Remember the 2000s pop punk wave?
Bad hair dye, low-riding cargo shorts, and edgy MTV music videos all but defined an entire generation of defiant teens. Though many of us know every Blink 182 or Green Day song, few seem to speak of the sub-genre that briefly dominated the scene known as…easycore.
The name may be unfamiliar to some, but it would be nearly impossible to be a teen in 2000s without having heard at least a few easycore songs. New Found Glory, A Day To Remember, even a few Sum 41 songs all had the perfect mix of happy, angry, and angsty that still resonates with dedicated fans to this day.
In fact, with what fans are calling the “2016 Easycore Takeover” (or #EZtakeover2k16) in full force, now’s probably a better time than ever to learn the ins-and-outs of easycore.
So What Exactly Is It?
As the name implies, easycore is a softer version of hardcore punk, resulting in a sound that is commonly described as “pop-punk with breakdowns”.
What separates easycore from hardcore is that the music is often written in a major key, giving it a happier sound that contrasts the dark, angry sound of the minor key used in hardcore punk. The use of synths is an element often associated with easycore as well, as cheery pop-synths coincide with the positive, happy nature of the music.
“Popcore”, “Dudecore”, “Softcore”, “Happy Hardcore”, and most commonly “EZ” are some of the many terms that Easycore has been known as throughout the years. The word “Easycore” itself is a pun derived from “Hardcore”.
When Did It Start?
The origin of the genre itself was in the early 2000s. Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” was the first easycore song to really hit the mainstream in 2001. However, one year prior, New Found Glory released their self-titled album which was rich with easycore jams that seemed to slip under the public’s radar at the time.
New Found Glory released Sticks & Stones two years later, and that’s when things really took off for them. Needless to say, this release influenced countless pop-punk bands to come.
Flash forward to 2007 and easycore was practically dominating the pop-punk scene.
Big breakthrough albums like Set Your Goals’ Mutiny! and Four Year Strong’s Rise or Die Trying were blasting in every skate park and Vans store you could find. The word “easycore” had been thrown around the scene as a bit of an inside joke to fans, but was really popularized in 2008, when New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, and A Day To Remember announced “The Easycore Tour”. With these three pioneers of the genre all touring together in what was arguably their prime, the good word of “EZ” was being spread like a fantastic plague of major key breakdowns and anthemic chants.
Is It Still Popular?
It’s hard to exactly pinpoint the cause of death for the genre. What initially gave it so much momentum was how unique and refreshing it was, considering pop punk was a genre that seemed to be growing more stale by the day. Once these easycore bands had successfully launched themselves into relative stardom, many copycats followed in the coming years.
Like its predecessor, easycore fell into mediocrity with many bands rehashing the same sound. While the genre might not have lasted to be something great, the few bands who founded it still created some genre-defining tunes.
My Top Picks
These are a couple of fan-favourite easycore tunes.