twenty one pilots
[Photo by Ashley Osborn]

20 greatest Fueled By Ramen bands

Founded in 1996 by two friends and appropriately named after their lunch plans after spending so much money on music, Fueled By Ramen’s epic success story originated from modest beginnings. Due to the unrivaled talent-spotting eyes and ears of founders John Janick and Vinnie Fiorello (Less Than Jake), their small, once-independent label soon partnered with Warner Music Group and has since launched the careers of bands that have changed the landscape of the scene around them without losing sight of their humble roots. In a bid to secure even more hidden talent, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz established the Ramen offshoot Decaydance Records (later DCD2) in 2004 to make the label a home for bands that refused to conform to conventional genre boundaries. 

Read more: Every twenty one pilots album ranked

As the label nears three decades of making pop-punk and alternative dreams come true, we’re celebrating the 20 greatest past and present signings from Fueled By Ramen and its partner labels, from scene shifters Paramore and twenty one pilots to fresh blood Meet Me @ The Altar and chloe moriondo.

Fall Out Boy

After making a name for themselves in the local Chicago hardcore punk scene with two early EPs, Fall Out Boy signed an unconventional deal with Island Records. The band would release their first full-length in 2003, Take This To Your Grave, via the much smaller independent label Fueled By Ramen and return to the Island fold for their second record. The Chicago outfit’s emotionally stirring debut via Ramen would prove to become a landmark in pop-punk culture, colliding the emotive worlds of emo with reckless hardcore abandon and significantly altering the genre. Although the pop-punk icons would stay true to their contract and return to Island for their next six records, So Much (For) Stardust marks their triumphant U-turn to Ramen 20 years later. Don’t call it a comeback — it’s just the circle of life.

Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World’s brief dalliance with Fueled By Ramen to release their self-titled EP in 1998 established the changing face of the outfit from their initial pop-punk sensibilities toward what would later be recognized as morose post-hardcore morphing into emo. In drip-feeding this new approach via a lesser-known EP between the Static Prevails and Clarity eras, Ramen’s offering of a proving ground for their alternate sound enabled the confident show of identity on 1999’s Clarity that would bring about the likes of “Lucky Denver Mint.” Largely considered Ramen’s breakout band to prove that the label had an eye for promising talent, their mutually beneficial relationship was short-lived but hugely impactful on both sides.

Paramore

Remaining loyal to their record label since their 2005 debut LP is just another of the countless reasons why we love Paramore. Releasing each of their six albums since their 2005 debut via Fueled By Ramen not only created a consistency within their output, but a sense of reliability with each new offering — as long as Paramore are still with Ramen, all is right with the world. Becoming synonymous with the Ramen label, the group’s tenure under the label has seen them through the golden age of emo, lineup shuffles and enduring stylistic changes.

Travie McCoy

Growing up in the midst of the punk-rock scene, becoming a household name of the golden age of pop punk seemed like a logical step for Travie McCoy. Alongside fronting the iconic Gym Class Heroes, McCoy dropped his solo debut record, Lazarus, with the help of Fueled By Ramen back in 2010. Although slightly less well-known as his band’s earworms, McCoy’s solo venture brought about the iconic Bruno Mars collab “Billionaire” and successfully broached the rap-rock subject to reel T-Pain and Cee-Lo Green into a scene crying out for variety and energy.

Waterparks

Pop experimentalists and AltPress’s current cover stars Waterparks have enjoyed the freedom of adapting their sound and lyrical attitudes to suit their changing emotions and the musical climate around them since their debut LP in 2016. Four albums later, the outfit herald their arrival on Fueled By Ramen with April’s anticipated output INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, clarifying their genre-fluid approach that blends emotive pop punk with the contagious elements of hyperpop that are currently permeating through the alternative scene. However unpredictable their next album may be, fans can remain reassured that with Ramen at the helm, it’s bound to be as epic as its predecessors.

