#4 i listened to 40 EMO albums


I am continuing my mad quest to just listen to a shit tonne of music this year because it adds more variety into my life + hopefully I’ll encounter some things I really like. So far I’ve listened to the top 50 albums of 2021 according to NME, then the same for Pitchfork, and recently I finished the top 50 albums of all time according to Rolling Stones. That last one took me a long, long time to get through so I thought I would make it easier for myself in the 4th round. I found another list on Rolling Stones for the top 40 EMO albums of all time. I had high (high) hopes. Surely, this would be consistently pleasant and easy?

Well, the thing is, I kinda thought emo was something else. I kinda definitely thought emo existed when I was starting senior school — you know the My Chemical Romance, Panic, Fall Out Boy, Paramore era? When I was approaching ages 16/17 and I started listening to Brand New, I thought that was grown up emo and we were all growing up together. I thought that was it because I didn’t look into it any further. I was in a tiny bubble where I thought those few albums were the only ones to exist. I thought emo was side fringes, and black and red stripes, and kids’ mental health news headlines that scared my parents.

But no, according to music experts, emo was around before I was even born. Your Favorite Weapon by Brand New came out in 2001 WHEN I WAS SEVEN. I was getting to that music when I was ready for it; it wasn’t waiting for me, it was already there.

Listening to this backlog of emo albums from 1985 onwards — the earliest title on the list coming from Rites of Spring — made me realise I do not like emo as a blanket genre. I’m sorry. I am … grateful for it because it led the way for the later albums that I still love to this day. But no. A lot of it sounds like a few sad boys with sore throats in rooms recording music on their phones, and this is before people had phones that could even record things on, so idk what shit they were using. Some rough stuff though. Can’t understand what they’re saying, the different parts of the songs are echoing and yet they are also too close together.

The rough recordings and tinny, unclear songs made me REALLY appreciate the clean production of the 2000s stuff — the albums I incorrectly thought were the beginning and end of emo music. The other discovery was that pre-2001, the mood was kinda… flat. Afterwards, there were theatrics in the lyrics, weird stories told with absurdism and guts. The other songs might have also had weird stories but they were not articulating themselves very well so who knows.

Big education. There should be a term for pre-2000s emo and the later stuff. Emo and nu emo. Emo and Naughties Emo. Old emo and my emo. Bad emo and good emo (sorry, no offence to any Americans that are older than me and hear it through rose-tinted.. ears). Big education that I am glad for. Good feelings for completing the list. Still deciding what list to go for next, but based on how much I enjoyed the best of year lists at the beginning of my quest, I’m thinking I’m gonna do another one of them. Maybe 2021. I was dead to the world in 2021, I should do some catching up!

here are some songs that I love that I already knew about lol: