music

11 Nostalgic Pop Rock Songs From Our Teen Days

September 17, 2019

Photo by Curtis Potvin on Unsplash

Lindsay Wong

Back in my early teen days, I was an avid fan of the boys of homegrown band 5 Seconds of Summer. Falling in love with them and their music exposed me to a whole new genre of music that made me feel empowered:

~ Pop rock ~

I loved the guitar riffs, low bass lines, intense drumming and raw vocals of this genre. At one point in your teenage life, you’ve probably had some of these songs on your iPod playlists. When I’m in a particularly nostalgic mood, I give these songs and artists a listen:

1. Take What You Want – ONE OK ROCK ft. 5 Seconds of Summer

I grew up in Japan so I knew about ONE OK ROCK before they began singing in English. This collaboration between the two bands will leave you speechless, especially Taka’s effortless high notes. It’s a heartbreaking song that displays their raw vocals in the best way. When I heard this song performed live at ONE OK ROCK’s Ambitions world tour in Singapore, I didn’t even realise I was crying until tears were rolling down my face. The emotion conveyed in this song is hard to describe.

2. Something’s Gotta Give – All Time Low

To this day, the All Time Low set at the only music festival I’ve been to – Summer Sonic 2015 – remains one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had. This song is about self-doubt and searching for hope, which is something that we can all probably relate to. One lyric, in particular, has always stood out to me – “I’m dying to live.”

3. Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

Do I even need to say a word about this song? ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ is one of the most classic songs from this genre. It’s basically the definition of musical genius. The legendary piano intro that is gradually accompanied by drums and guitar just leads into an iconic song that encompasses so many different styles of music.

4. This is Gospel – Panic! At the Disco

It’s kind of sad that people know this song mostly because it has become a meme, with the chorus’ lyrics being “if you love me let me go”. There is so much more to this song that people don’t know. The low and steady beat at the beginning, as well as Brendon Urie’s melodic vocals, makes for a song that is perfect to belt out in the shower.

5. Dance, Dance – Fall Out Boy

Not only is ‘Dance, Dance’ one of the perfect songs to, well, dance to, but it’s such a fun song to headbang to. This song is full of angst, and teenage angst is something that we have all experienced. Even the instrumentals during the bridge sound “angry” in a weird way.

6. 21 Guns – Green Day

Green Day has so many great hits as one of the top rock and roll groups in history, but ’21 Guns’ is definitely my personal favourite song (although ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ comes close). This is a more slow-paced song that really makes you feel – both the instrumental and the lyrics are emotional.

7. If It Means a Lot to You – A Day to Remember ft. Sierra Kay

This lovely duet starts off like a sweet love song, with the acoustic guitar playing beautifully in the background. But what I love most about this song is its progression towards the end. During the bridge, when you think the song gets slower, there is actually a build-up of the instrumentals. The last chorus sounds like an anthem as it features many voices singing together.

8. Social Casualty – 5 Seconds of Summer

One thing I love about this particular genre of music is that the songs are not only about love and sex, like mainstream and overplayed pop – a large proportion of the songs are about going against society’s expectations. ‘Social Casualty’ is about being a victim of authorities and accepting one’s place as an anomaly in society. But, it’s still an upbeat song with melodic vocals.

9. Check Yes Juliet – We The Kings

Also considered a classic of this genre, ‘Check Yes Juliet’ is the perfect song about a blossoming love and running away to be together. The upbeat nature of the song enforces the hopefulness in the lyrics and makes this a great song to sing during a karaoke session.

10. Drown – Bring Me the Horizon

‘Drown’ is another song that is both upbeat yet slow-paced at times. It’s angsty, which is demonstrated by the raw emotion in Oliver Sykes’s voice. It’ll definitely make you feel a range of emotions.

11. Yours Sincerely, I Believed – Forever Ends Here

5SOS aren’t the only Aussies on this list – this band also has its origins in Sydney. ‘Yours Sincerely, I Believed’ will make you want to cry, but not necessarily because it’s sad – more because it’s a song that makes you feel like you have achieved a lot or you’re proud of yourself. There’s even a motivational and uplifting talking bit during the bridge. Also, I would like to end this article on a good note instead of something particularly angsty.

By the way, all these songs are featured in my ‘pop punk royalty’ Spotify playlist, so give it a listen here.