What takes you back to your emo days? For me, it’s (of course) music, and I’m about to walk you through my ultimate emo days playlist, and I don’t care if you disagree.
Eyeliner as dark as coal, skinny jeans that were literally cutting off my circulation, and ridiculous hair that was always in my eyes – that was me in my emo days. I had this attitude of “don’t mess with me” combined with “I’m actually quite fragile” all rolled into one spunky gal who was definitely a disappointment to her parents.
My music playlist was filled with songs that were full of heartbreak, teenage angst, and a bit of rebellious spirit, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t at least use lyrics from a few of the songs in fights with my parents or dramatic breakup texts to my middle school boyfriends.
So, join me as I look back on my tear-filled days as an emo kid. There’s songs of all sorts on the journey, and there may be some that surprise you, too. And, you know what? If you disagree with me, I don’t care. This is my ultimate emo days playlist, so if you don’t like it then you can go make your own.
But, if you do agree with my playlist, and all the comments I make, then you can find a handy dandy link to a Spotify playlist that has all the songs in it, ready for your listening pleasures, at the bottom of this list.
20. ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ by My Chemical Romance:
No emo playlist would be complete without the gods of all emo gods My Chemical Romance at the front and centre. Their beats, their lyrics, and their style made them the master of the emo era, and made me scream out their lyrics with more gusto than any other band.
I can’t deny that I definitely spent some time on the ground, whining about who knows what, while singing “I’m not okay / Well, I’m not okay / I’m not o-fucking-kay.” Didn’t we all?
19. ‘The Art Of Losing’ by American Hi-Fi:
Although many wouldn’t consider American Hi-Fi to be an emo band, they were certainly at the front and centre of my emo days, especially their song ‘The Art Of Losing’. When I had parents who wanted me to conform to their conservative ways, it sure got me ranting against that.
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“One two fuck you / Don’t tell me what to do / I don’t want to be like you” rang loud and clear when I was showing my parents that I didn’t want to be like them, because lets be honest – were you really emo if you weren’t super angsty towards your ‘rents?
18. ‘Shadows’ by The Getaway Plan:
Of course, I have to throw in an Aussie artist. Although I didn’t listen to them in my emo days, because the beautifulness of Australian music hadn’t been yet introduced to me as I’m originally from America, I would’ve so shouted these lyrics at the front and centre of a concert.
This song puts me in an apathetic mindset where I wonder what would happen at the end of the world. Considering I had always thought that everything was the end of the world, this is quite fitting.
17. ‘Monster’ by Meg & Dia:
Featured on a Take Action Tour compilation back in the day, this is only one of the few female vocalists I carried from my emo days. With such an intriguing video to boot, there’s now wonder why I thought it was such a banger.
With the vocals of sisters Meg and Dia Frampton, the notes they carry just took me through my emo days, and made me wish that I had pipes like them.
16. ‘Jasey Rae (Acoustic)’ by All Time Low:
One of the only acoustic tracks that I was really into, ‘Jasey Rae’ served as being an addition to my already growing love for All Time Low.
Something about having Alex Gaskarth’s vocals just stripped back a bit made him sound so much more vulnerable, and made me resonate with the track so much more than I did when it originally came out.
15. ‘I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ by A Day To Remember:
This is one of those songs I’d sing when I was feeling really, really angry. Something about that grumble in Jeremy McKinnon’s voice made me sing away all my anger towards whatever I was feeling.
I also felt that this song served as a reminder to not let others get me down with lyrics like “I’ll be there just to watch you fall / So don’t push me / I’ve got nothing to lose“.
14. ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’ by Fall Out Boy:
Once again, no emo playlist would be complete without a little bit of Fall Out Boy. But, instead of choosing a song off of the blessed From Under The Cork Tree, I chose a track from Infinity On High.
Something about ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’ rebellious nod to wanting to not even include vowels in their title made my little brat soul sing.
13. ‘Seventeen Ain’t So Sweet’ by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus:
If this song won’t take you right back to your emo days, then I don’t know what will. I can still remember listening to this while wearing headphones on the eve of my 18th birthday.
I was crying, and sad about growing up, and my eyeliner was getting all ruined, which wasn’t helping matters. “Seventeen is just a test / Yeah and I would recommend / That you live with no regrets,” resonated loud and clear.
