The best emo songs of the decade that defined the 2010s
One of the greatest feats of the emo genre is its ability to cross barriers, genres and fandoms to unite us all under the common denominator of music. Whether there’s a tinge of rap or a twist of pop-punk, the branches of emo music all extend from the same familiar source. While the early 2000s were a time of thriving for excessive eyeliner and black skinny jeans, the past decade has brought forth a revival that many of us never saw coming.
From the comeback of emo icons My Chemical Romance to the return of From First To Last and Scary Kids Scaring Kids, 2010-2019 proved that this was more than just a phase. It was a lifestyle. To celebrate National Emo Day, we’re taking a look back at 50 of the greatest emo songs from the past decade that have encouraged a revival and united so many.
Story Of The Year – “The Ghost Of You And I”
One of the most notable songs on the Story Of The Year’s The Constant includes the thrash-emo classic, “The Ghost Of You And I.” Containing electronic-rock instrumentation laced with subtle vocal harmonies, this track quickly became a staple of the emo genre at the start of the decade.
Black Veil Brides – “Knives And Pens”
Marking Black Veil Brides’ first single and one of their most popular tracks to date, “Knives And Pens” can be found on the band’s debut studio album, We Stitch These Wounds. The track was originally on BVB’s self-released EP Sex & Hollywood but was rerecorded and rereleased on their debut full-length with a few changes. The track also marks the band’s first music video, debuting on YouTube in 2009.
My Chemical Romance – “SING”
Emo icons My Chemical Romance finally broke into adult contemporary radio stations with “SING,” the band’s second single from their fourth studio album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. In 2011, it became the second best-selling rock song in the U.K. and has cemented itself as a timeless emo classic among black hearts and Killjoys everywhere.
Sleeping With Sirens – “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn”
Nostalgia reigns supreme in this Sleeping With Sirens track that many still have on repeat in 2019. Hailing from the band’s debut studio album, With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear, “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” is an iconic love track that proved it was more than just a phase. They say this track is forever, and forever is all that we need.
Read more: QUIZ: Which nostalgic emo song are you?
Go Radio – “Goodnight Moon”
Go Radio helped turn 2019 into 20ninescene by announcing their return after disbanding in 2013. The news sent many into a nostalgic kick, revisiting tracks such as the heartfelt ballad “Goodnight Moon.” Then again, did we ever stop listening to it? The track comes from the band’s 2010 EP, Do Overs And Second Chances..
Joyce Manor – “Constant Headache”
Lyrics from Joyce Manor’s popular track “Constant Headache” quickly gained traction and popularity as they found their way across Tumblr in 2011. The almost cliche-like romanticized track stood out for many, with the self-titled album earning its place in emo history in no time at all.
Mayday Parade – “Stay”
Nothing says great emo track like beautiful and painful lyrics that will have you crying over someone you never even met. “Stay” comes from Mayday Parade’s self-titled album released via Fearless Records, which landed them a No. 26 spot on the Billboard 200. A track that stands the test of time, this one hits just as hard in the gut as it did eight years ago.
You Me At Six – “Crash”
You Me At Six channeled emo in the very best way in the 2011 track “Crash.” While the song was never a standalone single from the band’s third album, Sinners Never Sleep, the song definitely distinguishes itself as a sleeper track that will tug on your cold, dead heartstrings.
twenty one pilots – “Trees”
Originally released on twenty one pilots’ 2011 album, Regional At Best, “Trees” was one of only six tracks to get rereleased on their’ Fueled By Ramen debut album, Vessel, in 2013. While we were told not to trust a song that’s flawless, this track comes pretty damn close to being emo perfection.
Thursday – “No Answers”
No Devolución marked Thursday’s transition into a darker, atmospheric sound for their sixth and final album. “No Answers” takes that all-too-familiar look behind the difficulties of remaining friends with a former lover in true Thursday fashion.
Yellowcard – “Ten”
Not many bands can brag about their incredible longevity the way Yellowcard can. In 2012, they released their eighth album, Southern Air, in August, hitting us all in the heartstrings with the change-of-pace track “Ten.” The only acoustic track on the album, this is the ideal go-to when you need to have a good cry.
