50 Songs Every Former Emo Kid Can Still Relate To

It's not just a phase!

2000s emo bands Featureflash Photo Agency, agwilson, s_bukley / Shutterstock

If you Google the word emo, you'll find all sorts of definitions: "a type of guitar-based rock music derived from punk rock but characterized by highly emotive, melodramatic, and deeply personal lyrics," "a person who is overly sensitive, emotional, and full of angst, or who adopts a certain style characterized by dyed black hair, tight t-shirts and skinny jeans," and so on.

But for people who grew up in the 2000s, "being emo" wasn't just about wearing a ton of eyeliner, swathing our bodies in black clothes, or being absolutely convinced the world sucks and just doesn’t get you. It was also about killer music!


Emo songs of the 2000s were wonderful, whether you were into the softer side, or were more of a “screamo emo” type who was more into the punk rock side of the genre.

Whatever your flavor, this list is guaranteed to have at least a few songs that were once (or still are!) your favorites! So go ahead and relive your emo phase by tuning into this playlist.

50 Best Emo Songs Of The 2000s

1. "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut From the Team)" by Taking Back Sunday

Most of your friends, or maybe you yourself, probably had a major crush on frontman, Adam Lazzara, back in the day. Not only was the 2000s a time of clever song titles, but of scathing lyrics to sing about your ex.


In a 2018 interview, Lazzara explained, "The lyrics came from a relationship that I’d just gotten out of at the time... I was 18 at the time, and every relationship feels like the be all and end all at that age."

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2. "Ohio Is for Lovers" by Hawthorne Heights

Who doesn't recall screaming "I can't make it on my own!" at the top of their lungs when this song came out? Though it touches on instances of self-harm that was often associated with emo, as well as the tragic passing of rhythm guitarist Casey Calvert in 2007, it's safe to say this song holds up to this day.


3. "Dark Blue" by Jack's Mannequin

Jack's Mannequin was originally a solo project for lead singer and writer Andrew McMahon, who fronted the band Something Corporate until going on hiatus in 2004. From his solo project came this song about loneliness within a relationship.

4. "Hands Down" by Dashboard Confessional

Whether it was the acoustic version or the regular song, "Hands Down" was a staple in budding romances. Because there's nothing as exhilarating as that first kiss you shared when the streets were wet, the gate was locked, and you stood at the door with your hands on his or her waist.


5. "Thnks fr th Mmrs" by Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy always has songs that have relatable lyrics and that’s what a lot of emo kids searched for in music. With 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

One of the few positive emo songs, many listened to Jimmy Eat World as as way to escape. For some, this song really spoke to them when they were feeling down, self-critical, or unsure of the future.


7. "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheetus

This is the actual national anthem of every guy you rejected during your emo phase. And surely the club was joined by numerous other “emo girl” heartbreakers.

That’s the only plausible explanation for the number of “Nice Guys” whining about how their lady friends don’t love them back.

8. "Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance

Once that first note of "Welcome to the Black Parade" played, everyone within range knew what was coming. From the piano intro to the build up and crescendo, every second of this song will inspire you to stand tall.


9. "Gives You Hell" by All-American Rejects

While some emo kids had a love-hate relationship with the All-American Rejects, this may have been the first song where the lyrics were completely understandable, especially before all the trouble you'd have in the age of sliding into DMs and never-ending WYDs.

10. "Misery Business" by Paramore

There's no doubt this song was constantly on repeat. Though lead singer Hayley Williams vowed to no longer sing this song after getting flack for the lyrics, it's still a bop.


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

It shouldn't be surprising to see Fall Out Boy on this list again. There’s been more than once in your life, surely, when you wondered if someone was more than you bargained for, right?

12. "Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" by Panic! At The Disco

Kings of the exceedingly long song titles, who else remembers trying to figure out what a harlequin girl was?


13. "The Taste of Ink" by The Used

Much like the first second of "Welcome to the Black Parade," the Used's "The Taste of Ink" is instantly recognizable. And while most of us probably didn't realize the heaviness of the lyrics at the time, over a decade later, it all makes sense.

14. "Seventy Times 7" by Brand New

Beginning with a rumor that John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday was hooking up with the girlfriend of Brand New's Jesse Lacey, thus ignited one of the most well-known emo feuds of the time.


