That forgotten emo era

The early-2000s emo scene wasn’t all dodgy sweeping fringes, studded belts and thick-as-you-dare black eyeliner. As many of you will know, the infectious blend of raw emotion, punchy riffs and wistful lyrics that underpinned the emo genre was powerful. Press play on those now-dated tunes and they’re nothing but gripping, sickly-sweet masterpieces in the main. 

This movement brought together like-minded people — as music generally does — and seriously united them. Whether you felt lost, sad or deliriously happy, there was an emo anthem that behaved as the soundtrack to your daily goings on. You would spy band logos emblazoned on t-shirts, iron-on patches on rucksacks and even sticker-splashed skateboards a mile off, and you knew you could identify with the owner of this garb. 

As the decade progressed, showing a person’s true emo self somehow became a way to be mocked, so the genre seemed to taper off. If you were a fan of emo tracks, you’d sort it keep that to yourself and refine your alt-rock taste more overtly. Those, like myself, who were fans of this kind of music alongside heavy rock then turned to classic bands, such as Nirvana, Metallica and Whitesnake. Everybody revered and respected those guys, so there wasn’t any of the ‘emotional’ controversy that came with their poppier counterparts. And that’s not to mention the likes of Pearl Jam, who I very vocally label as grunge royalty. My taste certainly developed at that stage and it quickly shaped into what it is today — an eclectic medley, for want of any specificity. 

In short, as with all music, that almost forgotten emo era links to memories that hold the key to real, virtually tangible nostalgia. So, if you haven’t revisited any of these former favourites since the noughties, you really should. The judgement has faded — it’s safe to reclaim these ballads! 

To help you along the way, here are ten of Record Weekly’s top emo tracks that typify those deliciously angsty years. 

  1. Boiled Frogs — Alexisonfire
  2. Juneau — Funeral For A Friend
  3. Seven Years — Saosin
  4. All That I’ve Got — The Used
  5. MakeDamnSure — Taking Back Sunday
  6. When Your Heart Stops Beating — +44
  7. Hand Of Blood — Bullet For My Valentine
  8. Lip Gloss And Black — Atreyu
  9. This World Can’t Tear Us Apart — Trivium
  10. This Suffering — Billy Talent
The old emo-badge-of-honour Vans

Article with huge thanks to Chris Petty

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