The quest continues, as this week is the second round of Pop-Punk May Madness. In our pursuit of the best pop-punk song of all-time, your votes have cut the field of 64 songs in half to 32, and we’ll eliminate 16 more songs this week.
Now that the second round is set, get ready to vote! You’ll be able to vote on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your favorites in 16 more match ups across the four regions from Monday to Thursday this week.
Again, voting will go region-by-region: Power Chord Paradise on Monday, Catchy Chorus Central on Tuesday, Wishful Thinking Way on Wednesday, and Hopeless Romantic Hub on Thursday. We’ll tally the votes and announce the winners on Friday.
Before second round voting begins, we took a look at each match up and shared our thoughts on which songs deserve to advance — not only considering their influence and impact on pop-punk, but also whether they’ll get the turnout needed to come out on top.
Previewing the Round of 32: Power Chord Paradise
(1) Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” vs. (8) Good Charlotte’s “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous”
Ashleigh Lee: “All the Small Things” is that one song that can always entice a crowd. It is one of the ultimate sing-along songs that you can’t help but love. Good Charlotte will always be one of my favorites, but it doesn’t hit the same way that Blink does. While the commentary of “Lifestyles” still holds true today, it’s not the easiest song to sing to, unless you have good rapping skills like Joel Madden. Blink will take this one.
Jessica Heim-Brouwer: Given the current political and economic landscape, something about “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” just hits different. It’s a rebellious banger from Good Charlotte — yet I’m not sure it’ll be able to hold up against Blink-182’s biggest hit. Plus, the power chords in “All the Small Things” are what make the song what it is.
(4) Paramore’s “Misery Business” vs. (12) Taking Back Sunday’s “You’re So Last Summer”
Adit Ahmed: Taking Back Sunday pulled off an upset I couldn’t predict over one of New Found Glory’s signature songs, which makes it prime to do the same against “Misery Business.” That being said, Paramore’s legacy shines beyond the pop-punk world in a way that few bands in the scene can say, making it a strong favorite to prevent a Cinderella run from Taking Back Sunday.
Jess: Paramore’s continued mainstream recognition makes “Misery Business” a strong contender against Taking Back Sunday’s defining breakout in the 2000s scene. Hayley Williams, per usual, pulls off impressive vocal feats in this track that prove her stamina as a singer and intensity as a songwriter. On the other hand, “You’re So Last Summer” pours out a different kind of painful vulnerability and angst that pop-punk-lovers can’t get enough of in TBS’s music.
(3) Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” vs. (6) My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay”
Tim Dodderidge: Unsurprisingly, “My Own Worst Enemy” crushed its way to the second round, and now it must face the emo monolith that is My Chemical Romance. It’s going to be an interesting match up between a band well-known within pop-punk but more as a one-hit-wonder versus a band less known for pop-punk but heralded as front runners of alternative music in the 2000s. While “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” is the lead single off the album that changed our scene forever, I’m going to be singing along to “My Own Worst Enemy” for much longer.
Ashleigh: These anthems are hard to choose from. “My Own Worst Enemy” is an iconic banger that has stood the test of time. But My Chem fans always come through. Both songs deal with internalizing oneself and facing inner demons. Lit has captured fans across two decades, and “My Own Worst Enemy” isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
(2) Panic! At the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” vs. Blink-182’s “First Date”
Tim: “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” has gone from cult classic to the mainstream zeitgeist of an entire decade. It’s impressive that a song from an album with 10-word-long track titles and whimsical experimentation made such an immaculate impression. Without it, Panic! At the Disco would not be the famed stars that they are. On the other hand, “First Date” is merely another hit in Blink-182’s dense catalog of hits (as defining as it is for awkward teenage romantics). “Tragedies” shouldn’t have a problem winning this one.
