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30 Emo Songs Every Former 'Emo Kid' Can Still Relate To

best emo songs nostalgic emo lyrics
Entertainment And News, Self

It's not just a phase!

I can't be the only one who went through a particularly "emo" phase in my early teens. So, for all of my fellow emo kids, check out these 30 best emo songs that are sure to give you those nostalgic feels from your teenage emo days (eye liner not included). 

If you Google "emo", you will find the following explanation:

Emo: a style of rock music resembling punk but having more complex arrangements and lyrics that deal with more emotional subjects. Adjective — denoting or relating to emo and its associated subculture. "an emo band".


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We all knew "being emo" wasn't just about wearing a ton of eyeliner, wearing black all the time, or being absolutely convinced the world sucks and just doesn’t get you. It was also about the killer music! The emo music of our youth was simply wonderful, whether you are into the softer side like me or more of a “screamo emo” type.

Look through this list and see if one of your old favorites made the cut.


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And yes, I’m aware Avril Lavigne isn’t truly emo music — but have you seen her in the 2000’s? Don’t hate me too much for adding her to this list. Relive your "emo" phase with these 30 hits from your youth.


1. Nobody’s Home by Avril Lavigne

So Avril Lavigne isn’t the first emo music artist that comes to anyone’s mind, and I want to acknowledge that before one of you  “ex-emos” calls me out for being a poser who doesn’t ... like ... get anything. However, I’m sure that we can all remember the 2000s Avril. She had the typical emo raccoon eyes, dark — sometimes blonde — hair with punky pink highlights, and she thought posers made everything "So Complicated."

She gets a spot on my list because she was one of the people I listened to the most when I entered my "emo phase” and listening to her old music has stopped tremendously for me ever since I left it behind. Yes, I was one of those moody, sensitive, soft emos but honestly, we all dressed like her at one point or another and this song speaks to you when you’re in the middle of a life crisis. ADMIT IT.


2. Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls

Here’s another soft one I used to listen to before I even had a clue how it was going to go with boys. Little did my surprisingly deep and alarmingly melancholic mind realize how few boys would even get to pass a second date with me unscathed. Let alone get into and stay in my heart long enough for me to get heartbroken.

Like, please don’t give up forever to touch me. It’s not needed.



3. Predictable by Good Charlotte

Good Charlotte definitely gives people the emo feels. This song, in particular, was recommended to me by my best friend. He doesn’t strike me as an emo dude by normal standards. However, I understand why he made this song choice as his recommendation. It’s so relatable to be hung up on someone who you know is no good for you in the long run.


 

4. Face Down by The Red Jump Suit Apparatus

This is probably a good song for a workout. My inner psycho appreciates this song and this is one of the only songs with screams that my ears can handle.

To be fair, the lyrics are very meaningful and I’m so glad that at least one guy from the past was lyrically challenging toxic masculinity/hyper masculinity. I sort of wish some of today’s people would take notes.


5. Thanks for the Memories by Fall Out Boy

You know damn well that you can’t write any sort of emo-ish, punkish, rockish list without including Fall Out Boy. It’s the makeup, of course.

Actually, Fall Out Boy always has songs that have relatable lyrics and I think that’s what a lot of us emos search for in music. Plus, this song actually has a good beat. It’s definitely not one of those songs you can listen to as you cry yourself to sleep at night or during a depression nap. 


6. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World 

This was probably one of my jams until I was sixteen years old. This is probably also one of the few positive songs I have on this list. I was always an ambitious little emo. Part of it might have been escapism masked as my hopes and dreams.

This song really spoke to me when I was down, self-critical, or unsure of the future. 



7. Teenage Dirtbag by Wheetus

This is the actual national anthem of every guy who I ever rejected from the time I was emo. And I’m sure that the club has been joined by numerous other “emo girl” heartbreakers. That’s the only plausible explanation I have for why the number of “Nice Guys” whining about how their lady friends don’t love them back is growing exponentially.

