Variety magazine published its comprehensive list of the Top 25 emo songs of all time on Tuesday, and boy did they get most of it very, very wrong.
A huge number of writers contributed to the listicle detailing their opinions on the best emo anthems. It really surprised me that such a large group of entertainment-oriented writers would make the choices they did, but here we are. Thankfully, I am here to correct the record and issue the Actual Top 15 Emo Songs of All Time.
A quick note: some band members on the Variety list have been called out for inappropriate behavior as the #MeToo movement has grown in recent years. For this reason, no Lostprophets songs will appear on the Actual Top 15 Emo Song list today. It breaks my heart to not include “Last Train Home” as the Number 1. Emo song of all time, but there will never be a time where the actions of the band’s frontman will ever be forgiven. I’m still personally amazed he hasn’t been killed in prison.
So, without further delay, here’s the list of the Actual Top 15 Emo Songs of all time (in my opinion, and in no particular order):
Green Day – “Boulevard of Broken Dreams“
How on Earth did Variety choose “Jesus of Suburbia” as an emo anthem over “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”? The entire premise of “Bouldvard” defined the emo loneliness of the mid-2000s.
Linkin Park – “Numb“
Some will argue that Linkin Park created a genre of music all to themselves, and they’d be correct. However, not to include one of the most influential, talented, brilliant, angsty bands of all time on their list is essentially criminal on the part of Variety.
Good Charlotte – “Girls and Boys“
I’ll happily admit that there are a lot more emo, angsty Good Charlotte songs. Having seen this band more times than I’d care to admit, let me tell you, there is not a single soul within earshot who doesn’t become their best teenage selves when the opening bars to this song play. Watching an entire concert worth of people do the clap-clap in the middle is probably one of my top five experiences of all time.
Avril Lavigne – “When You’re Gone“
Find me a better breakup song. Just try. You can’t.
My Chemical Romance – “Thank You For The Venom“
While most would probably go for something obvious, like “I’m Not Okay,” there is just something about the way that “Thank You For The Venom” was produced that makes it the best MCR song of all time. Even my James-Taylor singing, bluegrass-loving father rates this song super highly. You can’t help but love it!
Dashboard Confessional – “Hands Down“
Literally no list of emo music is complete without Dashboard Confessional. Variety opted for “Screaming Infidelities” because they clearly know nothing. “Hands Down” is by far the best, most emo Dashboard song of all time. I’ll die on this hill.
Motion City Soundtrack – “Everything Is Alright“
If you didn’t fully grow out of your emo phase, you’re probably dealing with untreated anxiety right now. If you’re not, this brilliant Motion City Soundtrack hit is sure to remind you of it faster than you can say “Biden’s America is an Apocalyptic Nightmare.” The lyrical makeup of this song is an anxiety attack to a brilliant bassline, and it’s still so freaking good.
The Used – “Pretty Handsome Awkward“
Variety once again got this one so, so, so wrong. They chose “The Taste of Ink” as their favorite emo song by this iconic band. WRONG. “Pretty Handsome Awkward” is the best song ever released by The Used.
Paramore – “Misery Business“
This is such an obvious mainstream emo song choice I laughed out loud when Variety chose “Decode” for their list. Sure, the latter might have been used in the “Twilight” franchise, but real emo kids always thought that book series was lame.
Fall Out Boy – “Dance, Dance“
Again. Why wasn’t this on the list? “Dance, Dance” literally reinvented the entire music industry when it was released in 2005.
Evanescence – “Bring Me To Life”
You either know this song because it was everywhere in 2003, or because you’re a huge fan of “The Office” and remember this scene all too well…
Rise Against – “Swing Life Away“
Some people wouldn’t put Rise Against in the emo genre, but “Swing Life Away” is one of those songs that you’ll never forget once you hear it. It’s one of the most heart-wrenching love songs of all time, and one of the first to normalize acoustic singles. Rise Against recently played a concert near my home, and despite having not heard this song since around 2008 or before, my friends and I somehow still remembered every single lyric.
Funeral For A Friend – “Roses For The Dead“
You can’t do a list of the best emo songs of all time and not include a Welsh band. Funeral For a Friend were absolutely massive back in the glory days of the emo movement, and toured for years with sold-out shows all over the world. This is definitely one of the most underrated and underrecognized hits from the era. (RELATED: REVIEW: ‘Shoresy’ Is The ‘Letterkenny’ Spin-Off Taking North America By Storm)
Yellowcard – “Lights And Sounds“
You could choose literally any Yellowcard song for this list and you would be correct. Variety opted for “Ocean Avenue,” an obvious and epic choice. My personal favorite Yellowcard hit is “Lights and Sounds” purely for the mosh-pitability of the production. “Empty Apartment” was a very, very close runner up.
Simple Plan – “Welcome To My Life“
Every teenage emo might as well have had the lyrics to this iconic song tattooed on their eyelids and blood vessels; it was so well written for the time. The folks over at Variety are such boomers they didn’t even include Simple Plan on their list! Cringe.
So there we have it, the Actual Top 15 Best Emo Songs of all time. Oh, and if you’re wondering, below is the best emo music video of all time…