Last week we looked to the 90s, so this week it only seems fair to give the early aughts some love. Check out what the interns have to say about the emo music that defined this decade!
Ayden’s Pick: My Chemical Romance – Thank You for the Venom
I’ll admit it with pride: I never grew out of my emo phase. The holy trinity of My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At the Disco is what made me fall in love with music in the first place, and although the scene may be cringey in hindsight, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m happy to concede that there is plenty from this era that ought to be left behind in the 2000s. MCR, however, is not one of those things. This is a band that stands the test of time — something few of their counterparts can say for themselves. The music still sounds good in 2021, (in part because) they managed to avoid the genre’s many misogynistic tropes by way of concept albums and elaborate world-building, and arguably most importantly, they knew when to call it quits. 2004’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge is My Chem at their best: we’re talking eye makeup, stage costumes, and relentless power chords. It’s one of my top five albums of all time, and “Thank You For the Venom” is the best track off of it (although the competition was close thanks to iconic crowd-pleaser “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)). This record is angst artfully embodied, and if you can buy into the abrasive looks and antics you’re guaranteed to at least headband along.
Taylor’s Pick: Panic! At the Disco – Northern Downpour
Pretty. Odd. is the best Panic! record, and I’ll die on that hill. Sure, it’s not full-on emo canon along the lines of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, but it’s absolutely bonkers and some of the band’s most inventive music ever. (It’s also the last record with founding member Ryan Ross, which is notable.) “Northern Downpour” is an absolute standout, wistful without feeling cheesy and just bursting with timeless charm. The baroque pop arrangement on the track is minimal enough not to overshadow the stunning melody at its center but still remain compelling. Perhaps it’s a little too soft to be “emo” in the traditional sense, I concede. But as a counterargument—is there anything more quintessentially emo than being this earnest and weird? Didn’t think so.
I think everyone has gone through at least a bit of an emo phase at some point in their lives. When I think of mine I think of myself in 2008 listening to Boys Like Girls alone in my room. Because of this, I decided to choose their heart-throbbing song, “Thunder”, as my intern pick of the week. Released on May 6, 2008, “Thunder” is about holding onto a summer love even after it’s over. It’s one of those songs that you want to scream to while driving in the rain. Lead singer Martin Johnson explained that the song is basically a promise to a girl he had dated that he will never forget what they had in that previous summer.