Pop-punk bands aren’t too fond of their hometowns. It’s almost a cliche at this point, as much as songs about friends: But how did this particular trend become such a staple within the genre? Bands like A Day To Remember and Fall Out Boy are far from the first to express their desire to be somewhere else It’s been a well-worn theme in pop music
since forever. To run away. To escape.
To not be where one is presently. The first artist to capture this feeling
of locational disconnect is Bruce Springsteen
on his 1975 album, Born to Run. These songs embody his undying need for freedom, from all the bad decisions he’s made, the school he’s endured,
his parents and their working-class existences. The answer to these hurdles simply being “the road”. This theme appears often in Bon Jovi’s
aspirational blue-collar anthems But pop-punk also takes from this in a big way. Bowling For Soup even make the same comparison in Punk Rock 101: Some of the key sub-genre protagonists followed the same path, wanting a fresh start for themselves and their best girl. Songs like We The Kings’ Check Yes Juliet echo the misguided early positivity of Shakespearean romantic tragedies willfully ignoring the fact that it doesn’t end well for Romeo and his Juliet. This makes sense as these bands generally exist on a heightened set of emotions. That teenage feeling where everything is live or die. As a culture the American dream and
manifest destiny instills American pop-punks with the positive god-given belief
that the grass is greener somewhere else The vast size and sheer diversity of the
continental United States, the American obsession with automobiles and Kerouac’s romantic notion of “The Road” makes it feel like anywhere would be better
than where they are right now. It may be naively flawed logic but at least it’s motivated. Compare this to British pop-punk bands and their lack of similar escapism. Maybe it’s just that everywhere here is
comparable shit and depressing but getting in your car and moving away isn’t gonna solve anything See Buzzcocks’ Boredom
or Neck Deep’s I Couldn’t Wait to Leave 6 Months Ago They may hate it but they are resigned to endure this status quo with no motivation for relocation. Pop punk is associated with sunshine and good times, so if Britain is all rainy, demotivating and boring you’d think that somewhere sunny and coastal would be awesome and no one would ever want to leave. Apparently not the case.
It must suck to live in Florida. Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue is one of the most obvious examples in this little sub-genre, with its: Where are they from? Originally Jacksonville, Florida before actually leaving and moving to Los Angeles Sure that’s one band.
It can’t be that bad. But Less Than Jake also hate their native place of Gainesville, Florida as illustrated in Look What Happened And the whole of Hello Rockview seems
linked by the theme of wanting out. From the Last One Out of Liberty City through History Of A Boring Town to Al’s War New Found Glory: also wanting to get out.
Also from Florida. We The Kings, A Day To Remember,
guess where they’re from? As much as pop punkers want to go out
their hometown due to boredom and the romantic notions of better oftentimes they just
want to not turn out like their parents with their safe suburban existences. Take a listen to Suburban Home by the Descendents and its sarcastic barbs Or 90s pop punks Screeching Weasel Green Day’s Welcome To Paradise tells
a semi-autobiographical story of Billie Joe moving out of his parents house to
live in a warehouse squat. This story is told in grander scale as
the nine minute long Jesus of Suburbia. As safe as Green Day seem nowadays, they did
live in a derelict house for several months pre-fame. That’s real punk rock. Pop punk as its heart is a less abrasive, sunnier take on Punk’s anti-establishment hostility. When you compare Boys Like Girls poppiest of punk… to the self-immolation of Big Black’s Kerosene the former doesn’t feel as drastic. The contrast makes the poppier
songs feel almost like an avoidance technique though admittedly a positive thinking one or at worst running away from home
as an adolescent cry for help. So in conclusion:
why do they want to go? A sense of growing up,
leaving with your best girl, compounded by the all-American brand of big dreams and short-sighted thinking. In many ways these bands actually starts as a motivated attempt to leave their hometown. Touring means travel, means living a more exciting life, even if only fleetingly. Hating their hometown is the first step
and their way to making a positive change