The Wild Honey Pie


and January 30, 2013 50 Comments

20faceemosongs 20 FAVE EMO SONGS

Graphics By Madeline Rosemurgy

Once upon a time, in the golden days of our youth, there was the Emo phenomenon. Remember those days? The days of eyeliner, sadness and men wearing women’s jeans (ok, that still happens). The days when the only songs lining our brick-like iPods expressed the deep emotional and existential angst we were experiencing. Those days were awesome. We decided to get nostalgic and relive our emo-kid past with a 20 Fave list. We laid some ground rules for the list to make sure it didn’t become the 20 WeezerFugazi and Cursive songs list — namely nothing that’s actually more punk than emo, only songs released in the late 90s and early 00s with no Death Cab for Cutie or Bright Eyes. All in all, we’re excited at the playlist we came up with. These are songs that are tied to that time and that phase of our lives — songs we still not so secretly listen to on the train. Let’s be honest, emo is how we all got here anyway. So without further ado, sit back and enjoy the 20 best emo songs according to us — or as I like to call it “Slumber Party Jam 2004”. — Hannah Angst



20. “The Future Freaks Me Out” – Motion City Soundtrack
19. “Understanding In A Car Crash” – Thursday
18. “Everywhere in Denver” – The Promise Ring
17. “Stuck At Sea” – The Honorary Title
16. “Helena” – My Chemical Romance


15. “The Best of Me” – The Starting Line
14. “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” – Fall Out Boy
13. “Pain” – Jimmy Eat World
12. “Blood Red Summer” – Coheed & Cambria
11. “Jesus Christ”/“The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” – Brand New

10. “Swing, Swing”

I’m not sure if this song by All-American Rejects made the list because it’s actually a legitematly amazing pop-punk song, with all the hooks and raw tween-angst emotion you could ask for, or because I rocked out to this several times a day for the majority of middle, and lets be honest, high school. Better question, does it even matter? Listen to this and I just dare you not to enjoy every freaking minute of it. — Hannah Angst

9. “Lying is the Most Fun…”

Nothing screams teenage resentment and naïve interpretations of love like this gem from Panic! At The Disco. The track, taken from the Nevada group’s debut LP, was the tune 17 year-old me blasted on my second-generation iPod (the one with the buttons that surrounded the wheel) as I attempted to heal my consistently broken heart. For the most part, it worked. And that, my friends, is what emo music did oh-so-successfully. — Eric Weiner

8. “Call N Return”
Before they truly broke into the mainstream with their MTV hit “Here (In Your Arms)”, Hellogoodbye put out one hell of a debut EP. “Call N Return” is about as hook-filled as they come. The hopeful line, “Say that you’re into me, let me know how it will be, If you don’t know just say so. I’ll wait till the perfect time, think of all the perfect lines, I’ll make sure if I let you know,” always struck a chord with me. Not to mention, the claps certainly helped make this one over-the-top catchy. — Eric Weiner

7. “Poetic Tragedy”

The Used mix anger and sadness perfectly into all their songs, but there’s something about this one and the cathartic screams that make it stand above the rest. And that’s what makes emo great — catharsis and anger. — Hannah Angst

6. “Cute Without The ‘E’”
No other band did Long Island emo quite like Taking Back Sunday, and no other song was as angsty as their “Cute Without The ‘E’”. The duetting vocals from Adam Lazzara and John Nolan are never stronger than when they scream, “the only thing that I regret is that I, I never let you hold me back.” Few songs have tackled the blame game like this one. — Eric Weiner

5. “Radio”
While the majority of these emo bands took themselves pretty seriously, none did it like Alkaline Trio. More punk than a lot of the others on this list, their ballad “Radio” is angry to the point of asking for a suicide attempt. “I’ve got a big fat fucking bone to pick with you my darling, in case you haven’t heard I’m sick and tired of trying. I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you, plugged in and ready to fall.” Whoa now, fellas. — Eric Weiner

4. “In Circles”

This song by Sunny Day Real Estate is where emo comes from in my opinion. With it’s motoring guitar, Jeremy Egnik’s detached vocals and heartbleeding lyrics, “In Circles” was one of the first emo songs, and not much else was ever better. Trust me, listen to it next time you’re feeling sad –there’s a reason it helped start the movement. — Hannah Angst

3. “Screaming Infidelities”

