“Emo music” always seems to hit me a certain way. Sure, the lyrics are sometimes silly or overly dramatic but the feelings that the songs emote are real. This playlist represents a certain amount of nostalgia as these were all released at a certain time in my life (’02-’04). As an 8th grader going into high school, I had little knowledge of the subject matter some of these songs delve into but even back then, I could understand the feeling…
Playlist for the week of December 11, 2019
- Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional: Spider-Man perfectly represents this time period for me. Peter Parker is a nerdy high school teen going through a period of intense transition. He holds deep secrets in his heart all while trying to get a girl to go out with him and finish his homework (all in one evening). I saw a great video on how this song got on the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack (see Bonus section below) and it made me love it even more than I already did. Belting these lyrics out makes you realize how dramatic emo music can be but it’s also cathartic to sing ’em out loud and feel it all.
- “Hope…dangles on a string… like slow spinning redemption…”
- The Last Song by The All-American Rejects: The whole 2002 “The All-American Rejects” album feels like a moment in time in retrospect. I remember buying this album at Tower Records and listening to the whole thing front to back immediately when I got home. So many good songs came off that album but I’ll never forget how great of an ending this song was to the album. It hits hard, it’s emotional, it’s also a little sad but ultimately it feels like a victory.
- One Year, Six Months by Yellowcard: Yellowcard is the ultimate guilty pleasure. I remember lying multiple times about whether I had even heard of Yellowcard. As a boy growing up trying to become a “man”, Yellowcard felt a little too vulnerable, a little too soft. But make no mistake, I played their music over and over again tucked away in a little corner with my Walkman in 2003. “Ocean Avenue” is without a doubt their more mainstream and popular track but for some reason, I always find myself bumping “One Year, Six Months.”
- My Friends Over You by New Found Glory: This is the point in the playlist when the energy begins to pick up. New Found Glory hits you hard and when the second half of the song kicks in, I dare you not to bang your head and tap your foot. It’s also the classic “bros before hoes” song which is interesting because it’s still mostly about crying over a girl.
- I’d Do Anything by Simple Plan: Out of all the bands on this playlist, Simple Plan was my favorite. The title of their 2002 album, “No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls” made me laugh but it was also a fantastic album. I continued to listen to it even after this phase of my life had ended. “I’d Do Anything” was a classic sad boy anthem and every time I had a crush on a girl, I imagined singing those lyrics to her. They also made some killer videos (see below).
- Girls & Boys by Good Charlotte: Let me set the scene: It’s 2002, Sammy and I are watching music videos on MTV (yes, real actual music videos) and “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” comes on. That shit hit us a like a ton of bricks. We were hooked on the sound and the album didn’t disappoint. It was hard picking one song off that album but ultimately I chose “Girls & Boys” because it spoke to me. It’s funny listening to this song now but some of it still rings true.
- Dear Maria, Count Me In by All Time Low: This track came to me later in my life. An ex-girlfriend took me to see this band and all the emotions that the songs above gave me in ’02-’04 came flooding back like they had never left. It still makes me sad to listen to this song because of the memories it carries but that’s the exact fucking point of music like this. To feel, to experience, to love and lose. Without those feelings, music like this and the songs above wouldn’t exist.
- “Cause I got your picture, I’m coming with you..”
- Author’s Note: Over the weekend, the music community lost a talented young artist. Juice Wrld died at the tender age of 21. He was a positive force for Hip Hop and the community at large. I finished writing this emo-rock post on Saturday night but somehow it seemed wrong to post it without some mention of Juice. The music above directly influenced him with his lyrics of tragic love and heartbreak. He was a proponent of mental health and talking about your feelings and while I didn’t listen to his music as fervently as some, the message was clear. RIP to Juice and thank you for the words and music that I’m sure will be dissected and immortalized in your memory for years to come.