As 2018 comes to a close, many people and many music media outlets will turn their attention towards either a retrospective of great albums released that year or a prospective look at what’s to come next year. As we look toward 2019, it is essential to recognize the tenth-anniversary of some genuinely awesome albums, particularly from the pop-punk world.
Firstly, on May 15th, Green Day’s eighth studio album, 21st Century Breakdown will see its tenth birthday. When people think of rock operas, they generally look to Green Day’s seventh studio effort, American Idiot, as a prime example. 21st Century Breakdown took the idea of the rock opera to new heights, building on the expansive, stadium-rock sound that American Idiot had begun to explore and continued to create a more in-depth story. The story on 21st Century Breakdown was more fully fleshed out than its predecessor, focusing in on main characters Christian and Gloria as they watched society collapse around them. This album had everything: piano-driven ballads (“Last Night on Earth”), Latin-infused acoustic songs (“Peacemaker”), stadium rock anthems (“21st Century Breakdown”), and the classic, three-chord punk songs that Green Day built their legacy on (“Murder City” and “Know Your Enemy”). Overall, this album was Green Day’s most ambitious album yet, and the risk paid off. 21st Century Breakdown achieved Green Day’s highest charting album, reaching number one on the Billboard charts for a multitude of countries and won the Grammy for Best Rock Album.
Another pop-punk album turning ten in 2009 is Paramore’s Brand New Eyes. Praised as the band’s most mature effort up to that point, Brand New Eyes was one of Paramore’s most critically successful albums. Released by Fueled by Ramen records, this album was the last to feature Paramore’s original lineup and was marked by turmoil within the band. It was the first album in which vocalist Hayley Williams focused her lyrics on the issues she was dealing with at the time rather than merely look back on resolved issues. This showed a maturation in lyrics and themes for this album, solidifying itself as more of an alternative rock album rather than just pop punk as their previous albums had been. Brand New Eyes was generally well-received, debuting at No. 2 on Billboard and grabbing Kerrang’s Album of the Year award as well as a Grammy nomination for “The Only Exception.”
The third most crucial pop-punk album to reach a decade next year is Nothing Personal by Baltimore’s All Time Low. While this album was not nearly as commercially successful as the other albums on this list, it was a defining album for a new wave of pop-punk bands. Nothing Personal saw the group take a step further in the direction of pop rather than punk, with every song seeming to fit just as well as a Disney Channel theme song as it did at Warped Tour. Songs like “Weightless” and “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)” were upbeat, fun, and as infectious as they come. Nothing Personal charted at number 4 on Billboard, All Time Low’s most prominent success at that point. The album was met with generally positive reviews. The albums blend of pop perfection choruses and heavy-but-not-too-heavy guitars became the calling card for bands that would follow such as 5 Seconds of Summer and Neck Deep. Overall, this album was one of the high marks for a sound that would define pop-punk for many years to come.