Why Meet Me @ The Altar make me excited for the future of pop punk
Photo credit: Lindsey Byrnes
You’ve probably already heard it dozens of times before, but unless someone can provide a compelling argument against it, I’ll continue to perpetuate it: Meet Me @ The Altar truly are the poster children for the much-needed diversity within the alternative music scene.
In the wake of heightened media attention towards racial inequality, spurred by the murder of George Floyd and the accompanying resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, 2020 saw more people reflect inward to make a conscious effort to support BIPOC entrepreneurs and creatives in solidarity against systemic injustices. Within the music industry, this translated to acknowledging the lack of platform for minority musicians, particularly within more alternative sub-genres, and actively diversifying playlists. Cue Meet Me @ The Altar, consisting of Téa Campbell on guitar/bass, Ada Juarez on drums, and Edith Johnson on vocals.
Having been championed by Halsey as part of her Black Creators Fund, offering financial support and resources for black artists in need, the trio have ushered in a new, more inclusive, era of pop punk that sees the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour, and women to the front. With ‘May the Odds Be in Your Favour’ and ‘Garden’ being the talk of the virtual town last year, expectations remained high into this week as the band released their first song of 2021, ‘Hit Like A Girl’ – a satirical clap back to misogyny in their quest to fly the flag for female empowerment and make feminism catchy.
Written in collaboration with Facebook as part of their Women’s History Month ‘Women x Women’ campaign, the lyrics were crowdsourced from Facebook’s platforms in response to what it means to be a woman, and used as inspiration for the song. This is reflected in the supportive calls to “stand tall”, “don’t stand for disrespect”, leaning on the notion of women supporting women.
Even without this additional context, the instrumentals alone solidify the group as the welcomed elixir of easycore pop punk, reviving the very best of the genre in all its lighthearted and uplifting glory. The unexpected breakdown is the final nail in the coffin for gatekeepers as the band reclaims what it means to ‘hit like a girl’ by packing a hefty punch in their delivery.
It’s imaginably a big burden to bear in your early 20s, but MM@TA act as beacons of hope for the young girls watching, and represent a sign of the changing times. The early 2000s heyday of pop punk was rife with casually misogynistic lyrics, and a sausage fest of straight white men: think Blink-182, Good Charlotte, Green Day, Simple Plan. Great bands, with great music, but for the young black or brown kid listening, it wasn’t always the most relatable. Flash forward to 2021, and as the first black female-led group signed to Fueled By Ramen, the band offers a modern-day alternative where women are now equally at the helm to wave in the new generation.
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