Punktuation’s Tracey Moyle takes a look back at 22 punk albums that helped define 2002.
Punk in 2002 was as diverse as the musical soup the world was swimming in at the time. The Billboard top three songs of the year consisted of Rock, R&B and Rap. Punk, as usual, was not paying attention to the ‘popular kids’; it was just keeping its head down and doing its own thing.
Pop-punk bands were starting to find their feet alongside those with hardcore influences. Industry staples weren’t fading away either; they kept up with the new younger brats on the scene and showed the upstarts how punk music is played properly.
We have put together just some of the albums celebrating two decades of influence. How many of these do you have in your CD collection?
1. Die Toten Hosen – Auswärtsspiel
Release Date: January 21
2. Bad Religion – The Process of Belief
Release Date: January 22
Bad Religion’s twelfth studio album saw founder Brett Gurewitz return to the band after an eight-year hiatus. The Process of Belief was produced by vocalist Greg Graffin and Gurewitz and debuted at #49 on the Billboard 200 chart.
3. The Distillers- Sing Sing Death House
Release Date: January 25
Aussie born Brody Dalle fronts LA punks The Distillers. Sing Sing Death House was the bands second offering with critics at the time labelling the band ‘one to watch’. The album’s Seneca Falls refers to the first women’s rights convention, the Seneca Falls Convention, and landed a spot on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.
4. Joey Ramone – Don’t Worry About Me
Release Date: February 19
Don’t Worry About Me was released posthumously ten months after Joey Ramones death. The album channelled classic Ramones ’60s garage rock vibes with Joey’s popular cover of Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World, appearing as the end credit track for Michael Moore‘s film Bowling for Columbine later that year.
5. Finch – What It Is to Burn
Release Date: March 12
What It Is To Burn was the debut for Californian emo/punks Finch. The album is revered as a landmark release for the emo and post-hardcore scenes. The title track almost didn’t make the album, not even appearing on early copies of the CD. It was added after the band saw a positive reaction to it from fans. The very reason the song sits last on the tracklist and the previous song is called Ender.
6. Millencolin – Home From Home
Release Date: March 12th
Swedish ska/skate punks Millencolin wrote Home From Home while touring their previous smash album Pennybridge Pioneers. Prior to the album’s release, on February 2 the second track, Fingers Crossed, was made available for download after playing a game on the band’s website.
7. Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
Release Date: March March 19
Drunken Lullabies is the second offering from LA-based American-Irish Celtic punk band Flogging Molly. Cl ssic Irish folk/punk with a full ensemble including fiddle, tin whistle, accordion and mandolin belting out addictively danceable songs at a lively speed. The title track is another 2002 hit to be featured on the soundtrack of the video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.
8. Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls
Release Date: March March 19
Canadian power-pop punks Simple Plan debuted onto the scene with No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls, reaching out to a new generation of young misfits. Following in the footsteps of popular U.S. peers Good Charlotte, blink- 182 and New Found Glory their music revolved around being an outcast appealing to the latch-key kids at the time… and beyond. The debut track Just A Kid featured in films Grind, The New Guy and Cheaper By The Dozen.
9. Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends
Release Date: March 26
Post-hardcore/emo rockers Taking Back Sunday burst onto the scene in 2002 with their debut Tell All Your Friends. The album produced two singles Great Romances of the 20th Century and You’re So Last Summer. The track Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team) was never officially released as a single, a ‘Fight Club’ style video was produced and the song is still the bands most popular track to date.
10. The Queers – Pleasant Screams
Release Date: April 9
These New Hampshire punks were playing music while most of the previously listed bands were still playing hide and seek. (And the band is still releasing music today.) Their major influence pointing a big fat finger directly at the Ramones,(even the album title mimics the Ramones album Pleasant Dreams) The Queers were known for their proto/pop-punk sound and high energy live shows. Pleasant Screams was popular amongst their fanbase with the track See You Later Fuckface still their most popular song.
11. Strung Out – An American Paradox
Release Date: April 23
Fat Wreck Chords
An American Paradox is the fourth full-length album from Strung Out via Fat Wreck Chords. ‘Strung Out’ captures punk in every broad sense of the genre. Vocalist Jason Cruz displays his form of vocal gymnastics to perfection with his range taking songs from melodically pop-punk, to hardcore screams and metal growls. The band released a 2002 record that brought metal and punk into one frantic space.
