Rites of Spring my tuchus! I’ve heard that album before and it sounds nothing like emo. That crunk is straight-punk and you know it.
Case in point: upon playing Cap’n Jazz (another “seminal emo band”) for some random teenager, he turned sour-faced and asked, “What is this s*** (by the way, kids in the mall will listen to anything you tell them to)?” Where are the hooks, teen-boy wondered aloud. “And why isn’t the lead singer talking about simple stuff like girls?”
Well, I have heard the cries of the “kids” and unfortunately their irreverence knows no bounds--they think that bands like Jawbreaker suck like…err, a jawbreaker.
All they want is to dress up in hoodies, wear wristbands and cry like little brats. Therefore, I’ve trimmed the pretentious fat and have graciously provided to you my list of emo albums that actually matter today.
And honestly, if we hear I more person call Joan of Arc “emo,” I will give them something to cry about. And then I’ll break their fingers so they can’t write a song about it, either.
Weezer/Pinkerton [Geffen, 1996]: On the second song, “Getchoo,” Rivers Cuomo sneers “this is beginning to hurt…” and instantly launches a million LiveJournals. It took people almost five years after its release to see how brilliant and personal Pinkerton is.
Sunny Day Real Estate/Diary [Sub Pop, 1994]: Dear Diary indeed! If I had a nickel for every time an emo band cited this dramatic masterpiece as an influence, I would finally be able to buy that Jeremy Enigk used towel I saw on eBay.
The Get Up Kids/Something To Write Home About [Vagrant, 2001]: They’ve toured with Superchunk (who opened for the Kids). They’ve recorded covers of the Cure, New Order, the Pixies and the Replacements. They rock a furious live show. Get over it; these Kids are all right.
Jawbox/Jawbox [Atlantic, 1996]: J. Robbins could have steered clear from getting stamped with the “e” label had he not ended this album with a furious cover of Tori Amos’ “Cornflake Girl.” Simultaneously, Amos obsessives everywhere traded in their curly red locks for a punk-like buzz cut.
The Promise Ring/Nothing Feels Good [Jade Tree, 1997]: Davey Von Bohlen, lead singer of the Promise Ring, reportedly had a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit. This album proves that his heart was even larger.
Blink 182/Take Off Your Pants and Jacket [Geffen, 2001]: Oh, you’re such a freakin' snob. You know that if these guys were around in the 70’s, they would have toured with the Buzzcocks--which for the lesser informed, is a good thing.
Alkaline Trio/Maybe I’ll Catch Fire [Asian Man, 2000]: Not since Rush recorded 2112 has a threesome captured the essence of alienation so effectively. Better yet, Matt Skibba’s voice will not annoy the bejesus out of you.
Rival Schools/United By Fate [Island, 2001]: Walter Schreifels has enough punk rock pedigree behind him (Quicksand and Gorilla Biscuits) to qualify as an elder statesman but with Rival Schools, he reinvented himself as an emo contender. This just in: People named “Walter” can actually be sex symbols (and so can Aryes).
Brand New/Deja Entendu [Razor & Tie, 2003]: With lyrics along the lines of, “if looks could kill/then my profession would be staring,” Jesse Lacey proves to have the sharpest wit of his emotive colleagues. The music itself, while not brand new, is not entirely déjà vu either.
Dashboard Confessional/The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most [Vagrant, 2001]: Whether you want to admit it or not, this one man whine-factory is not going away anytime soon. Yes, songwriter Chris Carrabba may be the bane of your existence but for millions of teens, he is the reason to exist.