Fact: Guitar solos are awesome. Plain and simple. They’re just as much fun to see live as they are to listen to, as they fully display the guitarist’s raw passion for the instrument. While solos are a staple of certain rock subgenres, they’re far less common in pop-punk songs. So, when we do come across a killer guitar solo in the genre that we love, we instantly pay attention.
Spanning the full range of the genre, from the poppiest artists to the heaviest, we’ve rounded up some pop-punk songs with amazing guitar solos for your listening pleasure. We’re certain you’ll want to hit the replay button—whether you’ve already sung along to the solo a thousand times or you’re on the verge of discovering your new favorite band.
Mayday Parade – “I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About”
Beloved emo band Mayday Parade have always been known for their poetic lyrics, but on their 2007 track “I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About,” the instrumentation is what really stands out. Lead guitarist Alex Garcia lets it rip before the song’s final chorus kicks in, resulting in one of the most memorable tracks on A Lesson In Romantics.
Fireworks – “Arrows”
A weird yet wonderful music video and a unique guitar solo make this track by Fireworks stand out. It’s a brief solo, but it comes at the perfect time in the song and in the video, setting the mood for the dark scene taking place and making it feel more climactic.
Tonight Alive – “Don’t Wish”
The guitar parts in Australian pop-punk band Tonight Alive’s songs tend to lean toward the heavier side, and they love to sprinkle in riffs and short solos. A great example can be found in the emotional song “Don’t Wish,” off their 2013 album The Other Side. Frontwoman Jenna McDougall has described the track as something of a women’s empowerment anthem, and the solo in the bridge just makes it feel that much more badass.
Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle”
A pop-punk classic, this uplifting Jimmy Eat World song features a sweet solo at the 1:35 mark. Fans will soon have the opportunity to see frontman Jim Adkins slay it in person again—the band recently announced the new dates for their European tour, set to kick off in June 2022.
Tears of a fallen hero – “For the future generation”
The shred-tastic solo in this song by up-and-coming Swedish band Tears of a fallen hero—which is almost guaranteed to get stuck in your head after one listen—comes in the bridge, making the song memorable from start to finish. If the talent displayed by guitarist Daniel Hultberg and his bandmates is any indication, they’re headed for major success.
Ghost Town Remedy – “Holy Hangover”
Nashville-based act Ghost Town Remedy close out this upbeat track with nearly a solid minute of shredding. The song is accompanied by a music video that’s almost as disorienting as lead guitarist Jordan Winborne’s insane fingering. The band’s most recent album, Dry Spell, hit shelves last year, and we’re seriously hoping a tour is in the works.
Alpine Loop – “Universal Donor”
One of many talented unsigned pop-punk bands to emerge on the scene in recent years, Alpine Loop, who hail from Provo, Utah, deserve endless recognition and respect for their tight instrumentation. Their most recent single, “Universal Donor,” which is already gaining traction on Spotify, features a longer and more intricate solo than what’s typically heard in the genre, and we’re loving every second of it.
The Material – “Let You Down”
It isn’t every day that you find a high-energy rock song with equally beautiful piano and guitar parts, but that’s exactly what the Material deliver on their popular track “Let You Down.” Sure, guitarist Jon Moreaux’s solo is on the simpler side, but it perfectly fits the vibe of the song—punchy power pop with a bit of an edge.
Awake At Last – “Purgatorium”
Awake At Last let their theatrical flair shine through on “Purgatorium,” a dark song with a dark music video to match. Falling somewhere in between pop punk and metal, Awake At Last are masters of combining various genre elements. As such, they’re quite adept when it comes to guitar solos like the short but exciting one featured here in the bridge.
Sum 41 – “Goddamn I’m Dead Again”
Sum 41 may not immediately come to mind when you think of intricate guitar work, but many die-hard fans agree that the solo in “Goddamn I’m Dead Again,” off their particularly heavy album 13 Voices, is one of the most impressive in the genre. The break right before it kicks in just makes you feel as if you’re being transported to another world.
My Chemical Romance – “Teenagers”
Emo legends My Chemical Romance’s discography actually contains quite a few solos, both by rhythm guitarist Frank Iero and lead shredder Ray Toro. “Teenagers” is arguably one of the most well known as well as one of the best. The massive hit has a markedly different sound than the surrounding tracks on The Black Parade, and the funky guitar solo in the bridge adds to its uniqueness.
5 Seconds Of Summer – “Out Of My Limit”
Make no mistake about this one. Even though 5 Seconds Of Summer’s sound leans toward the pop end of the spectrum, they can still bust out some amazing solos. Check out the insanely catchy “Out Of My Limit,” which appears on the band’s 2012 EP, Somewhere New, as well as their live album LIVESOS, to hear Luke Hemmings—yes, the one who’s ordinarily a rhythm guitarist—take it away.
Boys Like Girls – “Heart Heart Heartbreak”
While they might currently be on hiatus, with frontman Martin Johnson focusing on his solo project the Night Game, we certainly haven’t forgotten about the iconic band that dominated the 2000s emo-pop scene: Boys Like Girls. Their 2009 album, Love Drunk, didn’t quite achieve the same success as their self-titled debut, but the opening track, “Heart Heart Heartbreak,” features some of guitarist Paul DiGiovanni’s best work in their entire discography.
Bayside – “Montauk”
Bayside’s “Montauk” features impressive performances from all four band members, with Jack O’Shea’s guitar solo around the two-minute mark being the most noteworthy. He’s one of the musicians in the pop-punk scene who we firmly believe deserves way more recognition.
Carousel Kings – “Grey Goose”
Though it’s short, lead guitarist Will Barovick’s solo in Carousel Kings’ “Grey Goose” feels so right and natural between the first chorus and second verse, creating seamless flow from one section to the next. It’s the perfect addition to this energetic and highly addictive track, taken from their 2017 album, Charm City.