There is nothing quite like sitting in the car on a rainy day screaming along to a song while tears stream down your face because a lyric hits your soul. A good emo song holds a lot of power. When you’re moody, it can make you sob and when you’re happy, it can take your mind back to that time when you related to it.
The best era for these moody songs was the late 90’s to the 2000’s. Artists really laid it all out on the table lyrically and paired it with a catchy beat that made you want to throw a vase across the room at whoever hurt you. Let’s revisit these best hits (in no particular order.) Add them to your “Moody” playlist for the next time you need to let it all out.
1. “Crushcrushcrush” – Paramore
Have a schoolgirl crush but aren’t about to be the person to write down in a diary? This is the song for you. Sometimes you have a crush and just aren’t getting anything back from that person. Kind of like my crush on Ryan Reynolds.
2. “Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off” – Panic! at the Disco
This song was written from a real life anger. Guitarist Ryan Ross was cheated on by his girlfriend of three years while he was away with the band. “Lying is the Most Fun…” is the product from that breakup. If you’ve been cheated on before, this song will take you back to that moment of finding out- no matter how many years it’s been.
3. “Drive On To Me” – Elliot
Ever been in a relationship that wasn’t REALLY a relationship because it was such a fleeting moment but it left a last impact? These soft emo hit is what you need to hear. Relationships don’t need to be years long to be remembered for a lifetime.
4. “Action & Action” – The Get Up Kids
The video for this one is such a trip down memory lane! Heartbreak is the best ingredient in the emo song formula. We have all been through some sort of time in our life where we made mistakes, but all of the dumb sh*t you did was only because of one person you were chasing. These guys are playing that out for you with “Action & Action.”
5. “Helena” – My Chemical Romance
You knew this had to be on the list somewhere. Who hasn’t SCREAMED along to this song? It’s the eyeliner. It’s the drums. It’s the lyrics. Everything about this one works. This song was inspired by Gerard Way’s grandmother passing away but in the music video there is a nice twist.
6. “Never Meant” – American Football
Think back to highschool. I know, embarrassing but this song is going to throw you back in time anyway. In highschool it was hard to believe that there would be an entire world of people you could fall in love with outside of those you saw 8a-3p Monday-Friday. So when you got into a relationship, you foolishly thought, “This is it. I’m going to marry this person.” Hell, let’s be real, that could happen to you at anytime. But in the end, the plans didn’t pan out for one reason or another. “Never Meant” is a song for those relationships where the future seemed mapped out but never happened.
7. “Vindicated” – Dashboard Confessional
This list would not be complete without a song from Dashboard Confessional. For the person that doesn’t feel good enough for someone, this one is for you. There are a lot of different meanings you can kind of read into this song but overall the theme is wanting something you can’t REALLY have.
8. “Help Me’ – Alkaline Trio
This song was inspired by true events but not one experience by any of the band members. Matthew Skiba saw a film about Ian Curtis, a musician who killed himself one night before a show at the age of 24. This song explores the depths of depression and needing someone to see that you need help.
9. “MakeDamnSure” – Taking Back Sunday
This isn’t really a song I relate to, but nevertheless I get into it every time the chorus drops. “MakeDamnSure” is about still being in a relationship where the only fire left, is a bit of resentment. You haven’t made the decision to end things but kind of start thinking that maybe you should. Sometimes you’re only in the relationship because you’re holding onto the past, sometimes it’s because you’re trying to forgive and sometimes it’s because you think the person can still change into who you see them as. Either way, listen to this song and feel alllllll your feelings rush to the top.
10. “My World” – Sick Puppies
This is just a general song about life! People come and go from your life for no reason in particular, but it happens no matter who you are. That openness to the song is what makes it great for everybody. Honestly, you don’t even need to be “moody” to drop in with this jam from Sick Puppies.
How was that trip down memory lane? Did we all make it back to 2021 safely?
New emo just doesn’t hit the same way that these original songs do. Maybe it’s the eyeliner, maybe it was the fact that we were full of hormones when it was first rising to prominence- but either way, my “moody” playlist doesn’t contain anything after 2012. So let it all out! Scream in your car. Play the air guitar. Reenacte the video. Just make sure your eyeliner is waterproof.