After the Party is a Pop Punk Compilation
In 1994, bands like Green Day, the Offspring, and Weezer burst out of the punk scene in California with rock music that combined the structure of late 70s punk rock with the melodies and polish of pop music. For the next decade and a half, pop punk artists in the same vein were a consistent backdrop in the lives of young teenagers. Never deemed to be particularly sophisticated artistically, artists like Blink 182, Third Eye Blind, and Bowling for Soup nevertheless played a huge role in the soundscape of the late 90s and early 2000s.* This genre of music was my introduction to finding music on my own. Growing up in a relatively affluent, relatively white suburb, simple, angsty music by nasally white guys was the best genre for me to relate to. Thus, when I heard The Menzingers’ After the Party earlier this year, I immediately heard the bands that I grew up with.
After the Party is a great album. It’s fun and fast while also diversifying its sound just enough from song to song as to not feel monotonous. It’s the subtlety in each song that makes me associate each track with a different pop punk band. Without further ado, here’s a track by track overview, relating each song to the band who could’ve written it.
Sounds like: Early Green Day
The base line sounds like Mike Dirnt’s playing style. Plus, the line “4 chords and I love you no more” pretty much sums up Green Day’s early catalogue.
“Thick as Thieves”
Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls
The title of the song is a cliche, the guitar riff is basic and catchy, and the lyrics laughably sound like the narrator is trying to be a badass..
Sounds Like: The Gaslight Anthem
It’s a nostalgic anthem that mentions New Jersey. If it doesn’t sound like Springsteen, then it probably sounds like Springsteen’s biggest punk fans.
Sounds Like: Bowling for Soup
This one was tough, but I settled on Bowling for Soup because it’s whiney and mentions geography a lot (think “Ohio (Come Back to Texas)”).
Sounds Like: A Tom Blink 182 song
This fast pop song features power chords and vastly overstates the consequences of teenage love.
“House on Fire”
Sounds Like: A New Found Glory
First, the vocals on the song definitely sound like NFG. It’s a melodramatic, emo pop track song about an unspecified “you,” that’s filled with cliches that I’m not sure the group completely understands.
Sounds Like: My Chemical Romance
This comparison is entirely based on the name of the song. For a more realistic take, it sounds like mid-period Green Day. See what I wrote about “Livin’ Ain’t Easy”
Sounds like: A New Found Glory
See my description of “House on Fire”
Sounds Like: Good Charlotte
Part of the similarity is due to the title, which might be a more Good Charlotte title than any of their actual songs. Beyond that, it’s a smartaass teenage pop punk song.
“Your Wild Years”
Sounds Like: A Mark blink182 song
It’s a song that, like Mark’s songs, constantly struggles between depth and shallowness (“Boxes labeled your former youth” or “I got drunk in the afternoon with your father in the living room”). It’s also has prominent bass line like “Adam’s Song” or “What’s My Age Again?”.
Sounds Like: Weezer
This song inspired me to write this post. The raw power chords that threaten to overpower the nasally vocals sound like “My Name is Jonas.” The guitars are simultaneously raw & complex, while the vocals are strained without being unpleasant.
“After the Party”
Sounds Like: Rise Against
It’s melodic and hardcore, complete with a reference to hardcore punk icons Minor Threat. “After the Party” represented the hardest rocking part of the album, and it definitely could have been recorded by the most hardcore mainstream rock act of the past decade.
“Livin’ Ain’t Easy”
Sounds Like: Mid-period Green Day
It’s slow and echoing, yet still full of pop sensibilities. Check on “Warning” or “Macy’s Day Parade” for a point of comparison.
*”All the Small Things,” “Semi-Charmed Life,” and “1985” sound like the the late 90s, early aughts, and mid-aughts in the same way that “Closer” will one day sound like 2016. They’re not the best songs of that year, but they’re songs that remind you of that year. I’d be shocked if they aren’t all played my friends’ weddings.