Everyone hates emo. Well, everyone who matters hates emo, at least. Ten years after Jimmy Eat World's Clarity set the standard for the genre, it seems to be on its last legs, creatively and commercially, without any real fans among tastemakers. Since critics, not charts, tend to write music history, there is good cause to fear time will make emo only more of a joke. That would be a shame. Though most emo is rightfully reviled by anyone who isn't a teenager with a ridiculous haircut, there have been plenty of amazing songs released in the past 10 years or so that are, nonetheless, quintessentially emo. Those songs, and the bands who recorded them, deserve their due.

If anyone has to defend the genre, it's us — Arizona. Clarity, which Jimmy Eat World is celebrating by playing the album in its entirety in 10 cities (including Tempe at a sold-out homecoming show Saturday at the Marquee) is probably the most influential record ever made by an Arizona band. Though emo is certainly a national musical movement — perhaps the first distinct genre emerging without any real regional roots — Phoenix has consistently proved to be a fertile market for spawning and supporting emo bands. When emo's poster kids, Fall Out Boy, wanted to record a live disc, where did they go? Cricket Wireless Pavilion. Emo is part of Arizona's musical heritage — just like Gin Blossoms and The Meat Puppets — and it's time we own and defend it.

10. "Ohio Is for Lovers," Hawthorne Heights
Some people like to say that real emo is "emotional hardcore," splintered off in the '80s by bands like Rites of Spring. To me, that's ridiculous: So-called first wave emo (at the time called emocore) is just hardcore with sappy lyrics. Today's emo kids do not, I assure you, give a fuck about Guy Picciotto. But songs like "Ohio Is for Lovers," with its hyper-melodic power-punk refrain set above a hardcore growl, cause the confusion. Hawthorne Heights sounds poppy and polished, but there's something different here: that growl, the grit in their guitars, the over-the-top emotion. That's pure, undistilled emo, and it's wonderful.

9. "Teenagers," My Chemical Romance
Being a kid who feels alienated from other teens and misunderstood by adults is part of the emo experience, and it's captured perfectly here by My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way. The odd thing is that, as Way told the New York Times, he wrote the song about being on the other side of the equation on a teen-filled subway car: "That was the first time I felt old. I was nervous and I was a target. I felt like I had become a parent figure or part of the problem." That's a lot more self-awareness than the genre is usually given credit for.

8. "Lucky Denver Mint," Jimmy Eat World
Straddling the line between emotional pop-punk and the mainstream emo of the '00s, Jimmy Eat World's breakthrough hit isn't overemotional lyrically, but the delicate interplay between the bass and the guitar, and the pure longing in Jim Adkins' voice, make this an all-time emo classic.

7. "I Constantly Thank God for Esteban,"
Panic! At The Disco
If Clarity is the first classic of the emo era, Panic! At the Disco's 2005 masterpiece A Fever You Can't Sweat Out might just be the last. "I Constantly Thank God for Esteban" is gloriously over the top and comes together so perfectly it makes me forgive Las Vegas for giving us the decadently un-emo — and all-around awful — Killers. This is the theatrical side of emo (the hair, the showmanship) at its best and it's a sight to behold.

6. "Sic Transit Gloria . . . Glory Fades,"
Brand New
Ah, those dual vocals: When used properly, they take an ordinary pop breakup song and make it truly sound like your heart being ripped out. Not that "Sic Transit Gloria" is a typical breakup song. Actually, I think it might be about a guy being raped by his girlfriend. Pretty weird, but entirely emo.

5. "10 Minutes," The Get Up Kids
Ah, The Get Up Kids: Never has a band been so irredeemably emo and been so uncomfortable with that fact. Frontman Matt Pryor has gone to incredible lengths to disassociate himself with the tag, but it's stuck, and "10 Minutes" will show you why. A burst of blissful pop with lyrics like, "Don't be gone when I get home; you're all I have. If I had to explain it, I wouldn't know where to start."

4. "D in Detroit," The Anniversary
Emo is, as I said, a remarkably region-less genre, but the best emo bands do tend come from smaller cities in the middle Midwest. Kansas' The Anniversary, using a heartrending keyboard drone, somehow manages to make Des Moines sound romantic in this track off their absolutely perfect 2000 album Designing a Nervous Breakdown.

