Let the madness begin: Pop-Punk May Madness kicks off tomorrow! We’re ready to find out the truth: What is the best pop-punk song of all-time? To aid in our pursuit, we’ve announced a bracket of 64 songs, which we will play out to one single champion! (See the full bracket and fill out one of your own here).
Now that the field of 64 is set, get ready to vote! Starting Monday, you’ll be able to vote on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your favorites in 32 matchups across four regions. 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. Then, we’ll tally the votes and announce who’s moving on on Friday.
Before the first round voting begins, our staff takes a look at each matchup and shares their thoughts on which songs deserve to advance — considering their influence, lasting power, catchiness, and more.
Previewing the Round of 64: Power Chord Paradise
(1) Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” vs. (16) Sugarcult’s “Stuck in America”
Ashleigh Lee: Both of these bands are famous for their guitar riffs and catchy cords. Everyone knows the instant “All the Small Things” comes on and the karaoke party begins. Sugarcult’s “Stuck in America” doesn’t quite leave the impression that Blink does.
Jessica Heim-Brouwer: “All the Small Things” might feature bar chords that a beginner guitarist would aspire to learn — versus the slightly more agile chord progressions of “Stuck in America.” Although it’s by no means my favorite Blink-182 song, what else could compare to its lasting impression on pop culture? The former may prevail due to its popularity, but most of us can’t deny we’re feeling a bit “stuck in America” right now, too.
(8) Good Charlotte’s “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” vs. (9) American Hi-Fi’s “Flavor of the Weak”
Tim Dodderidge: “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” isn’t the catchiest song on Good Charlotte’s The Young and The Hopeless, but it’s still a bop. On the other hand, how can you not pick a song that rhymes “stoned” with “Nintendo?” This one’s a toss-up (after all, it is an #8 vs. #9), but I’m leaning towards “Flavor of the Weak.”
Adit Ahmed: Good Charlotte may have some big name recognition to back up their legacy, but American Hi-Fi’s contribution to the pop-punk canon is hard to ignore. This 2001 one-hit wonder captures a slice of one of the most important years of the genre, and must be given the respect it’s earned.
(5) New Found Glory’s “Hit or Miss” vs. (12) Taking Back Sunday’s “You’re So Last Summer”
Adit: It’s easy to recognize that these are cuts from essential pop-punk records, but New Found Glory’s resounding legacy in this scene started with “Hit or Miss.” The song, record, and band weaved their way through most bands that have made their mark in pop-punk, and that makes it an easy lock to move on here.
Tim: It’s hard to go against “Hit or Miss,” because it’s the perfect introduction to one of the staple pop-punk bands of all-time. Yet, everything about “You’re So Last Summer” is invigorating: the metaphoric lyrics, the sing-along chorus, the raw production. Some of it is my adoration for Tell All Your Friends, but I’m picking the upset.
(4) Paramore’s “Misery Business vs. (13) The Wonder Years’ “My Last Semester”
Ashleigh: “Misery Business” and “My Last Semester” encompass so much emotion and angst that come with the late 2000s/early 2010s. Both of these songs can be belted out at any moment, but Paramore thrives on a whole different level of intensity and pop-punk. Hayley and the rest of the crew have this matchup.
Adit: These songs capture the essence of two very different eras in the genre. Paramore used their song to help close out the Hot Topic era, while The Wonder Years helped ring in the Defend Pop-Punk era a few years later. “Misery Business” may not be the band’s crown jewel, but Paramore’s continued success started here and flies high because of it.
(6) My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” vs. (11) Green Day’s “When I Come Around”
Tim: My Chemical Romance made it acceptable to feel our feelings with “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).” As a mental health anthem, it was ahead of its time. “When I Come Around” may only be the third-best song on Dookie, but it’s super bouncy, and the music video of Green Day roaming the streets of San Fran is iconic. It’s a tough call, but you can’t beat MCR.
Jess: This one is tricky. I think a lot of it will depend on whether people prefer the relative lightheartedness of Green Day compared to the dark sheen of My Chemical Romance. “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” was ahead of its time and aged pretty well, as openness regarding mental health has become more acceptable over the years. On the other hand, “When I Come Around” is such a catchy, classic headbanger and a perfect encapsulation of Green Day’s Dookie era.