12. ‘Not Good Enough For The Truth In Cliché’ by Escape The Fate:
More on the unknown side of emo music is this track from Escape The Fate. Between screaming vocals, melodic tunes, and bridges that will get your emotions going, this song has it all.
Plus, it was another track from those brilliant Take Action tour days, so it’s also got that going for it.
11. ‘Daniel, Where’s The Boat?’ by Drop Dead Gorgeous:
If you haven’t listened to this song before, then just listen to me, and do it. You’ll be greeted by stumbling piano composures that somehow work against hard, screaming vocals.
If you can’t turn this one on and be instantly transported back to your emo days, then I’m not sure there’s any hope left in the world.
10. ‘Miss Murder’ by AFI:
Once again, another emo banger. Who can resist the vocals of Davey Havok wreaking havoc on the mic? If this wasn’t one of your most essential tracks of the late 2000s, then I don’t think you could even call yourself emo.
Considering it has over 118,000,000 spins on Spotify, it’s clearly a top-notch song.
9. ‘I Miss You’ by Blink-182:
I don’t care if you had a lost love, lost a loved one, or whatever, this song must’ve made you cry a time or two. I know I had a pretty good life by my emo phase – no tragic losses in any department, but I still laid on the floor, staring at the ceiling, wondering when my sadness would go away.
But, I definitely found some humour in the song with frontman Tom Delonge shouting “Don’t waste your time on me / You’re already the voice inside ‘my yed’.”
8. ‘Calling All Cars’ by Senses Fail:
God, there are so many good things to say about Senses Fail, and their track ‘Calling All Cars’ is just the beginning of it all. Let these lyrics hit your soft spot:
“So will you scatter my ashes where they won’t be found? / I kept my word when I swore that I would let you down / And now that I’m gone / Try to forget me, and just move on.”
7. ‘Secret Valentine’ by We The Kings:
Although they’re definitely a little more on the pop-y side of emo, We The Kings served as one of those bands who I couldn’t get enough of.
With red-headed Travis Clark at the helm, I couldn’t ignore his handsome good looks, daring vocals, and all-around great musicianship.
6. ‘If You Can’t Hang’ by Sleeping With Sirens:
If you didn’t automatically fall for frontman Kellin Quinn when Sleeping With Sirens hit the scene, then I really don’t even want to be associated with you.
How could you not love his handsome face, and massive range that makes your throat hurt just by thinking about emulating him?
5. ‘Born For This’ by Paramore:
Another emo staple is Riot! by Paramore. While many cite ‘Misery Business’ or ‘Crushcrushcrush’ as the pinnacle of the Paramore’s career, ‘Born For This’ was the track that stuck with me.
Because I was always on the verge of a midlife crisis, and thought that everything was going to end soon, these lyrics spoke to me to be impulsive: “Everybody sing / Like it’s the last song you will ever sing / Tell me, tell me do you feel the pressure now?”
4. ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ by Taking Back Sunday:
Once again, here’s another band I fell head-over-heels for. Who can resist Adam Lazzara’s good looks, killer vocals, and impeccable mic swinging talents?
He’s the complete package, honestly, and when backed by the rest of the dreamy band, pure magic emits from the speakers.
3. ‘Build God, Then We’ll Talk’ by Panic! At The Disco:
Alright, we’re getting down to the favourites here, and it’s kicking off with a lesser-known track by Panic! At The Disco. If you’ve never paid attention to ‘Build God, Then We’ll Talk’, then you better do it now.
Not only is it a beautiful song featuring some of my favourite lyrics like “There are no raindrops on roses and girls in white dresses / It’s sleeping with roaches and taking best guesses“, it’s also accompanied by the strangest music video I’ve ever seen.
2. ‘Papercut Skin’ by The Matches:
Although they’re more famously known for a few of their other tracks, ‘Papercut Skin’ by The Matches is where it’s at.
I will never, ever skip this song if it pops up in my Spotify playlist, and there’s a damn good reason why – it’s an absolute gem.
1. ‘When I Get Home You’re So Dead’ by Mayday Parade:
The pinnacle of my emo days are certainly encompassed by Mayday Parade. They know just what it’s like to have a failed relationship that you obsess over, and you can run their songs into the ground while ranting and crying over your ex.
Although all of their songs are so important to me, I’ve chosen ‘When I Get Home You’re So Dead’ to represent my adoration of them, and specifically the EP version, because the homemade, grittier sound of this version gets me going.