It’s a sound, it’s a subculture and it’s a lifestyle to be a forever emo kid. Emo didn’t die back in 2009—it’s alive, and artists are expanding the genre more than ever.
In case you don’t believe us, check out 10 modern emo anthems that are just as heartbreaking as the OG ones. These are songs to play loud and scream along to like a true scene kid.
“drivers license” – Olivia Rodrigo
One of the biggest songs of 2021 so far comes from 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo. What’s even better is that it was her debut track. The moody song is the epitome of heartbreak and nostalgia—and the stuff tears are made of.
“Teardrops” – Bring Me The Horizon
Bring Me The Horizon are scene vets, so they know a thing or two about making a song that tugs at your emotions. It’s filled with angsty lyrics that you would’ve made your AIM away message back in the day but with a modern electronic spin.
“Simmer” – Hayley Williams
If there’s one person who knows how to write gut-wrenching lyrics, it’s Paramore‘s Hayley Williams. This track from her solo debut, Petals For Armor, is all about suppressing your emotions until you’re ready to explode. And even though everyone does it, it doesn’t solve your problems at the end of the day.
“Heat Wave” – Snail Mail
Snail Mail‘s “Heat Wave” manages to encapsulate all of the nervous, exciting and all-encompassing feelings of a breakup in one track. It’s the anthem for the emo lovers who know a thing or two about unrequited love but can’t help themselves.
“Poisoned Heart” – Creeper
Creeper‘s album Sex, Death & The Infinite Void was filled with lyrics meant to be screamed or scrawled on your diary pages. Particularly, “Poisoned Heart” is the musical embodiment of the “It’s not you, it’s me” stage in a relationship, meant for people who are feeling a bit scorned by love.
“my ex’s best friend” (feat. blackbear) – Machine Gun Kelly
If you would’ve told us back in the 2000s that Machine Gun Kelly would be a major player in the alt-rock/punk scene, we probably wouldn’t believe you. But that’s long before the existence of Tickets To My Downfall, filled with angsty songs about relationships, friendships, mental health and more.
“Some Kind Of Disaster” – All Time Low
All Time Low are experts in making songs that conjure all the feels, and “Some Kind Of Disaster” is no exception. The song is about feeling uneasy and insecure but allowing yourself to confront those emotions to get through them.
“ICU” – Phoebe Bridgers
OK, so there’s depressing emo music, and then there’s Phoebe Bridgers‘ version of depressing emo music, which is a whole other level. Bridgers’ haunting vocals touch the depths of your pain in “ICU,” and the song doesn’t give you a choice of whether or not you’ll be in your feels. It’s truly inescapable.
“Scarlet Cross” – Black Veil Brides
Black Veil Brides know a thing or two about making emo music and keep the dramatic, angsty lyrics coming with every release. The song is all about feeling an immeasurable amount of pain and suffering, which is something a lot of people can relate to.
“Shy Away” – twenty one pilots
twenty one pilots‘ songs are always filled with so much symbolism and messages that it takes a few listens to truly grasp. Their latest song “Shy Away” from their forthcoming album, Scaled And Icy, is all about moving forward, achieving your goals and trying to shed the feelings of insecurity or self-doubt.