(3) Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” vs. (14) Set Your Goals’ “The Few That Remain“
Tim: I can’t think of a more instantly likable pop-punk song (or a better snapshot of the ‘90s) than “My Own Worst Enemy.” It’s an absolute sugar rush that ignites sing-alongs whenever it’s played. Hayley Williams’ rapping in “The Few That Remain” is great but not enough. My vote is with Lit.
Ashleigh: Both of these songs immediately get a crowd excited. There’s intensity and passion behind both choices, but there’s something about “My Own Worst Enemy” that resonates with listeners across all generations, makes this song the perfect addition to the soundtrack of your life.
(7) Blink-182’s “First Date” vs. (10) Bowling for Soup’s “1985”
Ashleigh: Blink 182’s “First Date” has one of the best music videos from the 2000s. It is 100 percent Blink and doesn’t shy away from being weird and entertaining. The song is so catchy and actually really sweet down to its core, encompassing the feelings of two people on their first date. My vote is for Blink.
Jess: Both of these tracks have my heart! Between Travis Barker’s lightning-speed drum solo intro in “First Date” and the goofy, falsetto vocal harmony that opens “1985,” there’s a lot to love. Just one of many Blink-182 songs played at a hernia-inducing tempo, it really captures the feeling of full-blown anxiety before meeting someone new. That said, there’s something so nostalgic and palpable about “1985,” you just can’t help but sing along.
(2) Panic! At The Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” vs. (15) Midtown’s “Like a Movie”
Jess: For those who were unfamiliar with the band, Panic! At the Disco’s breakout single will always be remembered as a somewhat confounding and disorienting hit (with its awkwardly edited radio clean version). The track, as a emo-pop and punk-rock fusion, became quickly beloved to many — with an undeniable charisma that reels you in from the eerie repetition of the plucked cello from the very start. Will it hold up against the pure pop-punk elements of “Like a Movie?”
Adit: It’s easy to pick Panic! here, but let’s acknowledge the tough fight that Midtown gives them. This song was one of the defining Drive-Thru tracks of 2002, and its sunny New Jersey charm reflects the genre’s right coast charisma in countless ways. Panic! may have their popular legacy that gets them to victory, but Midtown holds steady with the vibes that make pop-punk what it is to so many.
Previewing the Round of 64: Catchy Chorus Central
(1) Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” vs. (16) The Academy Is…’s “About a Girl”
Ashleigh: Everything about Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” resonates with listeners of all ages. The guitar riffs, the chorus, and the meaning of the song have stood true for nearly 20 years. The Academy Is… made a mark during their time but fell off the radar a while ago. Jimmy has this one.
Jess: The catchiness and cheeriness (if not cheesiness) of “The Middle” gives it more of a lasting impression than “About a Girl.” But the latter is lamenting that bittersweet pang of adoration for someone who doesn’t even notice. It’s an effort to fend off vulnerability, yet the chorus still tugs at the heartstrings. The Academy Is… won me over on this matchup, but it’ll be tough to see whether it can surpass an absolute classic from its time.
(8) A Day to Remember’s “The Downfall of Us All” vs. (9) Something Corporate’s “Punk Rock Princess”
Adit: The battle between going heavy and staying sensitive is an underrated one in the pop-punk scene, and this matchup is a prime example of that. As much as my middle school nostalgia needs me to side with Andrew McMahon and the Drive-Thru Class of 2002, I recognize that it’s a tough battle against one the contemporary pop-punk kings. “The Downfall of Us All” deserves a dub for propelling one of the genre’s standard bearers to the top in what would become a tough time for the scene late in the 2010s.
Tim: A Day to Remember is known for their genre-bending style, which encapsulates both pop-punk and metalcore, but the former is a big part of their identity and their legacy (and at the end of the day, the side they do better). “The Downfall of Us All” is their defining track just as “Punk Rock Princess” is for Something Corporate, but the difference is that McMahon went on to bigger and better things.
(5) We the Kings’ “Check Yes, Juliet” vs. (12) Simple Plan’s “I’d Do Anything”
Jess: There’s just something about hearing, “Run baby, run” kick off the chorus of “Check Yes, Juliet” that reels you back into this tune every time. Plus, the Shakespearian allusions are nothing short of poetic and romantic. “I’d Do Anything” expresses a similar longing to leave everything behind for love and never look back, but We the Kings packs more of a punch than Simple Plan in this matchup.