Modern Baseball – “Tears Over Beers”
The perfect song for those nights when you’re up at 3 a.m. and can’t sleep, Modern Baseball won our emo hearts with a track based on rejection and the dreaded “friend zone.” Despite being released in 2012 on the band’s debut album, Sports, the track’s timeless relatability makes it one emo gem you can revisit again and again.
The Used – “Getting Over You”
Produced by the legendary John Feldmann, the Used’s fifth album, Vulnerable, was released via Hopeless Records in 2012. Sticking true to its title, the album taught us to embrace our vulnerabilities in both a powerful and positive way. “Getting Over You” proved to be a masterpiece of heartbreak that still gives us chills to this day.
Saves The Day – “In The In Between”
Saves The Day’s self-titled eighth album captured both the diversity and energy to create an emo-pop album in 2013. The second track, “In The In Between,” houses that nostalgic Saves The Day feel that just gets better with each listen.
Read more: 50 best music videos from the scene in 2019
Real Friends – “I’ve Given Up On You”
Emotive powerhouse Real Friends are practically experts at this point. They know just how to hit you right in the feels, as evident by the band’s EP Put Yourself Back Together. Capturing the torture of unrequited love and absolute heartbreak, “I’ve Given Up On You” has cemented itself as an essential emo cry-along track.
Balance And Composure – “Tiny Raindrop”
We’ve all felt it. That life-is-going-great feeling where you can’t help but anxiously check over your shoulder repeatedly, waiting for something bad to happen. Balance And Composure have been there, too, capturing that all-too-familiar emotion and channeling it into “Tiny Raindrop.”
Paramore – “Fast In My Car”
Acting as a follow-up to brand new eyes, Paramore’s self-titled fourth album began their transition into poppier terrain. Blending their emo roots with alternative and pop-rock, the track “Fast In My Car” marks the album’s carefully mixed cocktail of genres with hints of that OG Paramore sound.
Bring Me The Horizon – “Can You Feel My Heart”
One of the most iconic songs from Bring Me The Horizon’s fourth album, Sempiternal, “Can You Feel My Heart” marked the fourth and final single from the album. It’s also noted as one of the first BMTH tracks to be written with keyboardist Jordan Fish.
Panic! At The Disco – “This Is Gospel”
Accumulating over 187 million YouTube plays to date, Panic! At The Disco’s second single from their fourth album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!, “This Is Gospel” has become a staple track among emos everywhere. “Emperor’s New Clothes” would later become the video’s continuation, while “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” acts as the music video’s prequel.
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Heartbeat In The Brain”
Adding a whole new wave of revival to the emo genre, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die released their debut album, Whenever, If Ever, to the pleasure of dark hearts everywhere. The raw vocals and catchy instrumentals of “Heartbeat In The Brain” lit a new fire into the genre that solidified the band as a key player in the emo revival.
Citizen – “The Night I Drove Alone”
Citizen released their debut album, Youth, in 2013, a title signifying a true coming-of-age record. Although “The Night I Drove Alone” is just over two minutes long, it’s one of hurt and emotion that fans have both related and bonded to ever since its release.
Sorority Noise – “Blonde Hair, Black Lungs”
Hailing from Sorority Noise’s debut album, Forgettable, is the beautifully tragic song “Blonde Hair, Black Lungs.” It perfectly captures the essence of true heartbreak and self-destruction in what is one of the band’s top and timeless tracks.
Fall Out Boy – “The Kids Aren’t Alright”
Fall Out Boy’s sixth album, American Beauty/American Psycho, was released into the world in January 2015. Prior to its release, we were blessed with the iconic track “The Kids Aren’t Alright” just in time to close out our 2014 in the best and most emo way possible.
The Hotelier – “Your Deep Rest”
2014 saw the release of Home, Like Noplace Is There from indie-emo rockers the Hotelier. An album that deals with some pretty heavy and dark topics, Home, Like Noplace Is There saw the band staking their place in the genre in an effort that’s sure to age into a monumental emo artifact.