Adit: It’s no secret that “First Date” hasn’t aged well with all Blink-182 fans. Regardless, the song served as an introduction to the genre for some many, myself included. The same argument could be made for Panic!’s influence on emo with their signature song, but it’s hard for me to accept that as a haymaker against Blink. This battle will come down to perspective, and whether fans side harder with the genre’s initial heyday or the Fueled by Ramen legacy.
Previewing the Round of 32: Catchy Chorus Central
(1) Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” vs. (9) Something Corporate’s “Punk Rock Princess”
Adit: Something Corporate’s win over A Day to Remember made it clear that Pop-Punk May Madness voters are fans of the early aughts. That fact makes this battle even more challenging, pitting one of the genre’s timeless tracks with a cult classic. Something Corporate has the momentum to put up a fight, but Jimmy Eat World will be hard to beat here.
Ashleigh: “The Middle” is always going to be tough competition Something Corporate has always been a fan favorite, but “Punk Rock Princess” can’t hold a candle to Jimmy Eat World’s most influential and popular song. (I still love you, Andrew McMahon.)
(4) All Time Low’s “Dear Maria, Count Me In” vs. (12) Simple Plan’s “I’d Do Anything”
Tim: I was a bit surprised “I’d Do Anything” took down “Check Yes Juliet” in round one, but apparently tween punk has aged better than we thought. Plus, “I’d Do Anything” is an extremely fun song from the most cherished era of pop-punk (circa 2002). It will have to defeat another song from the latter half of the decade (and the same year as the We the Kings hit). But All Time Low is the bigger band, and “Dear Maria” is the bigger hit.
Ashleigh: Be still my heart! Simple Plan has always and will always be my band. “I’d Do Anything” is a pop-punk love song that never fails to leave a smile on my face. ATL and Simple Plan have heavy Blink influences that make both of these songs tough competition. Between the “na-na-nas” and Mark Hoppus’s cameo, my heart says Simple Plan, but my head says ATL.
(3) Sum 41’s “In Too Deep” vs. (6) Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi”
Adit: This isn’t the first pairing between two artists with sticky personal histories. Deryck Whibley and Avril Lavigne were in completely different spheres when their signature tracks dropped, but it’s hard not to pit their legacies against each other here. Both artists settled most of their pop-punk legacy with their debut records, and these songs played major roles in making that happen. Barring an Avril fan onslaught, it makes sense to pick Sum 41 here.
Tim: Ah, Avril and Deryck. We promise, we didn’t intentionally set up our bracket for a potential second-round matchup with this personal of connotations. But these two songs by former lovebirds’ couldn’t be more different, one standing atop a firm legacy of pop-punk and the other a toe’s dip into heavier waters for an edgier pop image. It’s tough to decide which song is the better sing-along (they’re both primed for blasting with the windows down). Still, it’s pretty obvious Sum 41’s “In Too Deep” has done more for the genre and is the definite choice.
(2) Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem” vs. (7) Fall Out Boy’s “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy”
Ashleigh: There is just something about “The Anthem” that still resonates nearly 20 years later. Everyone wants their own identity, to make their own way and to stick it to the man. FOB is always catchy, fun to sing along with and full of wishful thinking, but “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy” doesn’t have the realities that “The Anthem” does.
Jess: Another rebellious, nonconformist Good Charlotte singalong, “The Anthem” has left the most lasting impression from their discography and handed a lot of concentrated success to their debut, The Young and the Hopeless. Only a year later, Fall Out Boy was just getting started with Take This to Your Grave, and “Grand Theft Autumn” artfully showcased what they had to offer in the pop-punk scene and beyond. It might be hard to defeat the Good Charlotte’s classic (I mean, it’s literally an anthem), but I also wouldn’t be surprised if FOB fanatics show up in droves.
Previewing the Round of 32: Wishful Thinking Way
(1) Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” vs. (8) Blink-182’s “Dammit”
Tim: We may have underseeded this Blink-182 cut, as “Dammit” dominated New Found Glory’s “All Downhill from Here” into a matchup with one of the genre’s long-standing classics. “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” is Fall Out Boy’s premiere offering from their heyday, while “Dammit” is juvenile Blink who would go on to write more thoughtful ruminations on adolescence. But something about the track’s cheeky internal rhyming continues to be endearing two-plus decades later. While “Sugar” is still the favorite, this is going to be a tight matchup.