Oh-my-fucking-God you guys, how much did you love this song when you were in high school for reals? These are probably the best lyrics ever: “I hope you’re as happy as you’re pretending.” It doesn’t get much more amazing than that. Dashboard Confessional is the quintessential emo band, and this is the most Dashboard-y song in their catalog — with an angry acoustic guitar and a broken heart, these boys taught us how to feel. — Hannah Angst

2. “If Work Permits”/”My First Single”
I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who were listening to Nate Ruess long before fun. cracked the mainstream with “We Are Young”. With his previous band, The Format, Ruess navigated the indie pop end of the emo spectrum and opened the door for countless bands that wouldn’t be caught dead calling themselves emo. I couldn’t pick just one The Format song, so you’re getting my two favorites. — Eric Weiner

1. “Konstintine”/”Hurricane”

Pop punk all-stars Something Corporate were a no-brainer for the top spot on this list. More than any band here, they were able to strike a unanimous emotional chord with their fans, proving that we, whether we want to admit it, are all romantics (maybe some more than others). Clocking in at a whopping 9 minutes 37 seconds long, “Konstantine” is so emo-tional and personal that it defined the emo ballad more than any other song of its time and genre. Again, though, I couldn’t choose just one song from this band, so we have two listed. Naturally, that choice is a near-opposite of “Konstantine”. Off their debut full-length, Leaving Through The Window, “Hurricane” was one of the first songs that I dialed into after I peeled the plastic off the CD. Though I already had a demo of the track, it quickly became my favorite song on the album, in large part due to that piano/drum breakdown that always hit so hard when I blasted it in my mom’s SUV. — Eric Weiner

  • JubthePlumber


  • JubthePlumber

    not emo…they are scene core

  • JubthePlumber

    dude seriously?

  • JubthePlumber

    The Spill Canvas are not emo..I am sorry the spill canvas is like SoCal rock

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    Not sure how you can compose a list of late 90′s – early 00′s music and include a song that came out in 1994. I love Sunny Day Real Estate, don’t get me wrong.

    This list definitely needs some Saves the Day and Get Up Kids. Don’t understand the purposeful omission of Cursive. Also, check out the album Frame & Canvas by Braid if you haven’t already.

    Overall, a fun read. Sorry for complaining so much. Just giving my 2 cents! :)

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    I hope this is a joke.

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    I hope this is a joke.

  • Lily

    Actually, it stands for emotive rock get it fucking right before you comment

  • scarlette

    I am an emo and emos dont listen to that crap … believe me I know

  • Kiah Salahiron

    With regards to the lyrics of the selected songs listed, i would say that they are emotional. But at some point, they are not an emo as scene emo. Just like the Coheed which is in general, their genre is more on progressive rock, progressive metal, alternative metal, more on metal. Not an emo. Most of the emo’s are described as scene. Bands on their playlist are, Saosin, The Used, Alesana, Scary kids scaring kids, funeral for a friend, Silverstein, Hawthorne Heights, MCR and other emo bands playing great with the great combination of instrumental and lyrics. That is common for high school teens during that time. :)

  • David Park


  • NightshadeShame

    emo stands for EMOtional… these songs… are emotional… therefore are classified as emo. this is right you dumbass, the songs may not be the top ten of all time but they are valid emotional songs. dont discredit something you dont know about.

  • Andy Biersack <3

    Thank you soooo much! There is a girl at my school that everyone calls “emo”. Its so annoying and stupid because they have no freaking clue. Yeah, she listens to music like this. And she cuts, but that does’nt give you the right to bash her. I know she goes home every day and gets emotionally abused by her mother and physically by her brother. ANd people call her “the emo cutter girl”

  • Eric Weiner


  • Cool

    this seems more “scene” than emo but it’s a well-put together list

  • Meow

    Try black veil brides or pierce the veil

  • Eric Weiner

    Haha, thanks so much!

  • Beetheladylambkeeper

    ahh i love that konstantine tops this list, so many nights blasting that in my car, driving down deserted roads with the windows down. Great list! I think you should have picked a better fall out boy song, because there are many better than sugar, but oh well. And I’ve heard ALL of these bands described as emo at some point, even though that is not the word I would choose to describe most of them. I will never understand why people feel the need to say that someone else’s opinion is wrong…haters man, haters

  • EmoGirlOfPain

    Okay, so at least we know one person who’s not a dumb-ass.

  • Neesh

    “real” emo or not (which it’s not, for the most part), this is a great list! Love the Coheed mention. They got categorized as emo and hardcore before it became accepted that they ventured to more of the prog realm. The best genre classification for them is a sub-genre they helped to create- “New Prog” (not to be confused with Nu Prog).