Taking Back Sunday – “Better Homes And Gardens”
Taking Back Sunday announced their sixth album, Happiness Is, alongside the release of “Flicker, Fade” as the debut single. The band took a leap with this effort, experimenting with new sounds and tackling life’s ups and downs. In 2015, the band debuted a music video for the standout track “Better Homes And Gardens,” which quickly proved to be a fan favorite.
Have Mercy – “Two Years”
Have Mercy’s second album and Hopeless Records debut, A Place Of Our Own, found its place in our emo hearts in 2014. “Two Years” goes right for a gut punch from the very beginning with the line “Two years now and I’m alone again,” emphasized by emotional vocals that clench your heart. It’s 2019, and we’re still crying.
All Time Low – “Missing You”
All Time Low weren’t messing around when they created Future Hearts, as evidenced by their No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200. “Missing You” contains emotive lyrics to get your eyes watering, but if that wasn’t enough, the accompanying music video featuring the band’s fans was sure to kick off those waterworks.
The Wonder Years – “Cigarettes & Saints”
Mixing pop punk with emo on No Closer To Heaven, the Wonder Years created an incredible concept album that detailed the loss of a loved one. “Cigarettes & Saints” marked the album’s second single, just one month behind “Cardinals.” The album went on to chart at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 while becoming a standout record for hitting you right where it hurts.
Senses Fail – “Carry the Weight”
Taking on a heavier approach to their deep-seated emo roots, Senses Fail created Pull The Thorns From Your Heart during a period when frontman Buddy Nielsen opened up about his personal struggles with substance misuse and coming out as queer. “Carry The Weight” proved to be a fan favorite on the album, with many noting the honesty and emotion behind the track.
American Football – “I’ve Been So Lost For So Long”
American Football revived their emo and math-rock roots for their second self-titled LP. The music video for the single “I’ve Been So Lost For So Long” sees the relationship between multiple father-son duos come into question, as the dads try to understand their “normal” and “goth” sons.
Jimmy Eat World – “The End Is Beautiful”
Alt-rock emo giants Jimmy Eat World have proved time and time again that they’re here to stay. Their ninth album, Integrity Blues, released in late 2016, includes the heart-wrenching ballad “The End Is Beautiful,” which hurts in all the best ways and allows every emo kid to have that much-needed cry.
Tiny Moving Parts – “Birdhouse”
Tiny Moving Parts combine their powers of Midwest emo and math rock on the iconic track “Birdhouse.” Hailing from the band’s third album, Celebrate, this track was just one small part of an entire emo-loving masterpiece.
Thrice – “Black Honey”
“Black Honey” was the first single Thrice released following their breakup in 2012. It marked a massive comeback hit for the band as their first-charting song since 2005. The track was released as the lead single from their ninth album, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere.
Boston Manor – “Laika”
In 2016, Boston Manor released their debut album, Be Nothing., via Pure Noise Records. An album immersed in diversity, the record’s lead single “Laika” stood out among the rest with hard-hitting lyrics that were enough to make your heart burst with emotion.
The Maine – “Black Butterflies And Deja Vu”
The Maine released their timeless sixth album, Lovely Little Lonely, in April 2017 to the praise of both fans and critics alike. The second single, “Black Butterflies And Deja Vu,” gave fans a depth that brought out so many emotions, making it a track that continues to be a fan favorite to this day.
Movements – “Suffer Through”
Movements’ debut album, Feel Something, was by far one of the most standout albums of 2017. “Suffer Through” proved to be a solid-gold track with incredible lyrics of self-realization such as “It’s crippling, but my demon is me.”
Julien Baker – “Appointments”
Turn Out The Lights, the second album by Julien Baker, contained the incredible track “Appointments.” As if you needed more proof that Baker is a rare type of artist who genuinely gives it her all, truly capturing what it’s like to struggle with your mental health.