3. "Pink Triangle," Weezer
As I've said, I don't consider the so-called first wave of emo to really be emo, nor do I, for the most part, consider the "second" wave to be. Weezer's beloved 1996 album Pinkerton is, musically, not much different from their geeky alt-pop debut, but the lyrics were, clearly, inspirational to the emo acts to come. I'll call Pinkerton proto-emo and declare "Pink Triangle," an extended whine from a guy in love with a girl who turns out to be a lesbian, the best reason for seeing it that way. "Pink Triangle" is, to my mind, the emo equivalent of what The Stooges' "Search and Destroy" is to punk: a large part of the blueprint for what was later constructed.

2. "Sugar, We're Goin' Down," Fall Out Boy
If this song isn't one of your guilty pleasures, it's because: a) you have no sense of shame or b) you've got no love of pop. F.O.B. might be almost as much a boy band as a legitimate rock act, but their first Top 10 hit might just be the most listened-to emo track of all time. And, damn it, it's a great one. It is not, however, our number one with a bullet.

1. "The Suffering," Coheed and Cambria
Coheed and Cambria's "The Suffering" isn't just a catchy little song about lying/breaking up/getting married, it's also pretty much the embodiment of emo, from Claudio Sanchez's nervy voice to the hey-hey chorus sing-along featuring a female voice. The band fashions themselves prog-rockers, and the track is on a record called Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Vol.1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, but all the bullshit about messianic kings of other galaxies can't hid the pure emo-ness of this song, nor should they want it to.

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26 comments
nerve898
nerve898

this list sucks. you named the worst bands in music lol. hawthorne heights suck

cookie
cookie

May I say fuck you for being cruel people. WTF!
 Thanks for helping me fell worthless.

chataniwilson
chataniwilson

I love the black veil brides and im definitely emo. thanks blackstar, I feel a lot better about myself, but I still have a long way to go. I swear bullies are stupid and irrational.

blackstar
blackstar

g.....society is so messed up. Just listen to yourself..... emo is a label. They use it to bully us. Why do you hate "emos" when we are not even choosing to be labeled that....? What does emo even mean anymore? Do you even know? Yeah, yeah, heres your answer: emos are pathetic and whiny and they cut themselves and they cry for no reason..........blah blah blah......Your a BULLY. A BULLY. And its not your fault, its society. You don't know what goes on in our lives!!!!!!! So SHUT UP!!!! We don't all cut. Yeah, some of us do. some of us dont. But why would you hate people for being depressed????!!!! Your SICK and CRUEL!! Think about it!!! Now everyones like, "Emo!!! Go cut yourself!!! Go kill yourself!!!!", and thats suddenly "OK" because its not a PERSON....Its a worthless EMO. Its still bullying!!!!! Don't label us. Don't stereotype us. Don't mess with us. Why do you freaking care if I like The black veil brides???!!!! and i just know people are gonnna say bvb isnt emo.....haha....well I know but I don't live by your stereotypes. You make me SICK......

blackstar
blackstar

.....society is so messed up. Just listen to yourself..... emo is a label. They use it to bully us. Why do you hate "emos" when we are not even choosing to be labeled that....? What does emo even mean anymore? Do you even know? Yeah, yeah, heres your answer: emos are pathetic and whiny and they cut themselves and they cry for no reason..........blah blah blah......Your a BULLY. A BULLY. And its not your fault, its society. You don't know what goes on in our lives!!!!!!! So SHUT UP!!!! We don't all cut. Yeah, some of us do. some of us dont. But why would you hate people for being depressed????!!!! Your SICK and CRUEL!! Think about it!!! Now everyones like, "Emo!!! Go cut yourself!!! Go kill yourself!!!!", and thats suddenly "OK" because its not a PERSON....Its a worthless EMO. Its still bullying!!!!! Don't label us. Don't stereotype us. Don't mess with us. Why do you freaking care if I like The black veil brides???!!!! and i just know people are gonnna say bvb isnt emo.....haha....well I know but I don't live by your stereotypes. You make me SICK......

buddey6294
buddey6294

Fall out boy...is not an emo band....and there's no reason to be shameful for listening to it...The best part though was when you pretty much said that emo kids are losers when you're probably some preppy little douche with his dick in his hand.