Adit: These bands mimic each other as the second-tier talents of their respective eras. Simple Plan’s advantage here comes from the bigger wave they rode in pop-punk’s heyday, but “Check Yes Juliet” inherited that legacy as best they could with mall emo losing its momentum. When it’s all said and done, the cult status of that track for a younger generation stands taller than another chip in the bag of the early 2000s heyday.
(4) All Time Low’s “Dear Maria, Count Me In” vs. (13) Motion City Soundtrack’s “Everything Is Alright”
Ashleigh: This one is tough! Motion City Soundtrack’s “Everything is Alright” is a mental health anthem that reassures that everything is fine (really, it will be). However, All Time Low became famous on “Dear Maria, Count Me In,” which skyrocketed them to the pop punk scene on their first full0length. As much as it saddens me not to pick Motion City, ATL will take this one.
Jess: All Time Low’s release of “Dear Maria” was nothing short of an all-time high. From the get-go, this track grabs your attention with a preview of its iconic chorus within its first moments before setting up the first verse. Then, somehow, the chorus gets catchier each time around. Notably, “Everything Is Alright” has its equally catchy and vocal-straining moments that make you want to yell along in your car like no one’s watching. However, you can count me into Club ATL on this one.
(6) Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” vs. (11) The Story So Far’s “Quicksand”
Jess: While “Sk8er Boi” carries a tune and storyline that feels light as air, “Quicksand” is a proper contrast with sonic elements that hit hard, like a metaphorical bag of sand. What Avril Lavigne brought to the scene at this time was cool and refreshing — not only with this track but also the entirety of Let Go as well as her follow-up record. The tame tinge of rebellion of “Sk8er Boi” was empowering to girls of all ages (and perhaps inadvertently planted the seed to my short-lived childhood skateboarding career, too).
Adit: This matchup puts two songs on opposite ends of the genre up against each other. Flannel pop-punk purists may side with one of the defining bands of the era, but it’s hard to deny Avril Lavigne the respect she deserves for adding a whole new layer to the genre with “Sk8er Boi.” The female guitar pop of the early 2000s is hard to beat, and “Sk8er Boi” brought a pop-punk edge that Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson, and more soon brought to the sound.
(3) Sum 41’s “In Too Deep” vs. (14) State Champs’ “Elevated”
Tim: Oh, what I would’ve given to be one of the poolside extras in the “In Too Deep” music video. It’s a moment in time for the pop-punk genre, exploring the fun and mischievous adolescence of the genre that propelled Sum 41 to stardom in the early 2000s. “Elevated” has a great opening riff, but “In Too Deep” is catchier and more memorable.
Adit: Like the 6-11 showdown, this is another duel of eras. State Champs prove themselves with early career bops like “Elevated”, but it’s a pretty tough cake to bake against one of the genre’s classics. Sum 41’s contribution to pop-punk is open-and-shut with this track and the album it’s on. Closing out one of the essential pop punk movies in American Pie 2 says about all I need to hear to give the nod to “In Too Deep.”
(7) Fall Out Boy’s “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy” vs. (10) SR-71’s “Right Now”
Tim: “Right Now” is somewhat of a one-hit-wonder for SR-71 (though they did write the “1985” song that Bowling for Soup would make big). It’s got a fantastic chorus, but it’s no “Grand Theft Autumn.” This Fall Out Boy track proved that they had the superb songwriting and commercial appeal to go places. It’s still a career defining work for a larger-than-life band that wrote many more hits afterward.
Ashleigh: I love the grit and rawness of SR-71’s “Right Now.” It’s catchy and so upbeat, but I think all the FOB fans will come through on this one. There’s more notoriety behind this song, which has stood strong for nearly 20 years.
(2) Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem” vs. (15) Four Year Strong’s “Bada Bing! Wit a Pipe!”
Tim: I’m a big Four Year Strong fan, and “Bada Bing! Wit a Pipe!” may just be the best song from the easycore subgenre of the late 2000s. Unfortunately, it’s no contest against a song with the lasting impact of “The Anthem.” Still Good Charlotte’s best-known track, the hit song was everywhere following its release in 2002, from radio stations to video game soundtracks. The fact that it hasn’t gotten annoying after so much mass exposure is further proof of its greatness.
Ashleigh: Good Charlotte was my introduction to the scene, and “The Anthem” was literally my anthem. Four Year Strong has always (and always will be) extremely fun to listen to. Both of these songs come from such different times, but I think GC has this one. “The Anthem” holds true to the monotony of life and not conforming to expectations society expects.