Jess: No one can argue that “Dammit” is Blink-182’s most sophisticated work — nor can we claim that “Sugar We’re Goin’ Down” is carried by anything resembling refined lyricism. However, the latter is a slow burn that’s made a timeless imprint on culture; it was something to obsess over. It’s catchy enough to make it impossible not to sing along, which is pretty impressive for a song with lyrics no one can understand. For those with respect for the old sound of Blink, the fast-paced favorite will capture some votes. But ultimately, it’ll be surprising if Fall Out Boy doesn’t take the cake here.
(4) Taking Back Sunday’s “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” vs. (12) Allister’s “Somewhere on Fullerton”
Tim: Congratulations, Allister fans. Your dedication proves the worth of “Somewhere on Fullerton,” an often-overlooked genre classic that deserves every bit of recognition as the band’s peers. Fun fact: The place on Fullerton Avenue that the band refers to in the song is the Fireside Bowl, a Chicago bowling alley that hosted quite a few punk tours on the side during the ‘90s (I also went to a hardcore show there a few years back). “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” has an even more adamant fanbase and is going to be a much stingier battle than “Fat Lip.” But this all depends on who shows up to vote.
Adit: Allister fans did their job to carry “Somewhere on Fullerton” to an upset win against Sum 41 that even the band couldn’t predict. Taking Back Sunday’s legacy may give it an upper hand here, but if Allister fans show up again, then we may be in for a Cinderella run. That being said, “Somewhere on Fullerton” holds its own as a classic of the genre, and deserves to make its way as far as possible through the ringer.
(3) Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs” vs. (6) The All-American Rejects’ “Move Along”
Ashleigh: It’s really hard to contend between both of these mid-2000 classics. “Move Along” is that song that makes you feel empowered and encouraged to pick yourself back up again when things are hard. FOB is a force to be reckoned with, but All American Rejects’ “Move Along” resonates differently from “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” especially during these times.
Jess: Although Fall Out Boy’s mainstream hit saw a solid victory on the last matchup, something about “Move Along” really does resonate now more than ever — not only because of the message but also because we all may be feeling more nostalgic than usual. “Thnks fr th Mmrs” was a notable pivot point for FOB, but it simply isn’t quite as beloved as some of their more defining tracks. On The All American Rejects’ acclaimed album of the same title, “Move Along” was both defining for the band and undeniably lovable to fans everywhere.
(2) Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” vs. (7) Boys Like Girls’ “The Great Escape”
Adit: It’s hard to think that these songs came out only 8 years apart from one another, but the worlds they were born into differed greatly. “What’s My Age Again?” triggered a pop-punk boom cycle that Boys Like Girls managed to squeeze some success out of as the genre bubble popped. The game-changing nature of Blink’s classic will give it the dub here, but much respect to “The Great Escape” for being able to hold its own.
Jess: The silly self-deprecation of Blink-182 is perfectly exhibited in “What’s My Age Again?”, which, of course, claims the quotable truth, “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.” It’s a little low-energy compared to the electricity of “The Great Escape,” which opens with twinkling guitars and a punchy drum solo that sets the stage for intensity of the chorus. These two tunes have a totally different vibe, but Blink’s iconic could help them come out on top.
Previewing the Round of 32: Hopeless Romantic Hub
(1) Green Day’s “Basket Case” vs. (9) Fall Out Boy’s “Dance, Dance”
Tim: I wasn’t exactly surprised “Dance, Dance” destroyed “At Your Funeral,” but this continued a trend of multiple hits from the same album advancing (see also: Move Along, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, and Tell All Your Friends). You can’t bet against start power, and that’s what makes the next matchup for this Fall Out Boy single so intriguing. You’ve got two of the most cherished bands from the genre pitted against each other. It’s certainly going to be tough to topple one of the songs that made pop-punk a mainstream force, as “Basket Case” is simply that important.
