5. Avril Lavigne – “Sk8er Boi”

The choruses in “Sk8er Boi” are all different, but they all start the same way: “He was a sk8er boi / She said see you later boi,” two lines that won’t stop being funny until animals stop riding skateboards. Which chorus is best? It might be the first one (“He wasn’t good enough for her”), but actually it’s the second, the one where Avril might as well say “plot twist” first: “Now he’s a superstar / Slammin’ on his guitar.” — AG


4. Fall Out Boy – “Sugar, We’re Going Down”

Never sleep on the mixed metaphor. Patrick Stump’s echoing hook referenced the God Complex, a boxing allusion, and a gun parallel for what reads like YA gobbledygook on paper. Yet, the whole thing was immediately ready to conquer every arena in America. The formula resonated well enough to give Fall Out Boy their first smash, setting them on a path to pop omnipresence that they are still somehow traveling to this day. — BJ


3. My Chemical Romance – “Helena (So Long & Goodnight)”

My Chemical Romance’s brand of emo was inherently theatrical—dressed in makeup, they played like goth kids left to run amok staging a school musical. “Helena” is the rousing finale, where Gerard Way gets his chance to chew every word and make every twisted face like his life depends on it. With each iteration of the chorus—a histrionic, heart-ripping admission of guilt about Way not being there for his dying grandmother—the line reading grows more tortured, as though they’re being forced out of his throat. You have to commit to singing along with this one; no passivity allowed. — JG


2. Yellowcard – “Ocean Avenue”

A few years ago I had the luck of going to Riot Fest, which over the years has walked a very narrow line between bands in their prime, and bands strictly there on the nostalgia circuit. As we were walking into the festival, we could see and hear Yellowcard, who appeared to be wrapping up their set. My friend and I headed right for the bathrooms, since we’d been waiting in line for quite some time. While we were walking, we heard them start into “Ocean Avenue,” their greatest song, and watched something happen: All around us, people were mouthing the words, not quite singing along out loud, but keeping track of the tune. This perhaps wasn’t so surprising, because “Ocean Avenue” was a legitimate hit, but we were a few hundred yards away from their stage; the music was as audible as the radio you hear from a car far in the distance. It would’ve been easier to ignore it, and yet people were singing along in this small way. If the mark of a great chorus is how it basically takes over your body and forces you to sing along, almost as a parasite infects its host, well—that was all the confirmation I needed to know that “Ocean Avenue” is eternal. — JG


1. Jimmy Eat World – “The Middle”

Many pop-punk hits were over-the-top dramatic but “The Middle” is a self-help book from start to finish, delivered in Jim Adkins’ uncommonly reassuring voice. The chorus, in which Adkins suddenly leaps up to insist that you—yes, you!—will be fine, and totally alright, is a wonderful rush. The repetition on “everything, everything” is its own hook, especially when it leads to that thrilling surf-rock solo. Given the moodiness of the genre, getting people to have legitimate fun singing along to a song about how life is going to work out is a small miracle. — JG


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