Sugar, We’re Goin’... Up?: The resurgence of emo and pop punk

The genre that saw its biggest rise in the early 2000s is making a comeback.

To some, the emo and pop punk genres of music have been on the decline for upwards of a decade now.

After peaking and being most notably known in the mid-2000s, plenty of genres tied around the emo, punk, and grunge scenes were seeing less and less traction each year from 2010 onward, including more recently into 2023.

The decline is so noticeable because of just how popular the genres once were.

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My Chemical Romance’s hit song “Welcome to the Black Parade” peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day peaked at number two in 2004. Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” peaked at number five in 2002.

When looking at the 2010s though, the drop can easily be seen by those same groups.

My Chemical Romance peaked at number 58 in 2011, Green Day peaked at 97 in 2012, and Jimmy Eat World never again made it into the top 100 after 2005.

This phenomenon and decline are inevitable for nearly every genre at some time or another though, with history showing natural declines for disco, blues, jazz, and more throughout the years.

The targeted age demographic most impacted by the emo and pop punk genres in the 2000s though, now on their way to becoming the prevalent age group in modern societies, may help them to be an exception.

The genre that had hit its all time low, may now be ready to make its long return.

“There’s always something cooking and there’s always bands who are off the beaten path who will do something different,” said London music figurehead Mario Circelli. “The scene has actually ebbed and flowed over the last 100 years.”

Circelli is an expert on the national music scene, particularly when it comes to local content. He is the founder of the Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) and, when it comes to emo and punk in particular, he created a documentary around the genre in 2003 titled Stinkin’ Out the Joint.

He’s been very vocal and proud about the growth of the genre as well as the increase in local talent in the city.

“It’s so satisfying and enjoyable, I think that we’ve got world class musicians here. London has always been a place of music,” Circelli said.

“Going back to some of the Indigenous bands to Guy Lombardo, Canada’s first bona fide pop star. The music scene has been simmering here in southwestern Ontario ever since.”

In both London and the rest of the world, the emo and pop punk genres are growing.

Hit groups like Green Day are back releasing news songs including a full album on the way, set to release in January. Rumours have begun to spread about the return of My Chemical Romance as well after some recent teases from group members.

In London, groups such as Trash Puppets and Full Throttle are catching the local eye, further contributing to the comeback of the once impactful genre.

“We have some of the best bands and musicians in the country. Folks that would be at home on any stage anywhere in the world. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

Whether it be nostalgia or the progression of music tastes, the return of a once beloved genre is sure to make plenty in both London and the world excited.

The case of whether it will succeed in the long-term or fizzle out a second time, remains to be seen.