The inclusive future of pop punk

At 18, Olivia Rodrigo has already had several lives. First Disney muse, then pro-vaccine ambassador to the White House, here she is champion of adolescent malaise, all guitars outside. “I’m sick of being 17 / Where’s that fucking ‘teenage dream’? / If someone still tells me to ‘enjoy my youth’, I’m going to cry”, she sings with indomitable pride in the song Brutal.

His album Sour, released this summer, rose to number one on the charts in twelve countries. Better still: Olivia Rodrigo broke the record for popstar-in-chief Taylor Swift, placing eight songs at once in the top 10 streaming platforms.

It is not the only one to reinvigorate pop punk, a genre that was thought to be lost in the twists and turns of the early 2000s, largely dominated by hip-hop since. In the wake of Olivia Rodrigo, we find Willow Smith, Will’s daughter, but also, more surprisingly, rappers like Machine Gun Kelly and Young Thug, and a whole generation of tiktokers who (re) discover the power of guitars . Even Justin Bieber tried a rock foray with the track Anyone.

Ideal outlet in the face of uncertain times

So what, nostalgia effect ? Not only. Anxiety over the Covid-19 pandemic has brought this highly cathartic genre back to the fore. With its dazzling progressions, explosive choruses, and youthful fury, pop punk is the ideal outlet in uncertain times.

“Who still wants to see 50-year-old guys on stage? Music needs to resemble its time. »Victoria Arfi, co-founder of Salut Les Zikettes

Born in Southern California in the late 1990s, a sunny offspring of yesteryear punk, the genre represents the epitome of middle-class adolescence. It covers both romantic rejection, parental divorce, fear of the future, compulsive masturbation and the potential invasion of aliens. The mind American Pie, in short, sensitive and schoolboy at the same time.

It is for example the members of the group Blink-182 who run naked in the streets of Los Angeles, those of Sum 41 who organize diving competitions, or the New Found Glory who squat the colorful motels of San Diego. Baptized “Roller punk” for its proximity to the skate culture, it is practiced in baggy and XXL t-shirt, with the right amount of tartan and kohl pattern under the eyes, the haggard look of teenagers as a bonus.

Where the groups of the 2000s were predominantly male and entangled in a macho culture, the new wave intends to go beyond this single point of view. “Who still wants to see 50-year-old guys on stage? Music needs to resemble its time ”, pointe Victoria Arfi, co-founder of the Salut Les Zikettes music workshops, aimed at women and non-binary people.

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