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Everyone’s nebulous identification and loose understanding of the genre is both its best and worst quality — emo is just so damn personal.No matter if you credit Rites Of Spring or My Chemical Romance for introducing raw, bleeding-heart emotions into the lexicon of punk and hardcore, the bands you listen to and define as “real emo” are undoubtedly among the most important to ever appear in your life.(See also: The Dismemberment Plan – “The Ice Of Boston,” Burning Airlines – “Pacific 231,” No Knife – “Minus One”) // Check out our Golden Era Of Emo Ultimate Playlist on Spotify.Around the same time Brand New’s Jesse Lacey was singing songs about wishing his ex-girlfriend would die in a plane crash because she had the audacity to do a semester of college abroad, he was coercing underage girls into sending him nudes.And what better way to kick start the discussion than with a list? For the 30 Essential Songs From The Golden Era Of Emo list, I opted to leave out bands who I lovingly think of as “proto-emo” — that is, grandfathers of the scene such as Hüsker Dü, Rites Of Spring, Embrace, and Dag Nasty.I also did not include seminal screamo acts like Saetia, I Hate Myself, Antioch Arrow, You And I, Jeromes Dream, Pg.99, Orchid, etc., because, honestly, that’s a whole other list unto itself.The now infamous “Cool Girl” monologue from Gillian Flynn’s book (and subsequent movie) “Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? And if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl.It may be a slightly different version — maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics.
The lyrics sung by their heroes and in bands like Brand New, Fall Out Boy, Weezer and New Found Glory set them up as prey for sensitive emo men.
No, instead I focused on the more melodic and relatively recent ends of the emo spectrum.
And because there are simply just too many great bands to include in a list like this, I decided to only pick one song per group, though keen eyes and ears will undoubtedly notice a few different bands with shared members.
Most people equate ’90s emo with the Midwestern sound popularized by bands from the suburbs of Chicago, Omaha, or Kansas City, and while that is unquestionably an integral part of the music’s lineage, it is not the be-all and end-all.
There is another, admittedly much smaller region with a sizable stake in emo history, too: Washington, D. — the birthplace of “emotional hardcore.” The East Coast counterpart was more angular and aggressive, but no less unafraid of visceral expression, which is all on brilliant display in “Savory.” The closest thing to a breakout single by J.And yet there was indeed a solid stretch of time, roughly under a decade, when everyone who cared to could wholeheartedly agree on what the hell emo actually was, and they could not get enough of it. Starting in the early ’90s and sputtering out just after the turn of the century, it was an exciting period for underground punk and hardcore scenes.