  • Emo girl </3

    EXACTLY someone gets it :P everyone thinks emos are all about cutting and suicide and stuff, when its not

  • Emo girl </3

    Some are considered, like are punk but emos listen to them. Like Panic at the Disco and MCR

  • troy

    stupid crap emo people suck they need normal hair

  • Jack

    Why does every post online end in a fight? I’m glad I found this page. I found a few bands I hadn’t heard of. Quit flaming the guy who took time out of his day to make this page.

  • Izzy


  • Izzy.

    Emo does not mean sad or someone who cuts or what someone is, it stands for emotive, and emotive is a genre of a band or singer, so maybe you should check YOUR work before posting. Btw, never call anyone emo, because it is such an insult, because what if they do self harm, don’t make fun of it, because they have their reasons, and if you make fun of them then they will just self harm more, hardly anyone even knows the true meaning of emo, and it isn’t even close to a type of person, people just need to respect everyone and their thoughts and different tastes, because if we were all the same then life would be boring as hell. So everyone, quit commenting that this is affensive, because everyone has their opinions, and emo is the genre of all of these bands, because emo means emotive. Duh

  • d

    search up “emo setting its definitiion straight” and i hope you aren’t saying thursday isn’t emo. cuz they are. they sound just like 90s emo. and that song by the used sounds so 90s emo. and mcr? go listen to the debut with our lady of sorrows or early sunsets. brand new? they’re indie emo. dashboard? they’re indoe emo, like american football or joan of arc. you failed

  • Ray Moore

    why do yall bash each other? grow up. Who cares what this person put. It is their favorite songs. They own that and no one else. They didn’t say best, they said favorite. by the way it was better than most lists i see on line. and i can say that because i was around in the 90s when emo was great.

  • Eric Weiner

    Rock on!

  • Emokid

    Actually most of them are emo, and the majority of the ones that aren’t could still be considered third wave emo.

  • Trisha

    The Spill Canvas- All Over You

    Hands down the most emo song of all time.

  • Dan Angst

    As usual you got it right.  How EMO of the EMO’s to comment on how not EMO the songs and bands on the EMO list aren’t EMO.

  • Jenny Mauch

    The format is like the opposite of emo. And there are a few songs my motion city that are a little emo but tffmo is not one of them. 

    This is a terrible list.

  • Cameron

    i love these even though i don’t really consider them emo. oh konstantine is lovely but globes and maps should be the second selection 
    “i wanna hang on to something that won’t break away and fall apart like the pieces of my heart!” probably the most cliche thing Andrew’s ever written  

  • Drew Malone

    So… No A7X, and no Disturbed… GTFO

  • KCC

    Great list for capturing only 20 songs! I would have added Saves the Day “Rocks Tonic Juice Magic”/”Freakish” as well as the Get Up Kids. And yes, I just listened to the entire list at work today.

  • Cass

    while i don’t agree with you calling some of the bands emo, i’m not gonna bash you for it because this list and the descriptions were awesome.  it’s like you took every song from my teen years and created this awesome list.

  • Eric Weiner


  • Nate1308

    Great list! Some of my all-time favorite songs are up there, as are a few I somehow missed back in the day that I will have to check out. And of course people will complain any time the word “emo” is used, but it’s such a broad, ill-defined term. Pretty much all of those bands got stuck with that label whether they wanted it or not. 

  • Amy

    What about Save Me from Cartel……

  • Stuart

    No Get Up Kids? Really?

  • Eric


  • Confused

    You’d have done better to list every single Dashboard song from Swiss Army Romance and Places You Have Come to Fear the Most. A lot of these aren’t emo. But thanks for the blast from the past, because most of these songs ARE old favorites, be they emo or not.

  • Jamescmlear

    Is this list based entirely off of your collection of Hot Topic comps because you do not know what emo is.

  • Eric Weiner

    It pained me to leave that one off!  But we had to make the call! :)

  • ceb91990

    You missed an all time favorite, Seventy times Seven by Brand New.. Some of the best lyrics on my AIM profile came from that song

  • Bad


  • Child of the Fence

    Sorry guys, you messed it up. Coheed and Cambria?! Seriously guys, those guys are not emo and their music is not emo at all. If you think that the line “What did i do to deserve, what did i do to deserve this?” makes them emo…well, you should do your homework dudes.

  • Amanda

    Do you even know what emo is? Most of the bands on here are NOT emo, check your work before you post it. 

  • Eric Weiner

    This was so much fun!