I remember the first time I got into pop-punk/emo/screamo/alt rock (whatever you want to call it, but I think pop-punk fits the best) music. My high school freshman crush gave me a Good Charlotte mixtape (don’t judge me by how old I am), and commanded me to listen to them, as they were his favorite band. Up until that moment, my extent of music knowledge included pop music by Britney Spears and Mandy Moore, and, well… that was kind of it. I anticipated hating Good Charlotte, but I was shocked to find that I didn’t – I liked it. Actually, I loved it.
From there on out, I started getting more and more into pop-punk music. I still loved Britney and Christina, but there was something different about bands like Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. It wasn’t just that the music was catchy and pleasant to listen to – the lyrics spoke to me in a way no music ever had before. That might sound dramatic, but I’m being totally serious. As I dealt with all of these stereotypical high school girl problems, I got more into that music genre even more. The lyrics described my feelings perfectly. The anger and pure emotion in the songs made me feel less alone.
If you didn’t spend the early 2000’s listening to this pop-punk music, well, I’m sorry for you, because it was amazing. While a lot of these bands are still around (I literally just saw Taking Back Sunday and The Used in concert last month), I would argue that all of them made their best music in the early 2000’s. These 25 albums include songs that every girl will be able to relate to (especially the ones embedded). Check them out and thank me later.
1. Taking Back Sunday – Tell All Your Friends
Notable Songs: “Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team)”, “There’s No ‘I’ In Team,” Timberwolves at New Jersey,” every single song.
We’re obviously starting with Taking Back Sunday because they always have been, and always will be, my favorite band of all time. I have turned to their music for comfort in every messed up situation I’ve ever been in, and the lyrics have never failed to be something I can relate to. Tell All Your Friends is without a doubt their best album ever, hands down, but Where You Want To Be is also extremely important. I could write an entire essay about this band, but I’ll spare you guys. Let’s just say that in the battle of Brand New vs. Taking Back Sunday, TBS wins. End of story.
2. Brand New – Your Favorite Weapon
Notable Songs: “Seventy Times 7,” “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad,” “Soco Amaretto Lime.”
It was hard for me to choose between Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu, because honestly, both albums are so good, but I think in the end Brand New’s first album is the best. Brand New fans and TBS fans always used to be pitted against each other, but really, both bands were very formative for me. I’m obsessed with Brand New’s old stuff, but really am not into their new music. However, it’s almost impossible to say that this wasn’t one of the best pop-punk bands of all time.
3. Blink-182 – Enema Of The State
Notable Songs: “What’s My Age Again?,” “All The Small Things,” “Adam’s Song,” “Going Away To College.”
Blink-182 was obviously huge back in the early 2000’s. Everyone listened to them, even people who weren’t typically into this “scene.” There are so many great albums to choose from, but I’ve personally always really loved Enema of The State. I can STILL relate to “Going Away To College.” Blink-182, to me, has always delivered fun music that still has a lot of emotion, and it’s great.
4. Something Corporate – Leaving Through The Window
Notable Songs: “Hurricane,” “If You C Jordan,” and not on this album but obviously “Konstantine” needs to be mentioned.
My friends and I used to listen to “Hurricane” on repeat, and honestly, I still could, because it’s so damn good. Their 10-minute song “Konstantine” has also always remained a favorite for me. Something Corporate was so great, and delivered a little bit of a different sound than the other bands thanks to the piano. I’ve always been sad that they never came out with a third album.
5. Dashboard Confessional – The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most
Notable Songs: “Screaming Infidelities,” “Saints and Sailors.”
Dashboard Confessional is the music you listened to when you were depressed about your crush or your boyfriend or whatever, and you just wanted to feel miserable and listen to someone sing about being sad. It’s easy to make fun of this emo music, but sometimes you just need it. Plus, I mean, come on… “Screaming Infidelities” is a good song!
6. Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy
Notable Songs: “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too,” “Alive With The Glory Of Love.”
I was never super into Say Anything, but I knew a lot of people who were, so I feel like they deserve a spot on this list. “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” always reminds me of this music festival I used to go to called Bamboozle – when Say Anything would come on, all you could hear throughout the whole festival was the phone ringing, and then everyone would run over there to listen to this song, which is one of their best.
7. New Found Glory – Sticks and Stones
Notable Songs: “My Friends Over You,” “Head On Collision,” “Forget My Name.”
New Found Glory has so many albums that it was really difficult to pick just one. I really enjoyed Sticks and Stones, though – I listened to “My Friends Over You” so much that it’s actually embarrassing to admit. Even though New Found Glory still make music, their older albums will always be their best. I love Nothing Gold Can Stay almost as much as this one.
8. Jimmy Eat World – Jimmy Eat World
Notable Songs: “The Middle,” “A Praise Chorus,” “Sweetness.”
I’m not saying I still listen to Jimmy Eat World, but, fine… I still listen to Jimmy Eat World. I’ve always loved their sound! It’s just so pleasant. Also once I was crowd-surfing to them at a music festival (don’t ask) and someone stole my shoe off my foot. It was a sad day.
9. Good Charlotte – Good Charlotte
Notable Songs: “Little Things,” “East Coast Anthem,” “The Motivation Proclamation”
I have to dedicate this to my first boyfriend, who introduced me to Good Charlotte and really loved them a lot. So, they always make me think of him. I don’t know, I’ve heard a lot of people make fun of Good Charlotte because of their look, but their music always just made sense to me.
10. Simple Plan – No Pads, No Helmets… Just Balls
Notable Songs: “I’d Do Anything,” “I’m Just A Kid,” “Addicted.”
