Here’s a flashback to my awkward middle school dances era: strobe lights blink through the mostly dark gymnasium while teachers I stared at for hours during the week stand in the back, crossing their arms and watching us dance in front of the DJ. Groups of friends huddle together, jumping to beats of music that were so loud, it pulsed through the floor. No matter where we hear these songs – whether in a bar or blasting from the computer speakers at home – our generation needs to belt them from the top of our lungs, the nostalgia hitting big time.
“All The Small Things” – Blink-182
This classic defined modern pop punk music. The opening guitar riff and drum cadence rings unmistakable, causing listeners to jump to the beat. A song with both a catchy and basic sound, this song was meant to be a radio hit, played constantly until the lyrics were memorized. Like every good alternative song, bands sing all about a girl the they once knew and this one is no different. An ode to an old girlfriend turned wife, Blink-182 based the lyrics on memories, like leaving flowers by the door after a long rehearsal. “All The Small Things” drips with nostalgia, so much that hands immediately get raised in the air, pumping to the ever-popular na na nas that reign the chorus.
“My Own Worst Enemy” – Lit
This song is famed for its unforgettable beat and addictive lyrics about drunken regrets and problems no one knows how to handle. It’s shocking to realize that this is a rather accurate depiction of college life for most teenagers when they first get to campus; it’s a culture shock that they want to take part in. When this song came out in in the late 1990s and listened to by my middle school self, all I cared about was a beat that could be danced to, not fully understanding what I was quoting. Recently, “My Own Worst Enemy” was covered by the alternative band, Get Scared, for the Punk Goes 90s Vol. 2 album, the only differences being a higher pitched voice and some added screaming. If that doesn’t scream nostalgia, I don’t know what does.
“In Too Deep” – Sum 41
One of the reasons this song became known was from a 15-second video clip of their music video on Nickelodeon. Everyone has that one relationship that only has problems but is “in too deep” and can’t bring themselves to end it. With a small, tapping solo from the drummer, the song is soaked mostly in power chords with loud, rockin’ riffs. Pop punk songs are determined by the catchiness of the songs and this one is a great portrayal of that: It’s definitely a song that keeps your head bobbing to the beat and the lyrics rolling right off your tongue. Sum 41 made sure this song would be played over and over again, even after the initial obsession vanished.