prominent in the pop punk world for quite some time now, but when I discovered their newest album “The Peace and the Panic,” I couldn’t help but binge-listen to the entire thing. It takes a different route than typical pop punk tracks about lovesickness and heartbreak. In my opinion, there’s no better way to get through your existential crisis than by listening to songs like “Critical Mistake” and “Where Do We Go When We Go.” If you need a little inspiration to get through the day – or a bunch of catchy tracks to get stuck in your head – give this band a shot.

3. “Broadside”
No, not Bradley University’s literary arts journal, but the pop punk band. “Broadside” is a bit more underground than the others, but in my opinion, they deserve at least four times the amount of monthly listeners on Spotify (currently holding just over 250,000). Their album “Paradise” is an array of emotions with upbeat tracks like “Hidden Colors” to more punk rock, serious tracks like “Laps Around a Picture Frame.” Frontman Oliver Baxxter’s vocal delivery is addictive and will leave you playing this album on repeat.

4. “The Story So Far”
This band dials back to more traditional, ‘90s pop punk vibes. Their latest single “Out Of It” anticipates a new album (whose release date was Nov. 3 according to Alt Press, but has yet to see the light of day). No matter how long it takes for the album to come out, I’ll keep jamming to their new track, as well as their other amped-up songs from previous albums. Nevertheless, keep your ears peeled for “Out Of It.”

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