Our top 10 PUP songs introduce us to a Canadian band famed for its punk rock music despite being a young act. Before the formation of the band, all the members played in several bands together except vocalist Stefan Babcock who played for Stop Drop N Skank. Childhood friends, drummer Zack, guitarist Steve, and bassist Nestor would later meet Stefan Babcock at local Toronto music venues but didn’t get close then. However, after high school, Stop Drop N Skank disbanded and left vocalist Stefan without a band. Stefan invited bassist Nestor to work on a song he had composed for a school project. With his vocals proving to be magical, Nestor introduced Stefan to his friends Steve and Zack. The four went on to form a new band under the moniker Topanga after Nestor completed his university studies.
The then band’s name was inspired by Topanga Matthews, a character on the sitcom Boy Meets World. Stefan revealed that their union was meant to be a one-time project, with the band not thinking of themselves as a real band. At this time, Topanga recorded an EP which they later performed live in local clubs. The band gaining traction online and had better and enticing show offers. Topanga would later in 2012 try to find a producer who would help the band capture its heavy performance style in a studio recording. Luck was on the band’s side, having them strike a deal with producer Dave Schiffman who was instrumental to the success of Weezer, Rage Against the Machine, and Anti-Flag. The band thought of a name change while working on their new album, deciding to use the name PUP. Stefan revealed that the inspiration behind the name was a quote by his grandma, who alleged that singing in a rock band was a “pathetic use of potential.” Here are the top 10 PUP songs from the band’s three studio albums.
#10 – Scorpion Hill
Ushering us to the top 10 PUP songs is the ballad “Scorpion Hill.” The song is featured on the band’s album Morbid Stuff, with its lyrics penned by the band members. “Scorpio Hill” has its lyrics allude to a man who feels like he has missed an opportunity in life. However, the intro has the narrator say that he was not trying to be a bad person. He continued to explain that his intentions were pure even though things didn’t turn out as he might have wanted.
#9 – Morbid Stuff
“Morbid Stuff” is the album-titled song for the band’s third studio album. The song features a catchy punk vibe that hooks both old and new punk rock music lovers. PUP released its new album Morbid Stuff at a time vocalist Stefan, and his bandmates were coming to terms with depression through their music journey. The singer confesses to dwelling on gloomy stuff in this album-titled song.
#8 – See You at The Funeral
Almost every time after a breakup, one of the individuals involved is inexorably messed up. “See You at The Funeral” is a single from PUP’s third studio album penned to an ex-lover shortly after a rough and traumatizing breakup. From the lyrics, the narrator is working on making his life better with better choices. However, at some point, he acknowledges that it would be best if he never sees the lady again, wishing that the world better explode to end everything if they met.
#7 – If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will
“If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” is one of the best PUP songs from the band’s sophomore album, The Dream Is Over. The song was inspired by the tensions that met the band after playing over two hundred and fifty shows in 2014. It is evident from the song’s intro that the tours invoked feelings of anger due to the extreme amounts of effort the tours required. While the song might seem dark, the band members have confirmed to be on good terms quoting the song’s extreme lyrics to be dark humor delivered sarcastically. Stefan revealed that the song feels like an ultimate celebration of the band member’s friendship. This can be backed by the fact that the band has stuck together since its founding days with no lineup changes or going on hiatus.
#6 – Reservoir
Number six on our top 10 songs is the hit “Reservoir.” Vocalist Stefan penned this song for the band’s eponymous album. He revealed in an interview that the song was inspired by the feeling of evading the dispiritedness of being in your mid-twenties. Stefan continued to reveal that the feeling is usually caused by not knowing what to do with your life, as well as the confusion and anger about doing nothing about the situation.
#5 – Kids
“Kids” is another sublime song from the band’s studio album Morbid Stuff. The song was written by the band’s frontman Stefan who revealed in an interview that the song is about what happens when you meet your significant other in this desolate world where everything feels twisted and messed up. Stefan continued to mention that this was his first love song ever penned down, showing how love can turn the tough world a better place if not the best.
#4 – Guilt Trip
PUP released a song under the title “Guilty Trip” featured on the band’s eponymous album. The term “Guilt Trip” is used to refer to the unjustified feeling of guilt or responsibility which is usually induced by someone else. Did vocalist Stefan Babcock kill a cop when he was young, or was it just a choreographed thing? That remains quite a debate for many having the song feature a strong, scary, yet fun kid who killed a cop who got his father. The kid in the video plays as vocalist Stefan Babcock. “Guilt Trip” was nominated for UK Music Video Award for Best Rock Video and the Juno Award for Video of the Year. Earlier in the year, Kanye West released a song with a similar title to his 2013 album Yeezus.
#3 – Dark Days
“Dark Days” is a mid-tempo rock ballad featured on the band’s eponymous album. The song has its lyrics allude to surviving through the tough times as well as changing environments. “Dark Days” is inspired by the band’s insane work ethic, which can at least be termed to be impressive, but such efforts can take a toll on you. This song features a four-piece video that shows the band playing in multiple shows. The video also highlights the daunting and demanding life of the band’s impressive yet insane work ethic as the members stay on the road for tours.
#2 – DVP
The hit “DVP” is one of the best PUP songs from The Dream Is Over album. The song has its title inspired by the term Don Valley Parkway, which is a highway that runs through Toronto. “DVP” is an upbeat ballad that features a pile-up of emotional wreckage. The song brings on board the middle zone of depression where it proves too painful to live, but you can barely kill yourself or wish you were dead. Some of the song’s lyrics show how similar Stefan is with The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas who feels that somebody’s words won’t prevent him from taking alcohol.
#1 – Sleep in The Heat
Number one of our top 10 PUP songs is the ballad “Sleep in The Heat.” The song is co-written by the band members released on the band’s sophomore album The Dream Is Over. “Sleep in The Heat” is a tribute to Stefan’s friend chameleon Norman who he had purchased when he needed a friend. It was quite devastating when chameleon Norman died after having Stefan use his money in scheduling costly surgeries to lengthen her life.
Feature Photo: Nicole Kibert / elawgrrl.com, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 PUP Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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