Previewing the Round of 64: Wishful Thinking Way
(1) Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” vs. (16) The Ataris’ “In This Diary”
Tim: I love the story behind “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” Fall Out Boy went against all conventions of a pop hit, making the song too wordy and too sophisticated to top charts. But none of that mattered, because it was so darn catchy you could throw any words into the chorus and make it work. In fact, Patrick Stump intentionally slurred his words to make it sound better. Now, it’s certified Platinum. The Ataris can’t compete with that.
Ashleigh: As much as I love the Ataris, it’s so hard to compete with the popularity of “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” This song took the world by storm and did not apologize for anything it took in its wake. It still captures the pop-punk spirit that Fall Out Boy fans hold so dear.
(8) Blink-182’s “Dammit” vs. (9) New Found Glory’s “All Downhill from Here”
Ashleigh: These are two songs that tell such a good story about what happens after the end of a relationship. I love the up-beat tempo of NFG’s “All Downhill from Here,” but I think that Blink’s “Dammit” hits a bit harder when the chorus comes around because it faces the harsh reality of growing up. Blink should come out ahead on this one.
Adit: These tracks pit two of the genre’s seminal bands against each other with some of their harder-leaning tracks (relatively speaking). “Dammit” may have been an essential launching pad to Blink’s top-tier status in the genre, but the potent, pointed legacy of Catalyst and its lead single on the genre is underrated. This song captured the infectious melodies that defined New Found Glory and Hot Topic pop-punk, while building the first blocks of the easycore that brewed in the underground for years to come.
(5) Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” vs. (12) Allister’s “Somewhere on Fullerton”
Jess: Sum 41 is wishing for a lot of large-scale societal change in “Fat Lip” — and what’s more punk-rock than that? Whereas “Somewhere on Fullerton” is an account of personal longing, the non-conformist spirit of Sum 41 bred a rebellious track that made us realize that maybe we’re all victims to the system, too.
Adit: This is a fight between two sides of the pop-punk heyday, pitting Sum 41’s commercially minded smash hit with a cult classic of the Drive-Thru scene. Allister packs a lot more to the fight than you might expect, but “Fat Lip” is a time capsule of pop-punk and Durstism that captures the entirety of 2001 pretty well. It may not be a pop-punk icon like “In Too Deep,” but the fact that it isn’t really underscores the story behind one of the genre’s peak years.
(4) Taking Back Sunday’s “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” vs. (13) Knuckle Puck’s “Pretense”
Tim: It’s a battle of the green album covers in this matchup (as well as two different decades and eras of pop-punk). It’s been neat to see Knuckle Puck gain traction behind a super passionate fanbase. But I can’t see teenagers scream along to “Pretense” like they have “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)” for the past 18 years. That’s because Taking Back Sunday’s greatest hit is the epitome of teen angst, and no other song comes close.
Ashleigh: “Cute Without the ‘E’” is such a dynamic song that still holds up today. Telling the tale of lost loves and friendships is something that TBS does so well and gets away with the pettiness because it’s so damn catchy and angsty. Knuckle Puck’s “Pretense” doesn’t quite capture the sentiments of this category as much as TBS does.
(6) The All-American Rejects’ “Move Along” vs. (11) The Wonder Years’ “Passing Through a Screen Door”
Tim: If I had a dollar for every time I heard “Move Along” on the radio growing up, I would already be retired. Not only did it have a sweeping hook on its side, but it also had an inspirational message for kids to latch onto. But as a standout from an entire decade of pop-punk, “Passing Through a Screen Door” is far more poignant and gripping with its theme of aging. I will be yelling the bridge for years to come (yes, past my 26th birthday).
Adit: Shoutout to all the Bioncle fans who helped build the “Move Along” legacy. It’s hard to ignore how the song’s legacy is somewhat eternal to fans of the scene, and that makes it a tough fight against one of the defining tracks of the 2010s. The Wonder Years may stand the test of time to a certain swath of the scene, but“Move Along” holds strong beyond it, giving it a dub here.
(3) Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs” vs. (14) Cartel’s “Say Anything (Else)”
Adit: It’s hard to pit one of the scene’s biggest bands against one of its defining cult favorites. Fall Out Boy struck the gold combo of mainstream success and songwriting strength in their career, with “Thnks fr th Mmrs” representing the bridge between their pop-punk roots and superstar status. Cartel’s sound never aligned with the popular brevity of the time, but “Say Anything (Else)” kicked off a solid catalog for the band that came out at the wrong time for the scene and is still worth diving.
