50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums

From Blink-182 to the Buzzcocks, we count down the best of punk's most lovable, lovelorn offshoot

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Green Day, 'Kerplunk' (1991)
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29/50

29. Green Day, 'Kerplunk' (1991)

Kerplunk is the purest distillation of Green Day: three bratty, listless punks on the verge of their twenties with too much energy and an ADD-driven range of pet frustrations and passions. The album was the band's second shot at a full-length, and first to feature Tré Cool on drums (he also wrote and sang the blissfully silly rockabilly tribute to BDSM, "Dominated Love Slave"). Across the board, the Lookout Records–released LP sums up what makes pop-punk such a unique melting pot of a genre, combining the toughness of classic punk with the tender delivery and subject matter of late-Eighties college rock. On album opener "2000 Light Years Away," Billie Joe Armstrong pines for a long-distance love, while later he questions "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" on a semi-reflective Catcher in the Rye–inspired tune. Fittingly, the band covered the Who's classic "My Generation" as a bonus track, signifying the new era Green Day would usher in. Lookout founder Larry Livermore has said he had to hound Green Day for a full album before being presented with Kerplunk. "I thought it would do well," he said in an interview celebrating the LP's 25th anniversary. "As it turned out, though, Kerplunk sold out its first pressing of 10,000 copies the same day it was released. At the time it was by far our biggest launch ever. By far." B.S.

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