However, I think we all start feeling like dirt bags when we’re teenagers and finally dealing with failure or rejection. It’s relatable to everyone.


8. Poor Unfortunate Souls by The Jonas Brothers

Don’t hate me for putting the Jonas Brothers who were probably even less emo than Avril Lavigne was during the 2000s (OK, definitely less Emo than Avril). But, don’t we all remember when they went through their phase too? They had the wild hair and acted so edgy/teen angsty. I think their version of Poor Unfortunate Souls was an attempt at “screamo emo” which I personally wasn’t a huge fan of during my more mentally tumultuous days.


9. Gives You Hell by All-American Rejects

I low-key remember having a love-hate relationship with this band. Although, I can say I get their band name now. Plus, I don’t think anyone can make an emo list of any preference without mentioning them. This is one of the songs I do remember loving.

Just like with Iris, I understood the lyrics before I even had a clue all the trouble I’d have in the age of sliding into dms and never-ending wyd's.


10. Misery Business by Paramore

I’m 100% positive I was putting this song on repeat because, again, my young emo mind understood the lyrics. Hayley Williams is a feminist, as am I, and she recently got flack for this song. She apologized and acknowledged she knows better now. I commend her for it, and boy, have my thoughts grown ever since those days as well.

However, I do think she can be feminist and still have written this song because, like she said, she was too young at the time to get it ... and also ... all of us females have to acknowledge that we secretly have that one female we can’t stand.


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11. Sugar, We’re Going Down by Fall Out Boy

First off, are we really surprised to see Fall Out Boy on this list yet again? I don’t think so. Can we all just acknowledge how relatable this song is at the moment? There’s been more than once in my life when I wondered if someone was more than I bargained for in life. And here I am, yet again, wondering if the crazies that keep on coming are worth falling for or ... going down.


12. Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have... By Panic! At The Disco

Yes, it is. Especially if you’re doing it to someone who isn’t so trustworthy themselves. I’m just kidding ... probably. Also, I’ll add that it’s probably even more fun than taking your clothes off. However, I do have to acknowledge that this song is every scorned boy’s anthem.


13. My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne

The above being said, we have to have an anthem for when you realize the guy you care for is a lying disappointment. For me, this was that song, which I also listened to if another female was the cause of disappointment in my life.

I’m pretty sure I put this song on repeat. I guess I had disappointments left and right. So much for our happy endings. 


14. I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At the Disco

That’s a pretty good description of my writing, to be honest. My entire writing career is, perhaps, a sin against humanity. Anyway, I loved how this song was one that actually told a complete story along with an enjoyable beat. Sometimes, I think music is either beautifully lyrical or just super catchy. As if writing a lyrical song to a good beat is such a wild concept.


15. Numb by Linkin Park 

I used to love this song so much because it's obvious that if a sensitive person becomes emotionally exhausted, they start feeling numb. I remember that there was a version with Jay-Z in it. I thought I should include it because I’m sure a fellow emo out there would appreciate it.


16. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

This might perhaps be the anthem of all of us emos. I think it describes all of us perfectly. We feel lonely and joke that we have shallow hearts ... because ... we probably do. This song is for our spirit animal residing within us, the lone wolf, because the wolf is made to be in a pack but they have to break away at times.

This is for our broken dreams, fellow emos.


17. Bring Me To Life by Evanescence

My mother hated this song almost as much as the fact that I refused to be less "emo." She especially disliked it during specific times of the day because she found it to be too depressing and she doesn’t listen to depressing lyrics or beats during those times. I, of course, saw the lyrics as meaningful or relatable and only slightly depressing.

I mean, she’s sort of right, though. Look at that title.



18. Move Along by All-American Rejects

This should really be my anthem and mantra nowadays. I should really move along when I see that things are not working out in my favor. I think that’s a lesson a lot of us need to learn. We get too attached to things or people not meant for us and then we can’t let go. In the end, we end up doing as much harm to ourselves as other people can. 


