One standout feature of the early 2000s emo music scene was song titles that could barely fit on the back covers of CDs. You probably have fond memories of typing the lyrics of your new jam into the Google search bar and discovering that the actual name of the song was nowhere within them. Or remember watching the title glide across the tiny screen of your iPod Nano once you finally found a high-enough-quality version to download from LimeWire.
We’re not sure exactly why or how the trend started, but it’s certainly provided plenty of entertainment over the years. And while a certain few bands are often credited with starting it, plenty of artists took part, each finding a unique way to grab the attention of fans old and new. Here are some of our favorites.
Hawthorne Heights – “Apparently Hover Boards Don’t Work On Water”
This track was featured on the re-issue of Hawthorne Heights’ debut album, The Silence In Black And White, and credited to the band’s previous name, A Day In The Life. It’s strongly speculated by fans that the title was inspired by a scene in Back To The Future Part II—a totally plausible theory because many other fellow long-song-title writers in the scene also took inspiration from movies in one way or another. This track can also be found on the rare compilation album From Ohio With Love, alongside a few others with long titles.
Sleeping With Sirens – “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn”
Writing long song titles may not have been something Sleeping With Sirens were particularly well known for, but they were definitely good at it. In fact, many of the songs on With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear, the band’s 2010 debut album, were on the longer side. This just so happened to be the one that skyrocketed the band to instant popularity. Of course, Kellin Quinn’s incredible vocals on the track also didn’t hurt.
Cute Is What We Aim For – “Sweat The Battle Before The Battle Sweats You”
We’re totally still jamming to CIWWAF—and still appreciating their creativity—in 2020. “Sweat The Battle Before The Battle Sweats You” was featured alongside plenty of other creatively titled tracks on the band’s debut album, such as “I Put The ‘Metro’ In Metronome,” “Teasing To Please (Left Side, Strong Side)” and, of course, “The Curse Of Curves.” Despite being the longest title on the album, “Sweat The Battle Before The Battle Sweats You” actually rolls off the tongue almost as easily as the aforementioned alliterative fan favorite.
Say Anything – “I Will Never Write An Obligatory Song About Being On The Road And Missing Someone”
For a band whose lyrics often leaned toward social commentary, Say Anything wrote some pretty amazing songs about love and relationships. In typical Max Bemis fashion, he manages to find a creative way to express these emotions that is anything but typical.
From First To Last – “I’ll Innonculate The World With The Virus Of My Disillusionment”
This title seems so fitting for the year 2020. It also perfectly complements the masterful lyricism in the song. From First To Last took the long-song-title trend to a new level by throwing in some lengthy and uncommon words. It’s hard not to wonder what was going through their heads when they decided on this mouthful of a name, but we sure are glad they stuck with it.
Mayday Parade – “You Be The Anchor That Keeps My Feet On the Ground, I’ll Be The Wings That Keep Your Heart In The Clouds”
It’s only fitting that a band known for their poetic lyrics would write equally poetic song titles, and they achieved just that with the final track on A Lesson In Romantics, their most beloved and commercially successful release to date. In typical Mayday fashion, the lyrics of this song paint a vivid and emotional picture. It isn’t exactly clear whether there’s a connection between the title and the story being told within the lyrics, but one thing’s for sure—if Mayday Parade’s goal was to make this long song title memorable, they succeeded. Being a poem in its own right, it’s been featured in tons of tattoos and fan art pieces.
Go Radio – “You Hold Your Breath, I’ll Hold My Liquor”
Notice anything familiar about the title format here? This track was penned by Jason Lancaster, current frontman of Go Radio and former chief lyricist of Mayday Parade. While it isn’t quite as long as the previous item, it is equally clever, and the song itself is an absolute banger. The members of Go Radio reunited in September 2019 after a devastating six-year hiatus and have since released two singles, “Say It Again” and “So Love.” Meanwhile, Lancaster is getting ready to release his new solo EP, Say I’m What You Want.
Fall Out Boy – “Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued”
This list would be incomplete without at least one song from Fall Out Boy, who are among the scene’s OG long-song-title writers. And this one is just classic. It’s natural to be curious about the origins of these extensive and often outlandish titles, but young FOB took the guesswork out of this one, telling the story right then and there. Indeed, the original title of the song was “My Name Is David Ruffin And These Are The Temptations,” in reference to how an ego-driven David Ruffin tried to change the Temptations’ name to “David Ruffin And The Temptations.” Fall Out Boy’s lawyer warned the band that if they kept this title, they could wind up facing a lawsuit from Ruffin’s estate. All things considered, we’re happy they decided to change it—and even happier that this was what they decided to change it to.
