Emo is one of those musical curse words, like "Sold Out" or Nickelback. Calling a band "emo" is usually an attempt at putting them down or is often a good enough reason to distance oneself from that band. What does it mean? No one really knows. It's short for emotional, so does that mean every band that has emotional lyrics is emo? The Beatles? Korn? Pearl Jam? What i've found more often than not is people associate the appearance of the group members with the negative side of emo. They're more afraid of who they'll stand next to at a concert than who's playing on stage. Which is bullshit. Like music for the music, not the hairstyle of the lead singer. Here's 10 great Emo songs that let the music speak for themselves.
10. The Used - "Taste Of Ink"
I don't know why i've always identified with this song, but the The Used are one the most attacked emo groups, especially singer Burt McCracken, mainly for the superficial reasons above. "Taste Of Ink" is a great song no matter which way you look at it or what genre you feel it falls under.
9. My Chemical Romance - "Helena"
Perhaps one of the greatest songs ever labelled "emo". "Helena" is a powerful song about death and loss, and while i'm not a fan of My Chemical Romance's current direction, this song can still give me chills. A very unique video as well, the usual chorus of back-up dancers placed in the glum setting of a funeral for a young girl. Love the umbrellas at the end too.
8. Tegan and Sara - "Speak Slow"
Canadian twin sisters Tegan & Sara can conjure so much rage and anger in the male dominated world of mainstream rock by a mere mention of their name. Which is so unfortunate because of the sheer number of masterpieces these lovely ladies have created. With such a huge library to choose from "Speak Slow" still remains one of the catchiest.
7. Taking Back Sunday - "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)"
Perhaps another tell tale sign of an emo group is long, drawn out song titles. A few of the bands mentioned here have a penchant for them. Taking Back Sunday is a widely successful group that never got overtly popular in the mainstream, which i'm sure they're fine with. Though the band has suffered through turmoil and line changes "Cute Without The 'E"" is forever cemented as one of recent history's greatest tracks. Period.
6. Armor For Sleep - "Car Underwater"
Some naysayers will point to the consistent theme of suicide and self-harm present in emo songs. I guess a few of them do include themes as such, but I don't think it's anything new in popular music. I also don't think that's a good enough reason to deny yourself great tunes like "Car Underwater" by Armor For Sleep
Video is kinda "meh" though.
5. Boy Sets Fire - "My Life In The Knife Trade"
One of the pioneers on this list, Boy Sets Fire were "emo" before it was cool to hate "emo". Their album After The Eulogy is still regarded as one of the genre's best. "My Life In The Knife Trade" is a great song, in fact i'd put it in my top ten...maybe even five...of all time. BSF desolved before the whole backlash thing came to fruition, which is a shame. Emo could use a champion right about now.
4. AFI - "Silver & Cold"
Another one of emo's poster-children of hate. Davey Havok & co's ambiguous choice of style and dress definitely deflected a few listeners from their greatest moments. Instead of insulting their eye makeup in the video, why not marvel at the masterful guitar work? Or lose yourself in the Havok's lyrics? I think you'll feel relieved.
3. Mayday Parade - "Jamie All Over"
Emo haters will constantly point to the fact that the singers always whine about girls in their songs. Looking back over the last, ohhh I don't know, 60 years of music I can't see why this is suddenly considered new and unacceptable. "Jamie All Over" is a great summer time song as well. For a dark beach on a warm night.
2. Plain White Tees - "A Lonely September"
Oh i'm getting shit for this one.
1. Something Corporate - "Konstantine"
And finally le majuste. Something Corporate never cracked billboard or mainstream radio and thats just the way them and their fans want it. "Konstantine" was a gift for all of us who dared to ignore the stereotypes of emo music and allowed it's angelic chorus into our world. Clocking in at over 8 minutes long, a friend of mine called it "The Stairway of our generation" referring of course to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". "Konstantine" went unreleased on a SC album for years, being passed on from fan to fan via file sharing and tape trading. Doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, I hope you can find a way to enjoy this.
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