If pop punk is alive and breathing, it’s because artists like Maggie Lindemann are administering the electric pulse.
Lindemann makes music fit for the opening scene of a Y2K film. It’s angsty and nostalgic, yet every bit authentic. Though her 2016 single “Pretty Girl” was a pop hit, Lindemann shifted gears in 2021, swerving into the lane of alternative rock on her EP Paranoia.
“My whole career up until Paranoia basically was really hard for me. Writing was really hard. Sessions were really hard,” Lindemann said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “And then, as soon as I started making (punk) music, the writing came so naturally. The melodies came naturally.”
Lindemann’s new sound culminates on her debut album Suckerpunch, released September 2022. From the intoxicating “Break Me!” to the Avril Lavigne-esque “She Knows It,” it’s a screeching, unapologetic invitation into her candid world. Now, Lindemann finds herself at the center of a pop punk renaissance — a resuscitation she didn’t see coming.
“It was scary at first because I was like, ‘Okay, well I want to make this music, but it’s not really a popular genre at the moment,’ ” Lindemann said. “It all came back, which was really crazy timing and just really cool. I love to see all the new artists and what pop punk has turned into. It’s really cool.”
From Travis Barker to LØLØ, Lindemann has no shortage of contemporaries and collaborators. Though she finds inspiration from 2000s staples such as Lavigne, Evanescence and Paramore, she also looks outside the world of pop punk and rock: Right now, she’s particularly interested in hyperpop glitches.
“I take a lot of inspiration from a lot of different genres and try to see what I can do,” Lindemann said. “There’s so many cool different elements from different genres.”
Sometimes Lindeman comes to the studio with ideas she wants to explore; other times, she doesn’t. Either way, she embraces the writing process, trying out different melody passes until she eventually arrives at a song. In many ways, Lindemann’s shift in style has been a form of artistic liberation, even if she felt some pushback while making the change in front of the public eye.
“I think in terms of how it felt personally transitioning over was like, very natural,” Lindemann said. “But I think what did make it hard was trying to convince people that it was who I am, and not like a phase.”
If Lindemann champions one thing, it’s independence. At 16 years old, she moved to Los Angeles by herself to pursue music after being discovered online. This decision lent her a new degree of freedom away from curfews and parental guidance back in Texas, but navigating the music industry as a young artist proved far from easy.
“I think times were really different for music. And just being really young and new and from social media, I think just no one really took me seriously,” Lindemann said. “People didn’t really care what I had to say.”
Nevertheless, her career took off with the success of “Pretty Girl,” which has since become a multi-platinum hit. Though the style is different, many of Lindemann’s sentiments are the same: “Fuck your ribbons and your pearls/ ‘Cause I’m not just a pretty girl,” she sings in a blatant rejection of societal expectations. While the sudden success of the track was exciting, it was also disorienting, especially since it seemed to gain even more traction overseas.
“I did a show in Norway and it was crazy. I think it was like 90,000 or 100,000 people or something,” Lindemann said. “I did the song and literally everyone knew every single word, and I think that was the moment it hit me. Like oh, these are not just streams. Like it’s real people that know the music, and it was just crazy.”
Since then, Lindemann has opened for artists such as Madison Beer and Sabrina Carpenter, and she’s set to support Machine Gun Kelly later this year. As she heads out for the first few dates of her Suckerpunch Tour, including a stop in San Francisco on March 23, she looks forward to performing her new songs in front of a live audience.
“I just want everyone to have fun and get involved, you know?” Lindemann said. “With this tour, expect a lot of lights … just a lot of energy.”
Like a suckerpunch, Lindemann’s reinvention came powerfully and unexpectedly, sending shockwaves through the musical landscape. As she undergoes her own artistic rebirth, Lindemann proves pop punk is certainly not dead — it’s jolting back to life.