Circa Survive – “The Difference Between Medicine And Poison Is In The Dose”
It’s pretty well known that Anthony Green cannot write a bad song, and he’s also proven time and time again that he cannot write a bad title. Everything about Circa Survive’s On Letting Go was memorable, from the creative names to the killer vocals to the hauntingly beautiful album cover art. Can someone just take us back to 2007, please?
Cobra Starship – “Send My Love To The Dance Floor I’ll See You In Hell (Hey Mister DJ)”
Why leave it at just “Hey Mister DJ” when you could make it sound even more early 2000s-esque? Cobra Starship definitely mastered the art of the long song title, perhaps drawing inspiration from Pete Wentz, whom they claim in the title of another track is the only reason they’re famous. In reality, Wentz and Cobra frontman Gabe Saporta were good friends long before the band signed to Wentz’s record label, Decaydance. Wentz has stated publicly that Cobra Starship’s fame and success actually had little to do with him and everything to do with their hard work and dedication—and, in our opinion, their creativity. They wrote quite a few memorable long song titles over their 10-year career.
Panic! At The Disco – “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage”
P!ATD are another top contender for the title of “Long Title Champions.” Featured on the band’s beloved debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, this name is a quote from Chuck Palahniuk’s 1999 satirical novel, Survivor, in which the pages are numbered backward. Sounds exactly like Panic!’s particular brand of weird, right? There are tons of different interpretations and analyses of this song out there, but fans generally tend to agree on a few things: The lyrics are compelling, the vocal hooks are addictive and the band succeeded in “shaking up” the pop-punk scene by exploring deeper topics than wanting to escape one’s hometown.
Paramore – “For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic”
OK, it may not be anywhere near the longest title on the list, but it is pretty damn clever. Like many of their pop-punk peers, Paramore played around with juxtaposition to create and add length to this truly memorable song title off Riot!. They’re now working on their sixth album, which frontwoman Hayley Williams revealed earlier this year would be a return to their pop-punk roots.
My Chemical Romance – “Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us”
MCR are another band who may not come to mind instantly when you think of long song titles, but they definitely had some masterpieces. This track comes from the band’s debut album, which many die-hard fans regard as criminally underrated. My Chem would later go on to top the number of words in this title with “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” (that is, if you consider “na” a word). Yeah, they really did that.
Asking Alexandria – “If You Can’t Ride Two Horses At Once…You Should Get Out Of The Circus”
No argument here, Asking Alexandria. With a total of 15 words and an ellipsis in the middle, this is the longest of many curious song titles on the band’s 2009 debut, Stand Up And Scream, and one of the most memorable in their entire discography. In February, Asking Alexandria released a brand-new long-titled single, “They Don’t Want What We Want (And They Don’t Care),” and the full album, Like A House On Fire, officially dropped in May.
Bring Me The Horizon – “No Need For Introductions, I’ve Read About Girls Like You On The Backs Of Toilet Doors”
The shortest track on the album with the longest title, “No Need For Introductions, I’ve Read About Girls Like You On The Backs Of Toilet Doors” has been appropriately described by BMTH fans as the ultimate “fuck you” song. Another distinguishing feature is its soft, piano-driven intro, which gives way almost instantly to raw, unfiltered metalcore. This is actually a deeply personal track for vocalist Oli Sykes, so Suicide Season-era fans did get to see it played live.
Hellogoodbye – “Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn (Take It Back To Square One)”
A subtrend of the long-song-title craze was adding on an extra piece in parentheses like with this Hellogoodbye track. Why wasn’t a one-part title good enough? We’re not sure exactly, but we’re definitely not complaining. Hellogoodbye have been relatively quiet since the 2018 release of their fourth album, S’Only Natural, but earlier this year, they announced a 10-year anniversary livestream event for Would It Kill You?, their second full-length and a longtime fan favorite.
Underoath – “Anyone Can Dig A Hole But It Takes A Real Man To Call It Home”
Fans of Underoath have speculated that this song, along with several others on Lost In The Sound Of Separation, deals with vocalist Spencer Chamberlain’s struggle with addiction. The title is a powerful statement and relatable to anyone who’s ever felt they reached rock bottom. Since the band’s revival in 2015, they’ve received a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance, toured with Korn and Alice In Chains and performed three of their classic albums as part of their Observatory livestream concert series.
Senses Fail – “The Irony Of Dying On Your Birthday”
Everything about this Senses Fail song—the title, the lyrics, the unbelievably catchy intro riff—screams 2004 post-hardcore (no pun intended). While it isn’t nearly as long as some of the other tracks on this list, it gets bonus points for creativity and its level of emo-ness. Currently, Senses Fail are making the most of the ongoing pandemic by working on enough new material to fill two albums, which they are planning to release within a year of each other once the world returns to normal.