LIGHTS

Armed with a lifetime’s worth of bitter experience to inspire gut-wrenching lyrics delivered by soaring vocals, LIGHTS has bridged the gap between pop and rock with ease. The delicate tones of Skin&Earth paved the way for the experimental sounds of 2022’s PEP, released via Fueled By Ramen for LIGHTS’ only venture with the label. The artist suggests her newfound alternative approach on PEP was inspired primarily by the presence of Fueled By Ramen, furthering the album’s concept of music as an escapism from reality and inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed production of the album since 2019.

nothing,nowhere.

Razor-sharp emo rap is nothing,nowhere’s game, and he plays it well. Hailing from the depths of Foxborough, Massachusetts, Fueled By Ramen’s offshoot DCD2 Records scooped up the promising solo artist for his debut full-length, Reaper, and have forged a beneficial partnership ever since. Over six years and four albums with Ramen, nothing,nowhere. has traversed each side of the emo-rap spectrum from tortured, venomous trap to heart-spilling, emotive clean vocals, bringing in guest spots from Dashboard Confessional and KennyHoopla to demonstrate his sheer versatility and talent.

twenty one pilots

Arguably the driving force in the storming success of twenty one pilots, Fueled By Ramen snagged the Ohio duo just in time for 2013’s Vessel after self-releasing their initial two albums. Testament to the Ramen effect, all but one album since has achieved platinum status, garnered worldwide praise and established twenty one pilots as one of the most refreshing additions to the scene in recent years. Charged with sinister alternative raps and contagious choruses that changed the landscape of alt rock, twenty one pilots’ lucrative partnership with Fueled By Ramen has produced unforgettable hit after hit and shows no signs of stopping.

THE BLSSM

If you haven’t already heard of grunge-laced alt-pop upstart THE BLSSM, now’s your chance to stream away. Releasing their third EP, PURE ENERGY, via Fueled By Ramen in 2022, the nonbinary artist known as THE BLSSM produces blissfully thought-provoking alt-pop that tackles difficult topics of mental health framed by calming waves of electric guitars and acoustic sensibilities. Inspired in part by their musician father, Australian rock star Diesel, THE BLSSM is a gorgeously slick product of the 2020s merging tormented raps with heavenly clean vocals, as if they belonged together all along.

chloe moriondo

Call chloe moriondo “bedroom pop” all you like, but there’s no denying the immense appeal of her comfortingly saccharine melodies offset by utterly left-of-field, menacing lyrics. The genius behind the lyric “I think you’d look better in a collar” conceals her sinister songwriting behind an unassuming visual representation of a harmless YouTuber when in fact, this artist at the start of her journey can destroy her listeners line by line. Signing with Fueled By Ramen for her sophomore album, Blood Bunny, in 2021, moriondo’s future is bright.

The Academy Is…

The rise and rise of emo would not be the same without the inimitable tones of the Academy Is… Raised by Ramen from their legendary 2005 debut album, Almost Here, and beyond, the outfit’s three studio albums came Ramen-certified and received a suitably Ramen-esque welcome to the scene enjoying a luminous period of success in the late 2000s. Crafting beautifully uncomplicated earworms alongside haunting acoustic odes, the striking polarity of the Academy Is… only added to their appeal at the height of the MySpace era until their official disbandment in 2011. Yet their occasional onstage reunions in the years since have proved that audiences still long for the nostalgia of an emotive youth.

Against The Current

Following four independently released EPs, Against the Current needed a big-name label to release their 2016 full-length debut, In Our Bones. Their contagious singalongs and Chrissy Costanza’s versatile pipes made for belting alt-rock anthems, so where better to call home than the capable hands of Fueled By Ramen? Under the label’s wing, the outfit produced two storming full-lengths and consequently won over the scene, with their refreshing take on energetic rock laced with hard-hitting lyrics often speaking from a place of emotional anguish.

The Cab

The discourse around the golden age of emo often falls short of a mention for the Cab, taken under Fueled By Ramen and Decaydance’s capable wings in time for their 2008 debut record, Whisper War, after Panic! At The Disco’s Spencer Smith landed them a lucrative signing with Ramen a year prior. What came next would prove to be a sensational yet criminally overlooked addition to the pop-punk history books, two phenomenal guest spots from Patrick Stump, numerous singalongs that would live in your head rent-free for months on end and a surprising nightcore success with “Angel With A Shotgun.”