Xxprincessxx091
Xxprincessxx091

no .... no . ok . listen . NOBODY listens to all the same bands . EVERYONE has a little different taste . it can be similar , but not the fucking same , sick of lame people fighting over crap ...

Zeny C.
Zeny C.

Dude your kinda a jerk! Just because you don't like emo music doesn't mean other people feel the same way! IT'S CALLED HAVING YOUR ON OPINION LEARN ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Capesonparade
Capesonparade

Sunny Day Real Estate, Capn Jazz, Promise Ring, Braid. This scribe has disappointed me on a Saturday night by referencing the bands that came after the aforementioned. My life contains enough confusion and sorrow without being further befuddled by musical ignorance. Accurate music history is important because, uh, oh hell whatever everybody just think what you want, I'm going to further browse the internet. All alone. With Her in the back of my mind.

oji
oji

wag kayo mag away

colton
colton

dude ur a fucking retard,i dont comment on anything but i had to,for start none of what u listed was emo,Amie was right thats real emo and dont forget the used,but dude seriously u dont even know what emo is so u just descraced and degrade people who already have hard enough lifes so go fuck urself

OldSkool
OldSkool

Sell My Old Clothes I'm Off To Heaven & Understanding A Car Crash should be a must...

reader
reader

Fall Out Boy is a great renowned band. You should do some research before you post stuff like that. Their a great punk rock/emo (allmusic.com and other verified sources) band and influenced so many people.

"At least everyone who matters is emo" is degrading. Stop putting up comments like you think you're doing something; you're less of a person by doing that. And anyway therer are better emo songs out there. I'm not emo; I just have variety and appreciate variety music

Amie
Amie

Well... i have a few complaints about those dumb songs you suggested. So called "emo songs"? What the hell was that! fall out boy coheed and cambria he sounds like a chick fall out boy is gay some on the get up kids? they suck. What you should be suggesting is like Slipknot and Disturbed and Escape the Fate and Bullet For My Valentine ICP this is what i listen to. and you should take serious note to it. Maybe post some. Cause' no normal "emo"? person listens to fall out boy. :v)

hank
hank

u forgot finch. PATD are ass clowns.

sean
sean

wtf did you really just compare Clarity to PATD trash!?

ajkeefner13
ajkeefner13

@ghostfacethethirteen you need to research more the genre of emo...Jimmy Eat World, Brand New, The Get Up Kids are definitely emo. They are a part of the 2nd wave of emo in the 90's, early 2000's.

ajkeefner13
ajkeefner13

@colton those bands aren't emo at all buddy...you need to research the genre more. It started in the 80's as "emotional hardcore" and then the 2nd run started in the mid 90's with bands like The Promise Ring, Jimmy Eat World, Alkaline Trio, etc.
The 3rd wave was with bands like Fall Out Boy, Coheed, Panic At The Disco, and now there actually is a 4th wave happening similar to the 2nd wave.

buddey6294
buddey6294

@Amie Not all 'emo' people are they same. Some listen to slow music, like piano. Just because you listen to it doesn't make it emo. You're probably some emo wannabe who's trying to be cool and failing at it. Go fuck yourself.

kenzie
kenzie

Wow. That was probably the DUMBEST commetn I have ever read. Alot of Emo people listen to them. I enjoy the part where you said, "This is what I listen to. And you should take serious note to it," after you named off bands that aren't even what is called "Emo". Not everything revolves around you honey, or your "Emo" music tastes. (:

Voodoomaster1212
Voodoomaster1212

Fucc u if fall our boy aint emo y is it listed as emo rocc?? Slipknot is metal and icp is horrorcore rap I fuccong retard fake emo

reader
reader

there are a lot of emos who listen to fall out boy (it's not just about the hair or excesive black clothes)...check your sources,, not like wikipedia or etc..

ghostfacethethirteen
ghostfacethethirteen

Yah, no. Other than the 1st wave you listed, the only other emo band listed were Jimmy (at the time of the '90s) & the Promise Ring. Coheed isn't emo; neither is Fall-Out or Panic!. Just stuff that the media got giddy about calling "Emo". And BS about the 4th wave... that stuffs been going on since with Snowing, Empire! Empire!, Football, etc. & the likes. People just stopped paying attention. Maybe I'm not the one who needs to do some research...

 
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