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What is Posi Pop-Punk?

Updated on October 27, 2013

As you could imagine, the word "posi" is just a shortened version of positive. Posi pop-punk is a term used for pop-punk bands that frequent positivism in their music. While positivism is usually a theme in many songs of the genre, bands that focus more on staying positive and perserving through life's hard times have their own niche called posi pop-punk.

These bands can cover a range of themes in their music, from breakups to depression (an often sung about topic), but the overall message is usually to hold your head up and keep on going. This is what sets them aside from other pop-punk bands.

If you'd like to read about the pop-punk music scene as a whole, then you can do so by clicking on this link. Otherwise, carry on.

Misconceptions on Positivism

Many people who are new to posi pop-punk often take the idea of staying positive the wrong way, assuming the music is ultimately telling you be happy and that there's no point in being sad, gaining an "I'm-not-sad-because-I-listen-to-this-music" outlook. This cannot be farther from the truth as that is not what it's trying to influence, plus it can easily upset and irritate fans of posi pop-punk. Instead, posi pop-punk is trying to help you get through your problems and understand that yes, things might suck or that there's probably 100 different things wrong, but you're stronger than that and you can persevere. In short, looking for the bright side to every dark situation is the ultimate goal of posi pop-punk.

Posi Pop-Punk Bands

There are quite a few posi pop-punk bands but there are a few that are well known and the most focused on. Here is a list of a small number of them and what they're best known for.

The Wonder Years

Most likely the biggest band in the posi pop-punk scene, The Wonder Years is best known for covering the topics of depression and generally being strung out in their music. Though this may be the case, they also turn around and offer up inspiration in perseverance to these issues, refusing to stay down and promising to get better. Their frontman and main lyricist, Dan "Soupy" Campbell, is a notable figure in posi pop-punk because of his work with the band -- most of the issues in the songs he's written are personal as he's dealt/is dealing with depression, and despite this he still keeps a positive outlook on life.

Soupy of The Wonder Years doing a posi jump
Soupy of The Wonder Years doing a posi jump | Source

Four Year Strong

Unlike The Wonder Years, Four Year Strong focused more on perseverance in general instead of being down and out at first. With a "Rise or Die" theme to most of their songs and often covering the topics of unity and calling people out when they're in the wrong, they're a favorite among posi pop-punk fans.

Set Your Goals

Set Your Goals is unique in the fact that they don't have one, but two lead vocalists, and that they hail from the west coast (which is unusual as most bands that fit into the pop-punk/easycore genre are from the New England area where the hardcore scene is a dominant one). Their debut album, Mutiny! (2006), is often regarded as a staple posi pop-punk album and their song Summer Jam is a well known feel good song in the genre.

Man Overboard

Best known for their "DEFEND POP PUNK" slogan which can be found plastered on a numerous amount of merchandise and is pretty much drilled into the heads of every fan of the scene. Because of this propaganda, they've built up a large reputation in pop-punk and is usually compared to The Wonder Years in terms of notoriety.

Posi Hardcore

Just like there is posi pop-punk, there is also posi hardcore (sometimes shortened to posicore or posi-core) which focuses on anti-violence, community, values, and staying true to yourself. Other themes that may be often covered are anti-drug and alcohol use (straight edge), vegan or vegetarianism, and feminism. Posi hardcore bands sometimes mixes pop-punk into their music which make them harder to label, though not always.

Some well known posi hardcore bands

  • Have Heart
  • Stick to Your Guns
  • H2O (sometimes regarded as a youth crew band)
  • Bane
  • Champion
  • Verse
  • Comeback Kid

Another term that is almost identical to posi hardcore is youth crew, which is a subgenre in the early hardcore music scene that's distinguished for being optimistic and usually straight edge and vegetarians/vegans. It's important to not mix these two names up though. Think of it this way: Youth crew bands were more early to mid 80s (Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits) while posi hardcore bands are more mid 90s and after. Youth crew bands are also viewed as "original" hardcore bands, being the ones that influenced the upcoming pop-punk and newer hardcore scene.

Youth crew bands shouldn't be confused with tough guy hardcore bands.


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    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 

      8 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Hi Magician - I'd never heard of posi pop-punk, and I'm glad to know its out there. I'm from about 2 generations before punk, but it's great to know that there are people out there working to encourage strength in today's world. I especially like the hard core - kind of Pete Seeger's grandkids, I guess?

      I'd love to see an article with some posi punks lyrics, and maybe even music clips.

      Keep rockin'!


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