Dashboard Confessional

After five albums and years comfortably seated with Vagrant Records, it seemed like Dashboard Confessional had discovered their perfect formula and would never branch out from their comfort zone. That is until 2018’s Crooked Shadows brought about a more mature persona to the emo mainstays that in turn needed a new home. Shifting their newfound maturity to the Fueled By Ramen fold, their seventh studio venture featured a guest spot from fellow Ramen signing Chrissy Costanza and a surprisingly catchy effort in collaboration with electronic DJs Cash Cash to ultimately become a successful step into the unknown.

Gym Class Heroes

Hi there. It’s the 2000s calling, they want their scene-rap crossovers back. Dutifully providing the soundtrack to high school corridors since the golden age of scene, Gym Class Heroes bridged the gap between alternative hits and the hip-hop inspirations. Signing with Fueled By Ramen for the outfit’s now-iconic 2005 sophomore album, The Papercut Chronicles, the hip-hop hybrids fronted by Travie McCoy took over the scene and produced a prolific partnership with Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump by creating an epic crossover in the form of “Clothes Off!” Despite remaining largely inactive since 2012, Gym Class Heroes will make their return to their scene-shaping career for an appearance at 2023’s When We Were Young Festival.

Cobra Starship

One of Fueled By Ramen’s flagship acts, Cobra Starship became a staple diet of the scene kid generation with their infectious alternative anthems infused with synthpop twinkles that initiate a rave in your mind every time you’re reminded of them. As if it wasn’t enough that they created the greatest movie theme of all time with “Bring it! (Snakes On A Plane)” along with the help of Ramen classmates William Beckett and Travie McCoy, Cobra Starship’s four storming studio albums, decade-long scene-changing career and the smile that beams across anybody’s face when you even mention Cobra Starship speak loudly enough for the Ramen effect and the cultural impact of one Gabe Saporta… just don’t tell him we said that.

Meet Me @ The Altar

Just when you thought bands no longer made contagious pop-punk tunes worthy of embedding on your MySpace page, Meet Me @ The Altar are tangible proof that the genre is alive and well. Full of ferocious visual vivacity, in-your-face pop-punk vigour and devil-may-care lyricism, Ramen scooped up the promising talent in 2020 as the band went viral and the rest is history for the contagious outfit that transcended state lines to create music together when each member lived in a different state upon their 2015 debut. Ever since, their anthemic “Say It (To My Face)” has even featured on Taco Bell commercials, so they’re clearly living the dream.

Lifetime

Exactly why New Jersey punks Lifetime called time on their success story in 1997 just before they broke into the big game is a mystery known only to the band themselves, but luckily Pete Wentz’s Ramen offshoot Decaydance helped to resurrect the members’ love for music in 2007, rounding off their career with a self-titled album that cemented their whole reason for making sounds in the first place. The band’s decade-long disbandment came to a grinding halt as they revived their original reckless hardcore punk vitality under the Decaydance umbrella, just long enough to realize they could go their own way without a big name label above their heads.

Games We Play

The one-man pop-punk powerhouse Games We Play produces nothing but feel-good pop-punk anthems to blast in the car as you cruise down the freeway with the windows down. In fact, the musical project of Emmyn Calleiro provides everything the pop-punk scene needed to rediscover its own identity and not a moment too soon. From overnight TikTok success to signing with Pete Wentz’s DCD2, the multi-instrumentalist’s story so far has been a pop-punk dream come true, and it’s only just begun.

ONE OK ROCK

Japanese rock is a vastly different creature and rightfully so, considering ONE OK ROCK’s incomparable ability to drop 10 jam-packed albums in the space of 15 years, a feat only Western artists could dream of achieving. Choosing Fueled By Ramen as the appropriate home for the international versions of their Japanese albums Ambitions and Eye of the Storm, the Tokyo outfit took the leap in shifting from their pop-infused traditions to a heavier rock sound for 2022’s English album Luxury Disease with Ramen’s support. In doing so, their newfound theatrical and experimental approach established their name within the Western arena, never to be overlooked again.