Forever The Sickest Kids – “Crossroads (I Guess You Can Say Things Are Getting Pretty Serious)”
FTSK had plenty of upbeat songs with fun, lighthearted titles, but this was actually one of the few that hit you right in the feels. It deals with the difficult decision of whether to hang on to a relationship or let it go. We’re excited to see what kind of direction these scene icons take as they pick up where they left off—they revealed back in June that they were getting started on some new material.
All Time Low – “Get Down On Your Knees And Tell Me You Love Me”
This track, of course, isn’t the first on the list to be named after a movie quote, and funnily enough, this isn’t even ATL’s first time referencing the same film franchise. With Jack Barakat being a huge fan of the Macaulay Culkin films, it’s no surprise the title comes from Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. The track follows “Keep The Change, You Filthy Animal,” on their previous album, Nothing Personal, which takes a line from the first Home Alone movie.
You Me At Six – “There’s No Such Thing As Accidental Infidelity”
Anger and long song titles go together like bread and butter, and this You Me At Six track is a perfect example. There’s no need to go digging for a hidden meaning with this one, and we love how blunt and to the point it is. In February, the band released a single titled “Our House (The Mess We Made)” and donated all proceeds to Australian bushfire relief. We’re hoping to see more new music and more activism from YMA6 once quarantine finally ends.
We Came As Romans – “Roads That Don’t End And Views That Never Cease”
Like Say Anything, WCAR put their own spin on a popular topic—the struggle of trying to make a relationship work as a touring musician. Unlike many of the songs on the list, the title of this one is actually in the lyrics, the rest of which are just as beautiful and poetic. Unfortunately, WCAR were forced to postpone their 10-year anniversary tour for To Plant A Seed but have already rescheduled the dates for 2021.
A Skylit Drive – “Thank God It’s Cloudy Because I’m Allergic To The Sunlight”
Sounds emo, we’re in. This is the longest title on A Skylit Drive’s second album, Adelphia, which they’ve described as their most experimental. The band released three more albums before going on hiatus in 2016. Former lead vocalist Michael “Jag” Jagmin is now channeling his creative energy into a new project, Signals, which some fans have actually compared to ASD’s Adelphia-era sound.
Chiodos – “I Didn’t Say I Was Powerful, I Said I Was A Wizard”
As one may expect from a song with a title like this, Chiodos’ “I Didn’t Say I Was Powerful, I Said I Was A Wizard” tells a story, as do many of the songs on Bone Palace Ballet. Almost all of them are named after quotes from film, television, literature or even the members of Chiodos themselves. This particular line was spoken by the band’s guitar tech while he was high. Had we overheard something this epic, we probably would’ve wanted to make it a song title, too.
Motion City Soundtrack – “A Life Less Ordinary (Need A Little Help)”
Motion City Soundtrack have always been straightforward in their songwriting, and this title is no exception. Frontman and chief lyricist Justin Pierre took “A Life Less Ordinary” from the 1997 film of the same name but has stated that the track has nothing to do with the film—it’s more about wanting to live a more “normal,” stable life, free from destructive thoughts and feelings.
A Static Lullaby – “Half Man, Half Shark; Equals One Complete Gentleman”
Despite Faso Latido being A Static Lullaby’s most heavily criticized album, there are still a few standout moments, including this track. “Half Man, Half Shark; Equals One Complete Gentleman” is the longest title in the band’s entire four-album discography and is also an obscure film reference, taken from Cabin Boy, which was co-produced by Tim Burton.
This Providence – “The World Is A Stage, But The Play Is Badly Cast”
Clocking in at just one minute and 20 seconds, with only four lines repeated throughout, This Providence’s “The World Is A Stage, But The Play Is Badly Cast” knows how to keep it brief, although its title suggests otherwise. After years of extensive touring, the band split up in 2013. Vocalist/guitarist Dan Young has been writing and releasing new music under the name Lonely Benson since 2016 and released a five-track EP called Yesterday, in collaboration with synth duo Low Talker in August.
Taking Back Sunday – “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)”
This title—and the song itself—may just be the epitome of early 2000s emo. Taking Back Sunday named the track after a phrase one of their friends said, and it’s only risen in popularity since its initial release. They’ve certainly come a long way since the days of touring on a shoestring budget—they embarked on a massive year-long world tour in 2019 to celebrate their 20th anniversary and will be hitting the road again in 2021. In the meantime, you can get your TBS fix by attending frontman Adam Lazzara’s solo acoustic livestream this Saturday.
Gym Class Heroes – “Petrified Life And The Twice Told Joke (Decrepit Bricks)”
Much like Panic!’s “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage,” Gym Class Heroes’ “Petrified Life And The Twice Told Joke (Decrepit Bricks)” has many different interpretations of its lyrics floating around. In general, it’s regarded as one of their deepest and most emotional songs, describing a feeling that every fan has been able to relate to at one point or another.