Where Are Your Favorite Emo Bands A Decade After the Angst?
Middle school and high school were full of a lot of things like insecurities, frenemies, and angst. Luckily, that last one had its own soundtrack thanks to the music genre that proved that Ohio is for lovers and we’re not okay (I promise). Raise your chipped, black, nail polished hand in the air if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by life and found solace in the sad sounds of the emo resurgence that timed up perfectly with your stumble through puberty. Good. Now think back on all of the trips to Hot Topic and attempts to sing along to your favorite bands while your soul cracked just as much as your voice. It wasn’t a choice; it was a lifestyle. We hope you’ve outgrown that habit of sending your crush origami-folded notes in the shape of a knife, but if you’re still there, that’s okay.
We get it; life as a mallrat with a rebellious green streak in your hair was hard. Fortunately for you, with endless soundtracks to your agony only a few clicks away, your emo phase can live on forever. If only the emo bands of your heyday could stay as committed to the cause. Well a decade after providing the soundtrack to your sadness, here’s what happened to some of the emo bands that monopolized your adolescence.
Panic! at the Disco
We’ll be the first to admit that we still listen to the 2005 cult classic album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and are the kind of people who will take over the music at a party to incite a forced sing-along/interpretive dance to “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” The good news is, after losing band members and the exclamation point (which has since returned), the band is still releasing music that’s actually really good. Their fifth studio album was called Death of a Bachelor, which also happens to be the name of our memoir about life before our first serious relationship—whenever that happens. Oh, and it incorporates hip-hop because, if we learned anything from our emo phase, it’s that anything can happen when we take the eyeliner off. When lead singer Brendon Urie isn’t busy being an ageless sex vampire, he’s busy slaying “Bohemian Rhapsody” and being one of our few emo childhood heroes we’re still lusting after a decade later.
Taking Back Sunday
No word yet on whether they’ve successfully taken that day back from ole’ Jesus Christ, but what we do know is that the emo band that wanted to break you down so badly (in the worst way) has taken a cue from the lord. While lead singer Adam Lazzara grew out a beard a few years ago (and got attacked by a tree), the band itself continues to prove that Jesus isn’t the only one who can stage a resurrection. In 2014, they released their sixth studio album, Happiness Is—and we can’t help but notice that the name is quite the departure from their emo heyday.
The Spill Canvas
If there was ever a band that could make us cry out in angst with literally every song on every album, it was The Spill Canvas. In one fell swoop, they made us want to learn to play guitar and paint roses black (to match the blackness of our souls). South Dakota has always been a pretty sad state, but The Spill Canvas’ emergence onto the emo scene confirmed it. The band may have released their last album four years ago but that’s not stopping their sad boy party. They will be on tour this year and are asking fans to request their favorite songs for them to play—tissues and black nail polish not included.
While most emo bands were inspiring you to angrily shake your fist in the air while you screamed into the night about the injustice of being 14, Dashboard Confessional was the emo antithesis. This was the band that made us angrily write love letters and then destroy them with our tears. Their future is as cloudy as a crystal ball, considering they haven’t officially broken up but also haven’t released a new album since 2009. To give some sense of how long ago their 2009 album was: the band used Myspace to promote it. Now, the lead singer Chris Carrabba is busy playing concerts for Taylor Swift’s friend’s birthday party or singing in his new folk band Twin Forks. Folk around all you want, Chris—we’ll be here ready, and willing to sing along to your emo hits, any time you want.
My Chemical Romance
Speaking of eyeliner, the king of emo rebellion was, and still is, Gerard Way. Even if he once said that “emo’s a pile of shit,” his band My Chemical Romance provided the soundtrack to our emo phase when they took us to the black parade. Their 2004 album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was the best anthem for our anguish and continues to be the go-to record for those days when it snows in April or we didn’t match with that sex god on Tinder whom we screenshotted to show our friends. Their breakup in 2013 was a painful end to an era, but it provided an outlet for Gerard to pursue his creative talents. Since then, he’s released a solo album, created TV shows and comics, and has even become an advocate for LGBT rights.
Stay tuned to Milk for more nostalgic angst.
Original imagery via Kathryn Chadason.