This week is the 15th anniversary of Fall Out Boy’s sophomore record, From Under the Cork Tree. Whoaaa, feeling old yet guys? The record basically catapulted the emo-pop punk four-piece into superstars. Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman combined cathartic riffs that were so prevalent at the time with emotionally charged songwriting into a critically acclaimed record that we still admire in 2020. And let’s not forget those ridiculously long song titles too!
Since From Under the Cork Tree‘s release, pop punk has become quite attached to the emo culture with a plethora of bands launching careers with a similarly fresh musical aesthetic. While Fall Out Boy themselves have ventured off into predominantly pop territories, there are still a vast majority of bands working their magic in continuing what Fall Out Boy created. While no record or band will replace From Under the Cork Tree (that’s a fact given how hard putting together this list was!) we came across 15 bands who are doing their utmost best in keeping emo pop punk alive over the years and even today.
Upcoming Melbourne emo/rock outfit Reside are the newest band on this list and with their soaring riffs and melodies, their spot is pretty deserving. While their music provides us with hints of a variety of styles, these guys certainly have a Fall Out Boy “Sugar We’re Goin’ Down” vibe going for them, that’s for sure!
#14 Boys of Fall
This US pop/rock outfit are building momentum with their unique blend of pop and alternative/post-hardcore, similarly to the path Fall Out Boy feigned on tracks like ‘I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Song Written About Me’ (phew!) and future records. Like their heroes though, Boys of Fall clearly aren’t afraid to step outside the square and experiment to evolve their sound.
#13 Nautical Mile
Perth four-piece Nautical Mile are front runners in western Australian pop punk. Their debut album, The Only Way is Through, showcases a vast range of styles, simulating influences from A Day To Remember to All Time Low, and we sure hope we haven’t seen the last of Nautical Mile. Their heartfelt, emotional lyrics, blended with punchy, post-hardcore punk reminds us of when Fall Out Boy penned the OG vampire anthem, ‘A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me’. It’s safe to say I think we all wanted a little more Pete Wentz in his guyliner back then.
Upcoming US band Broadside are working hard to ensure they’re a name worth screaming for in the future. While these guys are yet to really hit it off with Australian fans, the band’s cathartic, punchy riffs in tracks like ‘Paradise’ and their newest single ‘Foolish Believer’ have struck us with all the right chords. Much like Fall Out Boy did with ‘Of All The Gin Joints in the World’, Broadside continue to show their potential.
These guys were mentored by Good Charlotte’s Joel & Benji Madden, but that only goes to show even more that like Fall Out Boy, Waterparks have their musical goals set pretty high. Their hit song ‘Stupid For You’ is as infectious as ‘Dance Dance’ and with every album release, Waterparks continue to surprise us. That’s a pretty Fall Out Boy thing to do, am I right? Better watch what happens next with this ever-evolving act…
They may have just made this list because their debut EP, Our Place Or Our Pace is still fresh on our minds, but to hell with it. PSTCRDS’ track ‘Change & Grow’ kinda gives off the same energy and vibes that we felt the first time we heard ‘Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued’ in 2005. Hopefully the PSTCRDS boys didn’t have to deal with any legal matters in naming their song though.
#9 Every Avenue
They were quite poppier than Fall Out Boy back then, but their heartfelt lyrics and enjoyable songs were pretty infectious back in 2008-09. Every Avenue were the underdogs with their emo pop tendencies, something that Fall Out Boy mastered on songs later on with ‘I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off’. But ‘I’ve Got A Dark Alley And A Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth’ was the OG cheeky love song.
#8 Boys Like Girls
Boys Like Girls followed Fall Out Boy hot off the heels of the release of From Under the Cork Tree with their 2006 self-titled debut with songs like ‘The Great Escape’ giving us a longing for summertime hangs with our friends. Like Pete Wentz’s highly publicised relationship with Ashlee Simpson, the Boys Like Girls lads are also no strangers to hanging out with famous friends, from Ashley Tisdale to Taylor Swift. Their positively, uplifting outlook on vulnerable moments in life were awe-inspiring and have become the soundtrack to everyone’s summers since their existence.
