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Pop-Punk’s Not Dead—Here’s What These Pop Punk Powerhouses are Doing in 2019

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

All right, Her Campus, I hope you still have your eyeliner and hair straighteners laying around because pop-punk is finally making its comeback. 2019 has been an awesome year for pop-punk music, and there are a ton of cool bands out there who continue to prove that this genre is far from dead. While these new artists are doing so much to keep pop-punk alive, some of the biggest contributors to the resurgence of this genre are the bands of the so-called “emo trinity”— Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and My Chemical Romance. These bands were wildly popular in the early 2000s, hence the silly fandom nickname, but after MCR broke up in 2013, Fall Out Boy went on hiatus in 2010 and came back in 2013 with a drastically different sound, and the original members of Panic! At The Disco split in 2009, it appeared as if the golden era for these bands was definitely passing. However, this year made it clear that that’s far from the case. As Fall Out Boy and Panic! started releasing music and picking up traction again, it became clear that old pop-punk fans were stirring in their graves a bit, but no one was prepared for the My Chemical Romance reunion announcement that jump-started this genre. So, I hope you’re ready to darken your clothes and strike a violent pose y’all—here’s what your favorite emo bands are doing in 2019.  

Fall Out Boy

While Fall Out Boy has technically been back from the dead since 2013, 2019 has been a super eventful year for this band. Though the year saw a rough start, with the band getting sued by a puppet company for overusing the llamas from their “Young and Menace” music video, they absolutely rocked the pop-punk world after announcing a tour with Green Day and Weezer on September 10, 2019. No one expected these three powerhouse bands to play a show together, and fans everywhere (myself included) are eagerly awaiting those 2020 tour dates. Additionally, Fall Out Boy released a single titled “Dear Future Self (Hands Up)” featuring Wyclef Jean shortly after the announcement of the tour, and they will be releasing a second compilation album on November 15th. With the radio time their singles on their last few albums have gotten (Think “Irresistible,” “Centuries,” “Immortals,” “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” “Alone Together,” etc.), as well as the hype from this tour, Fall Out Boy is undeniably still relevant in 2019.

Panic! At The Disco

2019 saw the tail end of Panic’s “Pray for the Wicked” tour, a wildly successful album that launched them again into the mainstream. Brendon Urie also collaborated with Taylor Swift on a single and music video titled “ME!” this year. From the single with Taylor, to his time performing in Kinky Boots, to his success with this album, Brendon Urie has been carving a serious name for himself that transcends the pop-punk fame he had achieved with Panic! At the Disco. Although this “band” now only consists of Brendon Urie, and Panic!’s sound has changed drastically since the loss of its ex-lyricist Ryan Ross in 2009, Brendon has managed quite well in keeping this pop-punk classic relevant despite its rocky timeline.

My Chemical Romance

The loss of My Chemical Romance in 2013 was a devastating blow for pop-punk fans, inspiring memes about piano g notes for years to come. The first stir we saw in this presumably dead band was in 2016 with the announcement of a compilation album titled “The Black Parade/Living With Ghosts.” After releasing a cryptic trailer and deleting their original breakup announcement, fans were certain that a reunion announcement was on its way, but the album was the extent of the new content, and the band clarified that they were not expecting such a strong reaction and would definitely not be touring. Another reunion rumor started spreading after Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers stated in an interview that he had seen My Chemical Romance rehearsing together in June of 2019. Some fans began to speculate again until Frank Iero, MCR’s guitarist, brutally shut the rumors down in a video, roasting Joe multiple times in the process. In a wild turn of events, however, it turned out that Joe Jonas knew what he was talking about and had actually almost spoiled the reunion (sorry Joe, you were right). 

On October 31, 2019, My Chemical Romance suddenly announced that they will be playing a reunion show on December 20th in Los Angeles, causing absolute chaos in the pop-punk world. This long-awaited reunion announcement hit old and new pop-punk fans alike and was clearly very well-received, as tickets to the show sold out in under five minutes. In the weeks following that announcement, it is yet to be determined what’s next for MCR. Will we be getting any new music, a reunion tour maybe? Who knows, but I’m wildly excited to be experiencing the resurrection of My Chemical Romance, regardless of what comes next. 

With the timeless appeal of emo music, it’s no big surprise that fans are still drawn to these pop-punk classics. Many present-day rappers and hip-hop artists have cited bands like these as their biggest influences, and new pop-punk artists are continually reshaping and diversifying the genre today. These voices are certainly not fading from modern music, even as the nature of their popularity is changing. As Leah Mandel puts  it:

“There is something about the rage, pain, and despondency in this particular vein of emo and pop punk music that is speaking to an entire generation. When these bands were first coming out, they had huge followings, but weren’t exactly taken seriously. This revival wave proves their influence was stronger than anyone thought. And, as with any generation, the kids take what was misunderstood from their youth, and reinvent it — as if to say, ‘We’re right.’”

We can make as many memes about the “emo trinity” as we want, but the truth is that these three bands have had a much larger influence on modern music than we often give them credit for. Now that they are finally making music at the same time for the first time in nearly a decade, and are able to play off each other in a music scene that has increasingly defied genre rules and changed quite a bit since their early 2000’s fame, old and new pop punk fans alike are anxiously waiting to see what comes next.  

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Jules is a junior at Boston University studying English with a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her hobbies include drinking too much iced coffee (even in Boston winters), going to concerts, tap dancing, and creative writing. Find her on insta @jules.bulafka !
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.