Lacey wrote the track "Seventy Times 7" about the beef, with Taking Back Sunday responding with their own song "There's No 'I' In Team," which takes some of its lyrics directly from Brand New's song.

15. "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service

Whether it was driving to high school, enjoying a night in with friends, or blasting this song on the weekends, "Such Great Heights" was one of the most enjoyable songs from The Postal Service, only second to Ben Gibbard's Death Cab For Cutie.

16. "You're So Last Summer" by Taking Back Sunday

A song about the end of a relationship, this song sticks out, in particular, because of Adam Lazzara's vocals in the infamous line "The truth is you could slit my throat, and with my one last gasping breath I'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt."


17. "Sweetness" by Jimmy Eat World

"Sweetness" is about unrequited love and unvalidated feelings. Despite the heaviness of the lyrics, it's a catchy tune that has remained well-known and popular since its release in 2002.

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18. "Emily" by From First to Last

Before he was Skrillex, Sonny Moore was the frontman and lead vocalist in From First To Last. "Emily" was always thought to be about a girl who passed away after ending her own life, but it's probably more likely that Emily was just a girl Moore had dated.


19. "The Future Freaks Me Out" by Motion City Soundtrack

From the moment those lyrics "I'm on fire..." started playing, you knew it was time to dance, either alone or with friends. While the song isn't actually about dancing, just like the rest of Motion City Soundtrack's songs, they are quite fun to get up and move to!

20. "Teenagers" by My Chemical Romance

Most people who listened to this song were probably teenagers themselves, so the message didn't hit home quite yet. But in the more than 15 years since its release, "Teenagers" certainly hits closer to home nowadays.


21. "Numb" by Linkin Park

While Linkin Park is arguably more of an alternative rock band than an emo band, the lyrics on this song have an overall emo aesthetic. Especially since the song is thought to be about parents who have extremely high expectations that their children couldn't possibly live up to.

22. "Lover I Don't Have To Love" by Bright Eyes

Considered by most emo kids to be an anti-love anthem, "Love I Don't Have To Love" was certainly played on repeat by those who were broken-hearted or healing from love-related despair.


23. "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" by Panic! at the Disco

While it doesn't have quite as long a title as their other songs, this song told a complete story along with an enjoyable beat. Which Brendon Urie insisted on listeners to follow!

24. "Until the Day I Die" by Story of the Year

What a way to proclaim your love for someone! "Until the Day I Die" is a seriously emo take on a love song, with sort of violent and dark lyrics. Still, the message isn't hard to realize.


25. “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t” by Brand New

Another song supposedly about Adam Lazzara, this Brand New track's title actually comes from "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York." The meaning of the song itself? Well, it's a pretty dark song with great lyrics.

26. "Dirty Little Secret" by All-American Rejects

Perhaps it was an online romance, or even someone you knew and were getting close to. Either way, for emo teens, keeping your romantic life hidden was all part of what made this song so special to some.


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

Considered by some to be the song that skyrocketed them to popularity, "I'm Not Okay" comes from My Chemical Romance's second album, "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge." This song is about heartbreak from the view of the guy. It's to be expected, as most emo kids were and are sentimental, and need to reflect on tragic events.

28. "That’s What You Get" by Paramore

A completely relatable song about the joy and heartbreak of love, "That's What You Get" packs some seriously power-packed vocals. It serves as a reminder that even though love can come with hurt, we will always want it.


29. “Existentialism On Prom Night” by Straylight Run

Way before you were even old enough to attend prom, and probably understand the weight of the lyrics, you no doubt connected to the theme of feeling invincible in your youth, and wondering how things would be once you grew up.

30. “Letters To You” by Finch

When a relationship ends, it's normal to feel a sense of longing, and that's exactly what "Letters To You" is about. It may have even inspired you to write an actual letter to your ex.


31. "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" by Say Anything

Say Anything is a band known for their witty lyrics and sarcastic tone, and this song should always be remembered as such. Those lyrics... I mean, come on!

32. "Reinventing Your Exit" by Underoath

From the perfect screaming throughout their songs to the awesome guitar riffs, "Reinventing Your Exit" is all about being taken advantage of by someone else and hoping that somehow, someway you can find your way out.


33. "Boston" by Augustana

For angsty teens in high school listening to this song about moving somewhere new and starting over, it was no doubt an inspiration for many leaving their hometowns after graduation.

