Any former emo kid remembers singing along to their favorite songs with eyeliner running in sheets down their cheeks. Honestly, were we really that sad, or did our iPods just suck us into a black hole of raw emotion?
Regardless of what came first, the sad or the band, the lyrics of the 2000s hit hard. So hard, in fact, that we can’t stop singing them to this day. From My Chemical Romance to the Used to Dashboard Confessional, the classics continue to dominate our favorite playlists.
Are you an emo lyrics aficionado? Take the quiz below to see if you can match these sad lines to their bands!
More on emo
Emo music has its roots in the 1980s Washington, D.C. post-hardcore scene, with the term deriving from “emotional hardcore.” The subgenre was characterized primarily by intensely emotional lyrics and melodic backings, diverging from the general aggressiveness of the scene. Groups involved in the early movement included Beefeater, Fire Party and Rites Of Spring.
Emo as we now know it began to take shape in the ’90s. Though the style was integrated with a variety of different genres, pop punk quickly became the closest association. With underground scenes gaining recognition in the wake of the grunge movement, conditions were ripe for a cultural explosion.
The mainstream emo movement began in the early 2000s with the breakout of groups such as Jimmy Eat World, the All-American Rejects and Taking Back Sunday. Though its foundations on lyrics and melody held strong, experimentalism throughout the decade further diluted the style across multiple genres.
The cultural phenomena coinciding with the rise of emo music gave a voice to a very specific community. The emo subculture was stereotypically marked by distinctive fashion, including skinny jeans and band shirts. Other “emo indicators” included heavy eyeliner and layered, flat-ironed hair.
Though emo culture has declined in mainstream popularity over the last 10 years, the music scene is still active. Many popular bands from the mid-2000s, including Paramore, Fall Out Boy and AFI, continue to put out albums and tour. Others have since called it quits but remain powerfully influential to up-and-coming groups.