Remo Drive – “Strawberita”
An emo band who aren’t afraid to incorporate elements of indie rock, power pop and punk rock, Remo Drive are another artist many associate with the emo revival. Their first full-length, Greatest Hits, contained many tracks that you couldn’t help but feel an emotional attachment to, one of those being “Strawberita.”
Tigers Jaw – “June”
The second single from Tigers Jaw’s fifth record, spin, “June” was written alongside vocalist/keyboardist Brianna Collins’ friend Nikki. The lyrics discuss an emotionally abusive relationship and the importance that friendship can have in allowing a person to feel strong enough to leave.
Silverstein – “The Afterglow”
Combining post-hardcore and emo is no easy task, but Silverstein seem to have no problem blending the genres seamlessly. Their ninth album, Dead Reflection, managed to snag the No. 3 spot on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart as well as No. 9 on the Alternative Albums chart. The entire album is a masterpiece, with tracks such as “The Afterglow” giving us those nostalgic early 2000s vibes we missed so much.
nothing,nowhere. – “clarity in kerosene”
nothing,nowhere.’s debut full-length, Reaper, proved that the artist wasn’t one to shy away from dark topics. Emos everywhere quickly bonded over tracks such as “clarity in kerosene,” which showed that we’re not alone in the ways we might be feeling.
AFI – “Back Into The Sun”
Bittersweet and nostalgic, “Back Into The Sun” comes from AFI’s 2018 EP, The Missing Man. Frontman Davey Havok does an incredible job of portraying both a hopeless and content feeling with his voice, bringing raw emotion to a beautiful track.
mewithoutYou – “Julia (Or, ‘Holy To The LORD’ On The Bells Of Horses)
With a music video that’s equally as chilling as the track itself, mewithoutYou combined 1984 and Back To The Future to create a visually creative visual for their song “Julia (Or, ‘Holy To The LORD’ On The Bells Of Horses).” The track comes from their album, [Untitled], released October of last year. One year later, in October 2019, mewithoutYou announced that 2020 would be their last year as an active band.
Lil Peep- “Falling Down” ft. XXXTENTACION
Emo rapper Lil Peep’s “Falling Down” featured fellow late rapper XXXTENTACION and was posthumously released as the lead single from the deluxe edition of Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2. Peep tragically passed away in 2017, with his second posthumous project, Everybody’s Everything, dropping in November..
Juice WRLD – “Lucid Dreams”
Juice WRLD brought a new wave of attention, appreciation and popularity to the ever-growing genre of emo-rap with his 2018 hit “Lucid Dreams.” The late rapper stated the song was made to be a “therapy session” during some relationship problems he was encountering at the time. “Lucid Dreams” went on the peak at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, continuing to linger in the top 10 for months. Juice WRLD tragically passed away Dec. 8 at the age of 21.
Dashboard Confessional – “We Fight”
While we’ll forever scream our lungs out to “Vindicated,” Dashboard Confessional made sure to bless us with a power anthem that makes one want to fight for their emo rights. Introducing a new generation to the work of the emo icons, Crooked Shadows put Dashboard back on the map with kids who had never heard of the timeless band.
Counterparts – “Wings Of Nightmares”
Melodicore meets emo in a new endeavor from Counterparts. The band’s 2019 album, Nothing Left To Love, was released just last month, proving that they’re a band who are capable of continually stepping up their game. “Wings Of Nightmares” contains tragically poetic lyrics that can touch the jaded heart of every emo out there.
Bayside – “Prayers”
If you lean more toward the heavier side of emo, rock and punk, then Bayside’s 2019 album, Interrobang, is the epitome of your music-loving preferences. Celebrating 20 years, Bayside continue to deliver two decades later. Noting it’s one of their heaviest tracks to date, “Prayers” easily makes our “greatest” list.
Badflower – “Ghost”
Tackling topics of depression, suicide and self-harm, Badflower break all sorts of stigmas on OK, I’m Sick. The honest and open lyrics remind listeners that they’re not alone in their feelings, with frontman Josh Katz revealing that the inspiration behind the track comes from his own struggles with depression and suicide idealization.
What was your favorite emo song of the 2010s? Let us know in the comments below.