If you are feeling at all saddened by this election, then I’ve got your remedy to political dissatisfaction. I’ve always believed the immediate solution to sadness is sad music, so for you I’ve gathered some of my favorite emo albums for you to wallow in. Even if you are entirely content with the outcome of this race, then I still implore you to sit and listen to these very good emo records. Or you could do whatever you want. Enjoy if you so choose.
What It Takes To Move Forward – Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate)
Continuing upon long tradition of emo excellence from the Midwest, empire! empire! took front at the third wave of emo revival with their return from emo-punk to a gentler, more somber approach to the genre. Recalling Mineral’s tender EndSerenading, this album is soft, romantic and lyrically impressive. A long album full of long songs, What It Takes requires some effort to finish. Listen to the banjo ballad “With Your Greatest Fears Realized, You Will Never be Comforted” and “Keep What You Have Built Up Here.”
The Power of Failing – Mineral
Mineral was the grandaddy of alternative rock in the new millennium and perhaps the greatest Midwestern emo band ever to come, having (along with Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker) fundamentally changed the emo sound from a hardcore offshoot to something singular and sad. The Power of Failing is Mineral’s first of only two albums released during their four year lifespan and runs over with emotive energy and lo-fi sincerity. Listen for the songs “Parking Lot,” “Gloria” and “Dolorosa.”
Nothing Was Missing, Except Me – Hightide Hotel
Hightide Hotel is a Philadelphia-based band known for their tight lyricism and breadth of sound. Nothing Was Missing is a bright and brief album, clocking in at barely thirty minutes but full of adolescent passion. The band has undertones of math rock and at moments they fuzz over with business. Sometimes an acoustic guitar, or a sample, or a chorus comes out of nowhere, but it’s all done in fun. Some great tracks include “I’m Just Sippin On Monster, Thinkin About Life” and “Life is Precious, and God, and the Bible.”
Look Now Look Again – Rainer Maria
Formed in Madison, WI, Rainer Maria was one of few female-fronted emo bands in a genre that is almost entirely done from a male perspective. Look Now Look Again was released in 1999, just as emo took a more pop-oriented step. Despite the zeitgeist, they maintained a style devoted to dynamism, poise and ambience. Notable songs: “Planetary,” “Rise” and “Breakfast of Champions.”
Four Minute Mile – The Get Up Kids
An important precursor to pop punk, the Get Up Kids created a sound that was less sparkled and airy than other emo artists and more grounded in traditional punk. Pop punk bands Fall Out Boy and Blink-182 have both claimed the Get Up Kids to have been essential to their own creations and intents. This album is their 1997 debut and is equal parts confession and rebellion. It is rough and immature and indispensable to the genre. Some tracks to notice: “No Love” and “Don’t Hate Me.”
The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me – Brand New
The Devil And God is a pillar in the pantheon of mid-00’s emo and one of the only true emo albums to receive mainstream attention. A concept album about the fight between good and evil, this record works in dichotomies: soft and loud, defeat and victory. Though rather typical in structure, the album accomplishes total devotion to a theme and its atmosphere. Notable tracks: “Sowing Season,” “Jesus Christ” and “You Won’t Know”.