The almost unrecognisable photos of Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley in the press recently served as a sharp reminder that the second wave of punk-pop actually occurred much longer ago than you might have thought. Indeed, twelve years have passed since its heyday, the kind of timegap which suggests that a mini-revival is due any minute now. It might already be underway. Named after Wheatus’ biggest hit, a Teenage Dirtbags compilation topped the UK charts last month, while Avril Lavigne’s last single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up,” might as well have been titled “Complicated Part 2.” While several of the sound’s biggest hitters are unlikely to receive a glowing career reappraisal (hello Bowling For Soup!), the late 90s/early 00s movement did produce at least a handful of genuinely great singles that deserve to be given another lease of life. Here’s a look at five of the best.
The Bloodhound Gang – “The Bad Touch”
Even by the scene’s rather low standards, The Bloodhound Gang were considered as perhaps a touch too crude. This ode to the kind of mating habits you’d find on the Discovery Channel is undeniably juvenile. But buried beneath its stream of sexual metaphors, there’s an equally ridiculous yet utterly addictive production which borrowed from ’80s synth-pop long before it was fashionable to do so.
Alien Ant Farm – “Movies”
Their nu-metal take on “Smooth Criminal” lost its appeal after a few listens but the brilliantly buoyant follow-up single “Movies” suggested, extremely briefly, that there was more to the band than novelty covers of Michael Jackson classics.
Sum 41 – “Fatlip”
A full-throttle celebration of rebelliousness which revelled in the band’s ‘lower middle class brat’ status, “Fatlip” is a thrilling mix of Beastie Boys-esque rap, thunderous hard rock and pogo-inducing skate punk, which unlike many of Sum 41’s peers, didn’t even try to take itself seriously.
Crazy Town – “Butterfly”
One of the ’00s ultimate one-hit wonders, heavily tattooed L.A. natives Crazy Town gave the scene its first and only US chart-topper with this chilled slice of rap-rock, although admittedly take away the inspired Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar sample and there isn’t much to it.
A – “Nothing”
The UK never really tried to compete with their US cousins when it came to punk-pop until ‘boyband with guitars’ outfits Busted and McFly came along. A frontman Jason Perry would later work with the latter, but it was on this 1999 breakthrough single that he first showcased his knack of blending explosive guitar riffs with soaring pop melodies.