Jess: Despite Cartel’s “Say Anything (Else)” falling short of mainstream popularity, “Thnks fr th Mmrs” was also a dropping-off point for some fans married to Fall Out Boy’s previous release. Still, the way it excited current FOB fans and brought new ones aboard was a significant point along the pop-punk timeline.
(7) Boys Like Girls’ “The Great Escape” vs. (10) Relient K’s “Be My Escape”
Jess: At the core of my love for pop-punk music are these two songs. Relient K is always easy on the ears, and I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for the vulnerable lyrics and elegant instrumentation of “Be My Escape” over the years. Boys Like Girls’ “The Great Escape,” however, has an edge that really showcases the energy and depth contained in their debut self-titled album.
Tim: I’m a Relient K fanboy, and I’m proud of it. They were one of the bands that got me into music as an insecure Christian kid, and I can’t think of a better group to transition me into the world of pop-punk. “Be My Escape” still brings me joy to listen to, from Matt Thiessen’s vocals and piano playing to the messages of grace and faith that come across as anything but trite. “The Great Escape” has an amazing hook, but “Be My Escape” is a more teeming and rounded hit that still sounds just as fresh as an adult.
(2) Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” vs. (15) Every Avenue’s “Tell Me I’m a Wreck”
Jess: This matchup all comes down to how amused you are by Blink-182’s antics (which, for me, is very). “What’s My Age Again?” is iconic for its self-deprecation and Mark Hoppus’ monotone vocals to match. Every Avenue’s “Tell Me I’m a Wreck” is admittedly catchier in other ways, like its more dynamic chorus and vocals.
Ashleigh: This is such a hard matchup. Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again” is iconic and stands the test of time. Hell, it’s every 23-year-old’s anthem. But, Every Avenue’s “Tell Me I’m a Wreck” is such an underrated song about being true to yourself. Both are great candidates for the Wishful Thinking category. However, I think Blink still wins this one since this song is still recognized across multiple generations.
Previewing the Round of 64: Hopeless Romantic Hub
(1) Green Day’s “Basket Case” vs. (16) The Dangerous Summer’s “Where I Want to Be”
Tim: Green Day has accomplished a lot in their career, perhaps more than any other band in this bracket. But everything points back to “Basket Case,” which made us realize this was not merely a great punk band but an artist with all-time songwriting talents. Billie Joe Armstrong, who outlines his struggles with anxiety in the song, helped take the trio to soaring heights because of this chart-topping hit, and it’s one of the best songs from the ‘90s from any genre. The Dangerous Summer is simply overmatched.
Adit: Dookie is known as the record that broke the genre, and it’s hard for The Dangerous Summer to hold up here. TDS may be one of the icons of underrated “pop-punk for adults” (Posi-pop-punk? Post pop-punk?) bands (along with Valencia), but Green Day’s legacy is far more substantial than that. “Basket Case” started it all, and it’s hard to push back against that.
(8) Saves the Day’s “At Your Funeral” vs. (9) Fall Out Boy’s “Dance, Dance”
Tim: Saves the Day laid a lot of the groundwork for the emo/pop-punk movement that took the mainstream by storm in the 2000s. For that, Fall Out Boy owes them a lot. So while “Dance, Dance” may have made more of a cultural imprint (including a spot in the Madden soundtrack), “At Your Funeral” is an influential whirlwind of vivid imagery and catchy lyrics that deserves much more credit and praise. As much as we adore Fall Out Boy, let’s give Saves the Day this matchup.
Ashleigh: Saves the Day is such an underrated band. There’s so much heart and sincerity behind “At Your Funeral” that makes it so easy to belt out. FOB is catchy and exciting, but it’s much easier to sing along to “At Your Funeral than “Dance, Dance.” The latter does have a catchy chorus, but that can only take you so far.
(5) The All-American Rejects’ “Dirty Little Secret” vs. (12) The Offspring’s “Self Esteem”
Jess: If “Self Esteem” has the edge, “Dirty Little Secret” has the hook. The Offspring paved the way for future artists with loud, commanding rock arrangements that, well…rock. But on The All-American Rejects’ acclaimed Move Along, Tyson Ritter’s vocal performances are something to behold all the way through. As a bonus, the band’s impressive ability to really put the “pop” in pop-punk also tossed a dash of angst into the hit radio mix at the time. This matchup might boil down to a battle of nostalgic generations.