12. Goldfinger – Open Your Eyes
Release Date: May 21
Open Your Eyes was the fourth offering from Goldfinger. The album was a step away from the upbeat pop-punk driven ska, fans were familiar with. Heavier, angrier and filled with intent, John Feldman produced an album that showed the fans a more thought-provoking side to Goldfinger.
13. Avril Lavigne – Let Go
Release Date: June 4
Whether 17-year-old Canadian Avil Lavigne intended to become a pop-punk princess in 2002 or not her debut Let Go certainly catapulted her into that world. Along with her debut hit Complicated, her second single Ska8er Boi sold over 1.8 million copies worldwide reaching a top ten position in over ten countries. After the release of Let Go, Lavigne quickly became the pop-punk inspiration millions of young girls were craving for at the time.
14. My Chemical Romance – I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love
Release Date: July 23
As he watched the horror of 9/11 unfold before him, Gerard Way made the decision to followed his dream and start a band. MCR’s debut album I Brought You My Bullets... was a raw and emotive concept album capturing a story of love, death, redemption and horror. Bringing together emotive post-punk with the energy of hardcore their debut album was the first step into an iconic emo/punk journey that fans around the globe will forever be grateful for. The track Skylines and Turnstiles were written shortly after the September 11 attack – an indication of how witnessing the World Trade Center towers fall influenced Way’s life and music.
15. Reel Big Fish – Cheer Up
Release Date: June 25
Cheer Up saw Reel Big Fish combine their popular ska sound with rock influences. The band’s typical upbeat feel throughout the album disguises a self-loathing within their lyrics. A smooth acapella cover of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York highlights the variety and talent the ska favourites are popular for. Trumpet player-guitarist-pianist-vocalist Scott Klopfenstein fronts the track Drunk Again giving the album more of a diverse tracklist.
16.No Use For A Name – Hard Rock Bottom
Release Date: June 18
Fat Wreck Chords
Hard Rock Bottom was album number six from Californian punk rockers No Use For A Name. The album’s release kicked off a year of heavy touring for the band with spots at the 2002 Warped Tour before embarking on a headlining tour around the U.S. The tour carried on throughout Canada and Europe over the next 12 months. The album was well-received by critics and remains a mainstay amongst fans especially since the untimely passing of vocalist Tony Sly in 2012.
17. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – A Jackknife To A Swan
Release Date: July 9
Album number seven for Boston ska-punks The Mighty Mighty Bosstones A Jackknife To A Swan is a reference to both the elegant Olympic high dive and the death of something beautiful. It was also the last album released by the group before their four-year hiatus between 2003 and 2007. The band took time out after a ten-year, constant touring schedule and to allow some members to spend time on side projects.
18. Against Me! – Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose
Release Date: July 23
No Idea Records
Reinventing Axl Rose was the debut release for Floridian punks Against Me! Fronted by founder, lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Laura Jane Grace. The album received critical acclaim, including Canadian magazine Exclaim! calling the album the “missing link between the Clash and Bob Dylan“. In 2012 Grace was one of the first highly visible punk rock musicians to come out as transgender.
19. Guttermouth – Gusto
Release Date: August 1
Huntington Beach pop-punks Guttermouth‘s seventh release, Gusto, wasn’t regarded as one of the highlights of their career. The album was the first with a new lineup. Although the band’s cheeky humour and sarcastic lyrics were on the spot, their sound ventured too far from home for fans to take on.
20. Authority Zero – A Passage In Time
Release Date: September 10
Authority Zero’s debut A Passage In Time was an assault on the musical senses with a mix of skate punk, rock and ska seasoned with Spanish and Portuguese influences. The album received mixed reviews from both critics and fans.
21. Good Charlotte – The Young and the Hopeless
Release Date: October 1
The Young And The Hopeless was pop punks Good Charlottes’ sophomore album, and although it received a mixed review from critics, it was a massive commercial success. The album’s single, The Anthem, became the band’s biggest hit.
22. Sum 41 – Does This Look Infected
Release Date: November 26
Canadian punks Sum 41’s second album, Does This Look Infected, took the band’s sound in a heavier, darker direction than their debut All Killer No Filler. The band left all their pop punk melodies behind for a hardcore/horror punk element (with a hint of hip-hop) and produced a killer album blending punk rock with metal elements.
More Punk Stories…
Everyone should have a soundtrack playing loudly in the background of their life. I was born moshing to my own beat and have never swayed from my love of music. Spreading my passion through the written word is my soul’s purpose. My punk heart beats loudly with the rhythm of my rock soul. I plan to continue to mosh like no one gives a shit.
Click on Tracey’s photo for more of her articles!