Nothing To Prove - Pop Punk Destroyed My Life (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Nothing To Prove

Pop Punk Destroyed My Life (2011)


Pop Punk Destroyed My Life is kind of a funny name for a band who essentially represent the whole "Defend Pop Punk" type movement. They have all the trappings of a hardcore band: their name is more than likely an H2O reference, they have "hardcore" font all over their bandcamp and their EP cover has them representing their home state, yet they play pop-punk. I think a more fitting title would have been Hardcore Destroyed My Life but that's just me.

"You're My Boy Blue!" is exactly the point where pop-punk and hardcore meeting becomes a bad idea, when you take equal parts Bowling For Soup and equal parts Bane and write a song. It's specifically located in the place where TRL-ready vocals (remember TRL?) and melodic hardcore guitar parts arrive at the double bass drumming, guttural growls and breakdowns. The only word that can accurately describe the feeling of listening to this song is awkward, like finding out the person you just made out with is a distant cousin. Pop-punk and hardcore actually share much closer relations but listening to this you'd have no idea. "Twenty One" somehow manages to fit even more bad ideas into a single song as Nothing To Prove randomly throw in some synth with their breakdowns and guttural growls. It isn't even integrated into the songwriting either, it just kind of shows up in the intro and either disappears or gets buried in the mix. It leaves me asking, "Why would someone do this?"

Structurally, Pop Punk Destroyed My Life is frustrating because it's bookended by its two best songs. "Here It Goes" is a generic NFG-style jam; both that song and the title track show some measure of talent. The reason why "Pop Punk Destroyed My Life" works so well is that there is some hardcore riffing but there is no uninspired double bass drumming or useless breakdowns. The usually horrid growling vocals are quiet enough in the hook that you can forget they are there at all. Instead of tossing in a hardcore breakdown to change up the pop-punk song structure, "Pop Punk Destroyed My Life" has a neat little poppy breakdown that reminds me of Weezer.

Nothing To Prove have made some mistakes that are forgivable only because this is their first release. If you can't get enough of popcore, the title track is probably worth a purchase but you can get the rest of Pop Punk Destroyed My Life done better elsewhere. This is exactly the type of release rookie bands should release on their bandcamp for free, because at this point getting more people to hear their records can only help them improve.