As legendary bands in the scene continued to mature musically and grow away from the genres that they became known for, newly established musicians were creating blends that sparked new categories for scene music. In 2008, Fall Out Boy released their last album before their hiatus, and I Set My Friends On Fire popularized crunkcore. It was a landmark year in alternative music, as scene music expanded beyond its foundation of pop punk, punk, emo and hardcore.
By 2008, electronic elements seeped into the scene, and party anthems became essential in nearly every album. At this particular time, fans steered toward bands who featured screamo vocals, any genre with the suffix -core and themes of moving forward toward a future beyond the emotional torment of emo music. These scene albums from 2008 created an all-new meaning to both the genre and community.
3OH!3 – WANT
The crunkcore electropop band 3OH!3 debuted their first album, WANT, to mixed reviews. It’s an experimental and enjoyable listen despite the fact that it was crafted as a parody of scene bands that accidentally became an iconic album of that exact scene community. “DONTTRUSTME” remains their most popular single and is enjoyed by fans of all ages to this day. 3OH!3 broke through in an unexpected way, but their unique electronic and crunkcore sound will go down in scene history.
The All-American Rejects – When The World Comes Down
The All-American Rejects proved that they had no intention of slowing down with their third album, When The World Comes Down. It features some of their most iconic pop-punk songs, such as “Gives You Hell” and “I Wanna.” The album shifts between yearning to revenge all the way to closure, whether it’s power-ballad heavy songs or full-blown pop. When The World Comes Down is the All-American Rejects’ most diverse output and stood out from every album in the scene at the time.
Anberlin – New Surrender
The fourth album from Anberlin, New Surrender, details the necessity to surrender and move on toward a new beginning. This alternative album conveys powerful messages of acceptance, closure and having the courage to move on. Anberlin capture the spirit of emo, pop punk, alternative rock and punk in all of their glory through New Surrender.
The Audition – Champion
Following up their debut album with Champion, the Audition crafted one of the most interesting records that’s reminiscent of early 2000s emo mixed with the experimental sounds of 2005 scene bands. Champion opens with “Basbhat,” a song that’s charged with emotionally raw lyrics (“I’ve been misguided by you/I’ve been mistreated, too”) alongside dark instrumentals that crescendo toward pop-punk rhythms. The Audition showcased everything that went right with scene music in its early years while refining it for a new generation.
Bring Me The Horizon – Suicide Season
The second album from Bring Me The Horizon, Suicide Season, abandoned the deathcore elements of their first record and embraced metalcore instead. This album was set to make or break the band. With singles “Chelsea Smile,” “Diamonds Aren’t Forever” and “The Sadness Will Never End,” it became their most iconic scene album of all time. It’s an angsty adventure through the dark mentality of the lyricist that’s only strengthened by the title of the album. Suicide Season was Bring Me The Horizon’s ultimate experiment as they were trying to find their own unique sound separate from what was expected of them and their fellow metalcore peers.
The Cab – Whisper War
The Cab’s debut album, Whisper War, was produced by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy and featured his vocals on tracks such as “One Of THOSE Nights.” Melding power pop, pop punk and pop rock, the album never falters from its established sound. The Cab garnered a large fanbase for their talented instrumentation and lyricism as well as the approval they received from both Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy.
Cash Cash – Take It To The Floor
The debut album from Cash Cash, Take It To The Floor, brought together emo and electronic music to create the ultimate synthesized sonic experience. Their iconic song “Party In Your Bedroom” features lyrics full of desire with beats that are meant to be danced to. Featuring keytar, synthesizers and funk guitar chords, Cash Cash’s debut album quickly found its audience and colored the scene in neon colors.
Every Avenue – Shh, Just Go With It
Shh, Just Go With It was Every Avenue’s powerful debut into the scene with tight guitar chords and versatile vocals. Emo pop and pop punk merged in a beautiful union with songs such as “Think Of You Later (Empty Room)” that featured yearning and acceptance through an upbeat sound. Every Avenue proved that they were more than deserving of a place among iconic scene bands by emerging with one of the most extraordinary debut albums.
Fall Out Boy – Folie À Deux
Fall Out Boy released Folie À Deux during this monumental year in scene music, but this is one record that will live on as being the last released before their near four-year hiatus. Taking note from their previous album, Infinity On High, the band steered toward creating a new sound for themselves that separated their adult selves from their angsty youth. If any song on the album makes this statement clear, it’s “I Don’t Care.” Folie À Deux was the departure FOB needed to make to grow as both people and a band. “What A Catch, Donnie” is their swan song featuring the people they grew up with, played music with and toured with: Brendon Urie, Alexander DeLeon, William Beckett, Elvis Costello, Travie McCoy and Gabe Saporta.