#7 Eat Your Heart Out
Australia’s Eat Your Heart Out are pretty hellbent on making a name for themselves in overseas markets, and being signed to Fearless Records helps. Their grungey antics definitely sets them apart from their Australian peers and their latest album, Florescence saw the band tighten their sound even more. Their passion in their music is akin to what we felt from Fall Out Boy during From Under the Cork Tree, and I think the best is still yet to come from this young Newcastle act!
#6 Grenade Jumper
This Sydney pop punk act are new on the scene and it’s pretty clear to see that they’re in love with Fall Out Boy. If it wasn’t obvious that their name was taken from the band’s record prior to From Under the Cork Tree, but we won’t hold that against them. Their upbeat, positive energy is infectious as fuck, and their youthful sound is going to be something to keep a close eye on this year.
#5 Sleep On It
Chicago pop punk hasn’t been on fire since the days of early Fall Out Boy. These days though, the midwestern US city is on the verge of exploding with musical talent, and leading the pack here is Sleep On It. This emotionally charged four-piece have so far released two full-length records, with their most recent album Pride & Disaster proof that these boys are working their way up the ranks as leaders in the genre. Frontman Zech Pluister sings his absolute heart out every song, with the same amount of passion we saw Fall Out Boy vocalist Patrick Stump uphold on tracks like ‘Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner’. No one’s putting Sleep On It in the corner, that’s for sure.
#4 You Me At Six
You Me At Six appeared way back in 2009, pummelling their way into our lives with an edgy post-hardcore touch to their sound. Over the course of three records, this five-piece kinda ignited the UK pop punk community in a new light and won us over with ‘Save It For The Bedroom’, ‘Underdog’ and who can forget that collab with Oli Sykes? While their more recent stuff is something 2020 Fall Out Boy would be hella proud of, it’s records like Sinners Never Sleep that make us want to share “champagne with our real friends, and real pain for our sham friends”.
#3 Mayday Parade
If there’s a band that can match Fall Out Boy’s capacity to write a song title that’s a mouthful (besides Panic! At the Disco), it’s Mayday Parade. When this Florida quintet dropped their debut in 2007, it pulled at all our emo heartstrings. From ‘Miserable At Best’ to ‘Jamie’s All Over’, Derek Sanders has a voice as iconic as Patrick Stump, and we all need that in our lives for the perfect love anthem. Mayday Parade’s ability to pull emotional, uplifting choruses throughout their songs is why we love them so. Coz you know, we’re all just Kids in Love.
#2 State Champs
State Champs have spent the last decade spreading their youthful aggressiveness literally ‘Around the World and Back’, in hopes of spreading emotional yet uplifting lyrics to new audiences. And with three stellar albums under their belt, they’re doing pretty well for themselves. They’ve got a huge bout of spark and tongue-in-cheek in them that was ever so evident when Fall Out Boy were young themselves. Like the explosively infectious riffs on ‘7 Minutes in Heaven’, you don’t need to take Atavan Halen to know that State Champs are leading the pack in today’s pop punk scene.
#1 All Time Low
It’s no surprise that these guys are taking out our top spot. All Time Low burst onto the scene only two years after the release of From Under the Cork Tree, and really gave Fall Out Boy a run for their money. Since then, they’ve churned out a total of seven records, with each album showing the band’s progression musically. They’ve experimented with pop sounds, but ultimately never strayed too far from their OG roots.
Like Fall Out Boy did with their dancefloor anthem, ‘Dance Dance’ in 2005, it’s pretty obvious to see that All Time Low aren’t slowing down anytime soon, having just released their new album, Wake Up Sunshine. This four-piece are just as much thought leaders as Fall Out Boy themselves; they’ve begun a new revolution for the genre and inspiring younger bands to follow suit. One day we’ll even have a look at how an album like So Wrong It’s Right is a pop punk legacy, but that’s another story!
Words By Tamara May (@citylightstam)