In an effort to dig deeper into the creative and personal influences behind new music, we recruit artists to tell us about five records that they consider "Essential" by any definition they like. Today, exuberant Toronto pop punks PUP share five(ish) albums that pissed off their parents and awoke their sense of beer-soaked rebellion.
As Millennials reach their golden mid-twenties, the nostalgia cycle shrinks ever-faster. Forget the old twenty-years-and-it's-retro rule; we want to celebrate the stuff from before we discovered irony, when we navigated the world of angst and frustration through the lens of pre-teen pop culture, and we want to do it in listicle form. You might think Toronto’s PUP abandoned that mindset when they dropped their cutesy Boy Meets World-referencing moniker, Topanga, but beneath their sweaty, beer-and-blood-soaked exuberance and larynx-shredding pop punk hooks is a very real enthusiasm for the music of their gangly, formative youth.
Read some reviews of PUP’s brand new self-titled debut, out now on Royal Mountain, and you’ll see a laundry list of hip “band to watch” references: The Clash, early Weezer, maybe even Tokyo Police Club. But if you’ve ever seen the band lead an audience in a rousing, clear-eyed Gob cover or extol their love of Big Shiny Tunes 2, you’ll know they aren’t aiming for any of-the-moment, blog-friendly zeitgeist. And if that doesn’t convince you, this edition of Essential Albums will.
PUP drummer Zack Mykula walks us through the albums that first roused the band’s angry, Disney-era rebellion, and in the process becomes the first musician to big-up Limp Bizkit on Chart Attack. Here are PUP's Five Essential Albums Parents Just Don’t Understand.
Dr. Dre, The Chronic 2001 (1999)
When it comes down to it, this was the first non-bubblegum, teeny-bopping radio schlock that we were introduced to. It stands as a proud representative, luring poseur tweens into the seedy underworld of gangstas and hip-hop. Not only this, but it was also the mark of maturity for a new hip-hop acolyte to move from Eminem up to the likes of Dr. Dre. And this album has really stood the test of time. This was our first plunge into music that parents didn’t approve of, especially due to its glorification of violence, drug abuse, and crime. But we loved it. Also, “Forgot About Dre” is an impressive karaoke move.
Limp Bizkit, Three Dollar Bill, Y'all $ (1997) / Significant Other (1999) / Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (2000)
What’s the point of separating them? Even If you took the best tracks from all three, you still wouldn’t have enough for a full-length “greatest hits.” But so what? It’s classic. Three Dollar Bill had a George Michael cover. Significant Other had a song about VJs and another about breaking your fucking face tonight. Chocolate Starfish had a track where Durst says “fuck” about 50 times. What’s not to like? We might add that our producer, Dave Schiffman, engineered the latest Limp Bizkit record (Gold Cobra). We may also add that Dave is impenetrably cool. So, the beauty of this is that it gave us something to make fun of him about.
NOFX, So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes (1997)
[Guitarist] Steve [Sladkowski] didn’t even buy this record. He downloaded it from Napster, and burned select tracks to a mix CD. How O.G. Internet is that? Anyway, one day sitting in the car on the QEW with his dad, Steve decided to give his new mix CD a spin. Fatefully, “Drugs Are Good" queued up. When the chorus hit, the CD was ejected from the player, and then ejected out of the car window by Len “Big L” Sladkowski: “I don’t ever want to hear that fucking song ever again.” The grand irony is that years later, Steve discovered that his parents also secretly loved drugs. And that makes them cool, right?
Kid Rock, Devil Without a Cause (1998)
Not even a great record. But when [basssit] Nestor [Chumak] brought it home one day and his parents were nonplussed... to put it lightly. Consequently, this was after going to pick up Three Dollar Bill, Y’all at HMV and seeing the Kid Rock section right next to it. Nestor's dad saw the middle finger on the disc face and immediately admonished him. "Why do you spend your money on this crap?" We say that it’s because, clearly, our generation appreciates true art.
Blink 182, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)
There are definitely Blink records that have stood the test of time. This is not one of them. But sometimes when you are young, and like to pretend you are a skate punk, you just need all the Blink 182 records. And sometimes, it makes your parents mad. Shortly after picking up the special green cover edition, [lead singer] Stef [Babcock] was listening to a bonus cut entitled “When You Fucked Grandpa”, and his parents, finding for some reason that they were disgusted by its themes, decided to intervene. While he was too old to be forbidden from listening to certain kinds of music (he was in Grade 8), they told him that he had better listen to it in headphones, or else they would destroy the CD. The best part is that they were completely oblivious to the title of the record.