Tim: The Offspring is more remembered as a punk band than a pop-punk band, but they helped establish pop-punk as a legitimate sound in the mid-’90s with loud guitars and big hooks on songs like “Self Esteem.” “Dirty Little Secret,” on the other hand, is practically a pop song with its simplistic groove and sing-song chorus. Trying to decide which is the better pop-punk song, then, is difficult. The All-American Rejects wrote a more memorable song, though, so they’re my pick.
(4) The Starting Line’s “The Best of Me” vs. (13) Bayside’s “Devotion and Desire”
Ashleigh: Bayside’s “Devotion and Desire” is full of grit and honesty. It’s a love letter from the heartbroken to the heartbreaker. But as much as it pains me to say, I think that The Starting Line has this one. “The Best of Me” evokes the sentiments of a hopefulness that love can be found again.
Adit: I am a sucker for EA Sports soundtracks, but I am also pretty committed to the Drive-Thru Class of 2002. The Starting Line pulled no punches in defining their iconic status within the front half of their debut full-length, and “The Best of Me” is core to that legacy. Bayside and its devoted fans deserve the best, but it’s hard to overcome what Drive-Thru had to offer in 2002.
(6) New Found Glory’s “My Friends Over You” vs. (11) Paramore’s “That’s What You Get”
Ashleigh: “That’s What You Get” is a cautionary tale of listening to your head instead of your heart. “My Friends Over You” is the perfect “f you” song. Both songs reiterate staying true to yourself, but I see NFG coming out ahead on this one simply because no one should have to pick between friendship and love.
Adit: I am one of the countless New Found Glory fans who found their way in with “My Friends Over You.” That song will continue to breed fans of the band and pop-punk for years to come, just as it did for me, almost a decade after it first came out. One of the scene’s defining songs has a stronger standing against a choice cut from a super strongest record in Riot!, but shoutout to “That’s What You Get” for being a bop.
(3) My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” vs. (14) All Time Low’s “Weightless”
Ashleigh: My Chemical Romance fans will follow “Helena” to the end of the earth, and I love how haunting this song (and album opener) is. All Time Low have a way of capturing feelings of uncertainty and wanting to belong to the moment. “Weightless” does just that and resonates on a deeper level than “Helena.”
Jess: These two tracks conjure very different yet comparable feelings: regret and self-hatred versus a sense of hopeful self-defiance. Both are a powerful release of pent-up emotions, but “Helena” might have the upper hand when it comes to staying power — and it marked only the beginning of My Chemical Romance’s success with Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. On the other hand, All Time Low are pros at picking melodies, and “Weightless” is no exception.
(7) Green Day’s “Welcome to Paradise” vs. (10) Mayday Parade’s “Jamie All Over”
Jess: Billie Joe Armstrong has always effortlessly played the role of a rough-around-the-edges, deadbeat punk. “Welcome to Paradise” captures his witty sarcasm in the true fashion of early Green Day, complete with some of Tré Cool’s slickest drum fills. Yet it’s hard to deny Mayday Parade as a pop-punk hero of hopeless romanticism, with “Jamie All Over” as the pillar. The entire song is a heart-wrenching plea for one’s dreams about someone to become a reality.
Tim: Once the opening riff to “Welcome to Paradise” plays out, it’s on. It’s catchy, it’s aggressive, and it’s one of my personal favorite moments from early Green Day. Mayday Parade didn’t put out any stratospheric hits, but “Jamie All Over” perfectly embodies a band we will never get back, with Derek Sanders and Jason Lancaster trading lines about picture-perfect love. While “Welcome to Paradise” is one of many stellar hits from Dookie, I’m going with “Jamie All Over” for sentimental reasons.
(2) Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” vs. (15) The Maine’s “Everything I Ask For”
Jess: The sense of longing in “Ocean Avenue” is hard to beat, as is the feeling of hopelessness. It tells a clear story of love and heartbreak, whereas “Everything I Ask For” is a bit more laidback and self-deprecating. It’d be hard not to give Yellowcard the attention they deserve and have earned here.
Adit: Ocean Avenue may not be one of Yellowcard’s top records (yes, hot take here), but the album’s title track is absolutely essential to the band’s legacy. The band’s most substantial taste of mainstream success comes from a good place, and makes it the clear favorite here. Of course, much credit here to The Maine, whose strongest beats have come (and will continue to come) with every record after its Fearless era.