Jess: To me, the main aspect that gives “Dance, Dance” its appeal is the instrumentation over the vocal melody: We’ve got the recognizable bass and snare drum intro, the heavy bass guitar entrance, the suspenseful tambourine shakes, then the vocals and guitar riff that build in volume and intensity before the breakdown. It’s a contagious track — but Green Day is unmatched in the pop-punk world, and “Basket Case” is one of their most lovable tracks with lyrics that mark a slightly more serious moment in the middle of Dookie.
(4) The Starting Line’s “The Best of Me” vs. (5) The All-American Rejects’ “Dirty Little Secret”
Ashleigh: While AAR were fairly popular prior to their 2005 sophomore album “Move Along,” “Dirty Little Secret” is what launched them into fame. Everyone was singing this song. So many of us have had that one secret love that we wanted to keep to ourselves that makes this song so powerful. However, there is something about the intimacy behind “The Best of Me” that makes me love this song. It’s tough to choose, but I think AAR is going to sneak right past the Starting Line in this match up like the Oklahoma boys they are.
Adit: “Dirty Little Secret” was the only 5-seed to not get upset in the first round, making for a very interesting bout here against a signature song for one of the genre’s most consistent groups. The All-American Rejects have had some ups and downs in their career since their first two records, but “Dirty Little Secret” and “Move Along” have held the legs to carry their legacy well beyond the walls of the pop-punk scene. That may put them well over the edge here, but I would personally pick The Starting Line here, any day.
(3) My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” vs. (6) New Found Glory’s “My Friends Over You”
Tim: Guitarist Chad Gilbert thought “It’s Been a Summer” was going to be the standout on New Found Glory’s Sticks and Stones. But it instead became “My Friends Over You,” with its bouncy riff, sweeping chorus, and adolescent hierarchy of relationships (we can all relate to the power struggle). My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” will always be in our hearts as the reason we fell in love with the band. But, with this lone New Found Glory song left, how can you not push them into the Sweet 16? It’s not as much what the better song is as it is what’s the more genre-defining song. “My Friends Over You” is absolutely seminal.
Adit: My Chemical Romance’s reunion has reminded us of how potent the band’s legacy has truly been. Stalwart fans of the genre are fully aware of New Found Glory’s substantial contributions to the scene, but “Helena” is just one of the MCR songs that have carried mainstream clout and nostalgia for the Hot Topic flavor of the scene as far as it has gone. I personally side with “My Friends Over You” in this battle, but the tight fight may come down to the fans who sold out the band’s (postponed) reunion tour within hours.
(2) Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” vs. (10) Mayday Parade’s “Jamie All Over”
Ashleigh: If any pop-punk songs scream “hopeless romantics,” it’s these two. These tracks, along with their music videos, take us along the protagonists’ journeys finding and keeping their loves. “Jamie All Over” was my ringtone for several years (back when that was a thing) and was the song that made me want to fall in love. But there’s something about “Ocean Avenue” continues that to win hearts to this day and shares the realities of love and heartbreak. Yellowcard has this one.
Fun fact: I somehow have an original version of “Jamie All Over.” I told this to Jason Lancaster several years ago at a Go Radio show, and he was astonished. He doesn’t even have a version of that recording.
Jess: Seriously, how is one supposed to choose between these two pillars of hopeless romanticism in pop-punk music? The sense of longing for someone in “Ocean Avenue” is moving, and the entirety of “Jamie All Over” is an agonizing plea for dreams to become a reality. As a former diehard Mayday Parade fan, anything from their first few records has my heart (and this time is no exception). That said, Yellowcard could very well take the victory fair and square, as this track hit the scene within the optimal window of time to achieve widespread, sustained popularity.