34. "Screaming Infidelities" by Dashboard Confessional

From their debut album "Swiss Army Romance," it's not only Dashboard Confessional's break-out song, but is considered to be the greatest emo song of all time! Fun fact: Actor Aaron Paul is featured in the music video.


35. "Radio" by Alkaline Trio

Filled with intensely emo lyrics (taking a radio into the bathtub... say no more), "Radio" is the perfect song to sing about someone you really don't like.

36. "Grand Theft Autumn (Where Is Your Boy Tonight)" by Fall Out Boy

From their debut album "Take This To Your Grave," Fall Out Boy lands on this list again with another incredibly catchy emo song. It became so popular that even high school bands starting covering it! Pete Wentz would be proud.


RELATED: 50+ Songs About Forbidden Love & The Relatable Lyrics That Speak Right To Your Heart

37. "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage" by Panic! at the Disco

While we know Panic! at the Disco got this extremely long title from a Chuck Palahniuk book, for emo kids at the time, it was an anthem of sorts. Because who didn't relate to having parents with such high expectations?

38. "crushcrushcrush" by Paramore

A song about a crush that can't turn into anything more because of lies people spread, this incredibly catchy tune was most likely played on repeat when the person you liked just didn't take the next step.


39. "Sic Transit Gloria ... Glory Fades” by Brand New

The title is ripped directly from a line in the movie "Rushmore," but its meaning is actually about an older woman raping a sexually inexperienced teenager.

"In my personal case, I feel timid about [sex], I guess, so the song's written about a boy being with a girl who's slightly more experienced than him and is a little more aggressive," Lacey stated in an interview.


40. "Helena" by My Chemical Romance

Written about frontman Gerard Way and bassist Mikey Way's grandmother, Elena, this song is dark and beautiful in all the best ways. It focuses on the grief you feel from loss.

41. “Konstantine” by Something Corporate

Before Jack's Mannequin, there was Something Corporate, giving us gorgeous piano melodies and relatable lyrics. At over 9 minutes long, "Konstantine" is about the ebb and flow that all relationships go through.


42. "Admit It!!!" by Say Anything

Hating on posers was a pastime of emo kids, pointing out how other people weren't really "fans" of certain bands just because they wore the band's t-shirt. Just listen to the lyrics and you'll realize that "Admit It!!!" is the complete anti-hipster song.

43. "Everything Is Alright" by Motion City Soundtrack

Anyone who struggles with mental health issues like ADHD, anxiety, OCD or other disorders can totally relate to the lyrics. Because even when things seem out of control, you'll do anything to remind yourself that everything is alright.


44. "There's No 'I' In Team" by Taking Back Sunday

A response to Brand New's "Seventy Times 7," as noted, there are several lines in both songs that are the same. About the betrayal and end of a friendship, this was the perfect song to share as an away message on AIM when you were fighting with your friends.

45. "Face Down" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

A song with kind of dark lyrics, but an overall catchy tune, "Face Down" calls attention to domestic abuse and the challenge of toxic masculinity as it existed (and still exists today) in the 2000s.


46. "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me" by Fall Out Boy

A ridiculous amount of Fall Out Boy's songs are about a guy, essentially, stalking a girl he's into. But hey, Fall Out Boy is still one of the most memorable emo bands of the 2000s, and this song was catchy AF.

47. “I Woke Up in a Car” by Something Corporate

For bands who toured quite a lot, "I Woke Up in a Car" is no doubt about getting to experience adventures and meet new people, even if it's all on your own. Because no matter where you wake up in a car, it's still better than living a life that is predictable.


48. "Thank You for the Venom" by My Chemical Romance

With seriously killer guitar riffs and a range of vocals, "Thank You for the Venom" is about struggles with depression and mental illness, and finally liberating yourself from your past.

49. "Blue and Yellow" by The Used

While some probably think "Blue and Yellow" has to do with bruises, according to lead singer Bert McCracken, the song is actually about the band's guitarist Quinn Allman:


"I wrote it about Quinn — our relationship and how close we are... he’s just one of those people that you meet in your life that’s special. You know you’re going to be with this person forever and you know you’re going to be close to that person."

50. "Car Underwater" by Armor For Sleep

There's nothing more emo than being "in a car underwater with time to kill." A figurative description about either heartbreak or suicide, you certainly remember downloading this hit from Limewire back in the day.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, numerology and astrology.