Hit Parade: I Write Sins, Not Tragedies, Part 1

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“Punk happened, past tense.” That’s what Boomer-era critics and true-believer punks told the younger generations. Punk’s whole reason for being was rejecting the mainstream. But punk wasn’t just a movement—it was also a genre. And 20 years after it first emerged, punk went from underground to overground, dominating the radio for the first time.

In this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy traces how punk traveled from Sid Vicious to strip mall, through the lineage of ’90s bands Green Day, Offspring and Blink‑182, and ’00s emo artisans Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and their skinny-jeans-wearing, smarty-pants contemporaries. From the CBGB era to the current Billboard Hot 100, punk is no historical artifact—it’s still morphing and adapting. And for all its supposed opposition to convention, the dirty little secret is: Punk has always been catchy.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja with help from Rosemary Belson.

We have a special announcement! This year is the 25th anniversary of Slate. And for a limited time, we’re offering our annual Slate Plus membership at $25 off. As a Slate Plus member, you'll get to hear every Hit Parade episode in full, the day it arrives; plus Hit Parade—“The Bridge,” our bonus episodes, with guest interviews, deeper dives on our episode topics, and pop-chart trivia. Plus, you’ll get no ads on any Slate podcast, unlimited reading on the Slate site, and member-exclusive episodes and segments. This offer lasts until October 31st, so sign up now at slate.com/hitparadeplus.

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