19. Shake It by Metro Station

I’d rank these guys as a little more emo than Avril Lavigne, for sure. They’re the soft, go to sleep with tear-smudged eyeliner, kind of emo. I loved bopping to this song when I was younger even though I was yet to learn about tension or how stressful any kind of relationship is with another human being. 



20. Teenagers by My Chemical Romance

Uggghhhh, the angst and stress is real with this song. Mostly, because an ex showed this song to me to not-so-subtly inform me, a writer, that I need to expand my vocabulary because I remind him of teenagers. I’m about as fond of this song as I am of him.

By the way, I used to tell him to break up with me every week, more or less. So that’s that.


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21. Check Yes, Juliet by We The Kings

This is another sentimental one that I vaguely remember from my darker days. It’s such a romantic song that even includes the stereotypical rainfall and rock throwing featured in the older love stories.

For us emos, this song is when we finally acknowledged and openly admitted that we’ve fallen for someone else. This is one of those songs for when you’re sure your feelings for someone else are so deep and so special that nobody else could ever get it. 



22. Heavy by Linkin Park 

So, this is one of the songs on the list that isn’t much of an oldie but I loved the lyrics. They were so relatable and, when Chester passed away, I had to stop listening to it. Partly because the song made even more sense after he was gone. 


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23. American Idiot by Green Day 

I liked this song when I was more angsty because it sounded edgier. Now, I like it even more for the lyrics. I think this song is relatable to our current times. The songs that stand the test of time can frequently be ones with great lyrics, even if the people singing them don’t sound the best. 



24. Stacy’s Mom by Fountain of Wayne

Everyone knows this song. On social media, jokes about this song are frequently posted about how people want to name their daughters Stacy. I have yet to do it, and probably won't, but it's the nostalgia that counts. The concept of having a crush on someone’s mom has been and always will be weird to me. It’s a catchy tune though. Dance, little emos, dance! 


25. 1985 by Bowling For Soup

I’ll admit that I thought about it a million times before I put this song on the list. It’s not the most emo song by any means. However, I loved this song during that time period of my life. It has those mildly pretentious lyrics that all young emos love. It’s like the “screw you” of music we all would love to give to the overly perfect person we love to hate.



26. Just The Girl by The Click Five

I’ll admit I found this song fairly recently but fell in love with it right away because it describes me and I laugh at myself often. The only thing I can’t relate to is that no guy is that obsessed with me. Nor would they ever be that obsessed with me if I acted like the girl in this song all the time. We’d both need therapy.



27. Dirty Little Secret by All-American Rejects

I don’t think I’d quite like to be someone’s dirty little secret. I was never one of those emo teens. I never liked doing forbidden things just for the sake of it so I’d have to think twice before being someone’s dirty little secret. I do think the subject matter is super emo, though, and that’s what gave it its spot on the list.


28. I’m Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance

With a band name like theirs are we surprised they’ve reappeared on this list? Again, this song is about heartbreak from the view of the man. That’s expected as all of us emos are sentimental and need to reflect on tragic events, the event in this song being a less than perfect relationship. 


29. That’s What You Get by Paramore

This is another oldie I was obsessed with. Yet again, back when I had no clue what this song meant in depth. I was too young, of course. However, I will forever love Hayley and how the lyrics are always blunt but emotional. I often feel like what the title is implying whenever something negative ends up happening that I should’ve foreseen.


30. She’s Kinda Hot by 5 Seconds of Summer

All right, don’t shoot me. I’m fully aware these kids are new and aren’t (fully) emo. Still, I know that at least one of them has struggled with mental health (not that ALL emo kids struggle with mental health), but this song was inspired by that struggle.

Plus, as a band, they’ve been inspired musically by some of these other artists on the list.


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Camila Isopo Novi is a fiction writer and journalist who loves babies, reading the comments (even though they say writers shouldn't), and hopes to win the lottery one day.

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