Forever The Sickest Kids – Underdog Alma Mater
The neon-pop unit Forever The Sickest Kids debuted their first record, Underdog Alma Mater, with unabashed confidence. They mix synthesizers, tightened guitar riffs and pop-punk lyrics into songs such as “Hey Brittany” that are unlike any other. Each track on the album is unique in its own way, which made Forever The Sickest Kids one of the most popular scene bands of the year.
Hey Monday – Hold On Tight
Hey Monday debuted their emo- and pop-punk-infused debut album, Hold On Tight, with immense success. With catchy lyrics performed by vocalist Cassadee Pope, the album features songs that are meant to be danced to regardless of their undertones of falling apart and losing sight of who you are. Both “Homecoming” and “Candles” showcased their ability to shift from their joyful departure from negative situations to feeling a sense of closure. Hey Monday offered solace for teens who were experiencing the troubles of growing up, and Hold On Tight gave them something to turn to.
Hit The Lights – Skip School, Start Fights
The second album from Hit The Lights, Skip School, Start Fights, is an emotional roller coaster of pop punk and easycore. Using punk melodies with hardcore breakdowns, Hit The Lights grew their pop-punk sound to reach a greater audience that was sick of the same old tradition of the genre. With tightened guitar chords and lighthearted lyrics, Skip School, Start Fights retains the youthful energy of the band’s original sound while showcasing their maturing talent.
The Hush Sound – Goodbye Blues
Mixing blues, rock and indie into their third album, the Hush Sound’s Goodbye Blues is an experience unlike any other. On this album in particular, the band refined their sound by merging genres in unexpected ways while staying true to their punchy lyrics and Greta Salpeter’s vocal excellence. Goodbye Blues features songs that shift between loving and independence (“As You Cry”) all the way to coming to terms with losing a lover (“That’s Okay”). The Hush Sound’s third album offered emotive lyrics that the scene could relate to as they grew up by shifting away from the traditional punk sound.
The Maine – Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
While Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, the debut album from the Maine, is considered a pop-punk album, it’s far more power pop and indie than it is punk. The entirety of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a journey of falling in and out of love while experiencing every emotion that occurs in between. From “Everything I Ask For” to “This Is The End,” the Maine showcase how difficult it is to love and be loved, all while presenting it through power-pop chords and indie vocals from John O’Callaghan.
A Rocket To The Moon – Greetings From… EP
A Rocket To The Moon released their Greetings From… EP with great success and praise from some of the scene’s most legendary musicians, such as Pete Wentz. “Dakota” received immense attention for its lyrics and upbeat tempo. A Rocket To The Moon flawlessly craft unique alternative-rock, indie and emo-pop songs that make up the entirety of the Greetings From… EP.
Senses Fail – Life Is Not A Waiting Room
Senses Fail continued to mature their sound in 2008 with their third album, Life Is Not A Waiting Room. The band exquisitely balance their post-hardcore and metalcore elements by providing ample attention to each aspect of the genres. In songs such as “Garden State,” there are tighter riffs and breakdowns in comparison to the far more metal-driven song “Chandelier.” It’s heavily influenced by the need to move forward rather than wait on the next great or terrible event to happen in life. Senses Fail proved to be a force to reckon with on Life Is Not A Waiting Room.
I Set My Friends On Fire – You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter
I Set My Friends On Fire debuted their unique and unapologetically strange sound with You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter. The band introduced the newly popularized genre of scene music, crunkcore, into the community with “HxC 2-Step” and showcased electronicore in “Things That Rhyme With Orange.” It wasn’t long until they found themselves at the forefront of what fans imagined when thinking of unfiltered scene music. With this record, I Set My Friends On Fire were noisy and unapologetic in their craft, which music critics despised and fans wanted more of.
Sing It Loud – Come Around
Sing It Loud made their debut with Come Around, which utilized synthesized keyboards to heighten their pop-punk sound. Including features from Alex Gaskarth and Justin Pierre, it resembles the early years of scene music on Myspace, featuring a mix of popular genres such as electronic, pop punk and emo. Regardless of their near-flawless genre mixing, Sing It Loud’s breakthrough album is an emotionally charged record with themes of wanting and resentment alongside rhythmically upbeat instrumentation.
A Skylit Drive – Wires…And The Concept Of Breathing
The debut album from A Skylit Drive, Wires…And The Concept Of Breathing, is entrenched in metalcore and screamo with an astounding amount of references to the popular video game franchise Final Fantasy. Michael “Jag” Jagmin’s vocals are punchy and keep the listener hooked with his incredible pitch range, while the instrumental openers draw them in further. A Skylit Drive proved to be a unique metalcore screamo band who never steer away from challenging themselves to better their sound and the experience for their fans.