Emo Bands | Graphic by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian
Get out the black eyeliner and prepare to spend that HotTopic HotCash on Invader Zim merch as we shout out the top ten 2000s emo bands. Remember, this list is subjective and should not be taken seriously (except for No. 1).
Before we begin, here is a list of honorable mentions that did not quite make the list.
15: Metro Station
While not technically the type of band that would truly be considered an emo band (if you want to get into the semantics, they are more of a scene-kid band), it is hard for us former emo kids to deny that Metro Station’s 2007 bop “Shake It” was not blasting in our MP3s at some point.
14: Simple Plan
Simple Plan essentially makes music FOR emo kids. Songs like “I’m Just a Kid” and “Welcome To My Life” ruled my MP3 in middle school, but Simple Plan has other hits as well. They also joined the band Bowling For Soup in the 2000’s-rock-bands-that-have-made-theme-songs-for-children’s-media club, as they performed the titular theme song for “What’s New, Scooby Doo?” in 2002. Overall, an iconic band.
13: Avril Lavigne
At one point in time, Avril was known as the princess of punk, and it would be a poor decision to not include her. Her music has that tinge of girl power and riot girl energy that anyone can bump to while also being incredibly poignant. She is one of those artists that anything on her discography is good (except for “Hello Kitty,” but we will not talk about that today).
12: Black Veil Brides
Black Veil Brides is a well-known band. They have a lot of good music, and they are a staple in the subgenre. The reason they are so low is just due to personal opinion. While not personally caring for this band overall, I can admit that they are a staple of the genre. That being said, some good songs from BVB are “In The End,” “Fallen Angels” and “The Vengeance.”
11: Pierce The Veil
Pierce The Veil is a staple in any self-respecting emo kid’s playlist. They are an amazing band, and they are not any higher only due to how iconic bands above it are. A good song from them to check out is “King For A Day.”
Now that those are out the way, let’s get to the official list!
10: Mayday Parade
Mayday Parade has a DIVERSE set of albums, but a lot of their music falls under the “sad music to cry to” umbrella that a lot of emo music falls under. All seven of their albums are fantastic. If there was a song that I feel like everyone should listen to, it would be “Terrible Things,” which is a heartbreaking song about a man who falls in love with a woman and becomes a single father after she dies of cancer.
9: The All-American Rejects
This band is a sleeper hit. Almost everyone knows their songs but do not quite know them as a band. Their best album is their 2005 release “Move Along.” That album has AAR classics, like the titular “Move Along” and “Dirty Little Secret,” but their 2008 single “Gives You Hell” is also a good choice. Either way, you can not go wrong with anything in their discography.
Flyleaf identifies itself as a Christian band. While you can see the general idea of Christianity, they make many more types of music than just the typical “Christian rock.” All of their songs have a story, they all paint a picture. For example, the song “Cassie” was written about the Columbine High School massacre and paints a picture of one (if not many) of the victims. Some other songs to check out include “Chasm,” “I’m So Sick,” “All Around Me” and “I’m Sorry.”
7: Green Day
Green Day is actually the oldest band on this list (debuting in 1987). That does not mean that they have not been one of the greatest bands of our generation as well. A lot of Green Day’s music is fun, and it makes you want to head-bang and dance. Songs like “American Idiot” and “Holiday” come to mind, but then they also have more thoughtful songs, like “21 Guns,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Good Riddance” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”
Overall, a solid choice and a staple in any former emo kid’s playlist.
6: Linkin Park
Linkin Park is one of those bands where there really is not a bad song in their discography. They are probably known for more of their early 2000s work, but everything they have produced has been amazing. Overall, they are very consistent and anything they have made would be a good jumping off point to get into them if you have not.
Also, we can not mention Linkin Park without saying Rest in Peace to Chester Bennington, their lead singer.
5: Panic! At the Disco
Panic! At The Disco (PaTD) is an interesting case of an emo band evolving with the times. They are known for their iconic album “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” from 2005 with hits like “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” or “Lying Is The Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off.” However, unlike most emo bands, PaTD has evolved with music that is popular. In 2019, PaTD’s lead singer Brendon Urie collabed with Taylor Swift on her hit song “ME!” That is why they are not in the top ten like most would think they deserve. They have almost transcended the genre of emo rock and become what I like to call an “everything band.”
Paramore is one of those bands that are considered a staple of an emo kid playlist. Hayley Williams and her early 2000s work is probably what the band is known for; but Paramore, like Panic! At The Disco, is a band that has been able to change with the times. Their recent music has been stellar. It is hard to pick an album from their discography, but if you want one of their staples, definitely go for “Riot!” or “Brand New Eyes.”
3: Evanescence / Amy Lee
This band—with lead singer Amy Lee—is responsible for many iconic songs of the 2000s: “Going Under,” “Call Me When You’re Sober,” “Bring Me To Life,” “Everybody’s Fool.” All amazing and iconic songs. When talking about Evanescence, one can not help but bring up the fanfiction named after their song “My Immortal,” which gives the band more infamy. Even just recently, they came out with an album in 2021 that was just as good as their early 2000s work.
2: Fall Out Boy
This literally would not be an emo band list without Fall Out Boy. Their 2007 album “Infinity On High” is probably the album that has the most well-known songs. Not only is Fall Out Boy a band where every song they have made has been a hit, but they have also consecutively put out new albums that have kept up with music trends of the day. There is bound to be one song that you like off of all of their 23 albums and EPs. Fall Out Boy DOMINATED the early 2000s and still is making hits to this day
1: My Chemical Romance
Yeah, so maybe this entire article was written so I can talk about My Chemical Romance (MCR), but I think we ALL can agree that “Welcome to the Black Parade” is the emo version of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The music video and imagery for “The Black Parade” album in general: stunning, no notes.
Not even discussing “The Black Parade,” MCR consistently has amazing albums. What is also different about MCR is that almost every album is a concept album, which at the time was not a thing a lot of bands like them did.
Whether it is the combined stories of their first and second albums “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love” and “Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge,” which follows the Demolition Lovers and their misadventures that then turns into the guy having to kill 1,000 bad people to see his lover again.
Or one of their recent albums, “Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys,” which is about a rebellion group called the Killjoys that fight against an evil corporation, BLind, that is working to take over the government.
Or even their fourth (and probably most known album) “The Black Parade,” which is about a man who is faced with his own mortality as he is dying of cancer. There is a character named the Parader that is showing him that he was not necessarily a good person, but with facing this, he has learned to carry on living and dies peacefully, seeing a parade that takes him to the afterlife.
Lead singer Gerard Way is a true creative, and you can tell that he has put planning in everything that the band does. Similar to artists like Taylor Swift, MCR has eras, each one different from the last and their style of music changing with it, from the dark and grungy feel of the “Bullets” era to the more traditionally pop-punk/emo feel of the “Revenge” era.
There is a dark and macabre aesthetic of “The Black Parade” era followed by the bouncy and lively feel of the “Danger Days” era. Even now with the release of their 2022 song “The Foundations of Decay,” there is a new era forming.
What is good about this band is that even though these albums are filled with symbolism and are used to further a story, you can listen to EVERY song they have made (unknowing of the story) and you will not be confused. They have also been able to keep up with the times, like everyone else in the top five has.
This is just a silly little list that should not really be taken that seriously. There are SO many bands for this genre that my list could look completely different from yours. What we share is a love for the genre and a passion for music.
If you are interested in any of the songs or bands in this article, here is a short playlist that you can listen to.