Simple Plan has often been compared to Good Charlotte, and they do have a similar sound. Their music was always a little too pop sounding for me, but I did enjoy having private dance parties to “Addicted.” And “I’m Just A Kid” really spoke to me.
11. Sum 41 – All Killer, No Filler (Fat Lip)
Notable Songs: “Fat Lip,” “In Too Deep.”
Sum 41 became hugely popular with this album, and they also had this “badass” image about them that everyone was really into. Every time you listened to “Fat Lip,” you did so because you wanted to be like EFF AUTHORITY FIGURES.
12. Rufio – Perhaps, I Suppose
Notable Songs: “In My Eyes,” “One Slowdance.”
Awww. Listening to Rufio brings me right back to high school in the most painful way. So many feels! They might not have gotten as popular or as mainstream as some of the other bands on this list, but their music was always so good. I have so much love for “In My Eyes” and “One Slowdance.”
13. Saves The Day – Stay What You Are
Notable Songs: “At Your Funeral,” “Freakish.”
I always loved Saved The Day because they had a really great mix of sounds. Their music could be slow and sad, with a lot of emotion, or it could be more bouncy and fun. I had no idea they were still making music, which is pretty awesome.
14. The Used – The Used
Notable Songs: “The Taste Of Ink,” “Buried Myself Alive,” and not on this album, but “All That I’ve Got” is definitely worth mentioning.
I saw The Used lived a few weeks ago, and I was reminded of how freakin’ good their old albums were and how much I loved them in high school. Not only is their music something you can really relate to, especially if you’re feeling angry and emotional, but they are also SO good live.
15. Straylight Run – Straylight Run
Notable Songs: “Existentialism On Prom Night,” “Your Name Here (Sunrise Highway)”
I loved Straylight Run immediately because it was created by Shaun Cooper and John Nolan, who had originally been in Taking Back Sunday. Straylight Run definitely has a different sound than TBS, but it’s a very soothing, pleasant sound. “Existentialism On Prom Night” is perfection. When Shaun and John went back to Taking Back Sunday a few years ago, I got to see their reunion show and listen to them play this live. It was magical. And “Your Name Here (Sunrise Highway)” always made me happy because Shaun and John are from Long Island, and so am I, and Sunrise Highway is a road I always drive on (we had a connection, guys).
16. Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism
Notable Songs: “The Sound Of Settling,” “A Lack Of Color,” “Tiny Vessels.”
Death Cab For Cutie has about a million albums, and choosing one was really difficult for me. But I really have always enjoyed Transatlanticism, so here we are. Death Cab will always remind me of Seth Cohen, and also the days where I felt really miserable – this band was the one I turned to when I just wanted to lie in bed, listen to music, and feel things.
17. The Starting Line – Say It Like You Mean It
Notable Songs: “The Best Of Me,” “Up and Go,” and not on this album but worth mentioning, “Bedroom Talk.”
The Starting Line regularly delivered catchy, pop-punk music perfection that was so easy to listen to no matter what mood you were in. I always loved this album in particular, but “Bedroom Talk” was also a very important favorite.
18. My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
Notable Songs: “Helena – So Long & Goodnight,” “I’m Not Okay, I Promise.”
This is the album that really gave MCR a lot of mainstream success. I actually enjoyed their recent album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. “I’m Not Okay, I Promise” is such a good song that just about any teen can relate to… I promise.
19. Senses Fail – Let It Enfold You
Notable Songs: “Buried A Lie,” “Bite To Break Skin,” Rum Is For Drinking, Not For Burning.”
Senses Fail has a kind of screamo sound that I had never thought I would be into it, but as it turns out, I couldn’t get enough of it. Senses Fail was what I listened to whenever I was feeling particularly angry, and this album was hands down my favorite.
20. From First To Last – Dear Diary
Notable Songs: “Emily,” “Note To Self,” “Ride The Wings Of Pestilence.”
To be honest, Dear Diary was the only From First To Last album I was ever really into. I had so much love for “Emily.” This was another band I listened to when I was feeling particularly emotional.
21. Sugarcult – Start Static
Notable Songs: “Bouncing Off The Walls,” “Pretty Girl.”
Sugarcult was another band I wasn’t super into, but I did enjoy this album. They made very catchy music that didn’t bring you down too hard, and I think that was a big part of their success.
22. Motion City Soundtrack – I Am The Movie (The Future Freaks Me Out)
Notable Songs: “The Future Freaks Me Out,” and not on this album but I love “Everything Is Alright.”
To me, Motion City Soundtrack had such a different sound than a lot of other bands. I wanted to jump around and dance to most of their songs, especially “Everything Is Alright.” But you can’t really talk about Motion City Soundtrack without talking about “The Future Freaks Me Out,” so…
23. Fall Out Boy – Take This To Your Grave
Notable Songs: “Dead On Arrival,” “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy.”
I would say that Fall Out Boy might be the most successful band from this entire list. They are still making music, but they also still have a huge fan base, and you still hear them on the radio. I’ve never been that into Fall Out Boy, but I do really like some of their songs.
24. All Time Low – Put Up or Shut Up
Notable Songs: “Coffee Shop Soundtrack,” “The Girl’s A Straight Up Hustler.”
I liked this album, but I was also really into So Wrong, It’s Right, and so it was hard to choose one. All Time Low always made catchy songs that were easy to sing along to.
25. Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
Notable Songs: “Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.”
Honestly, I’ve never been that into Panic! Maybe it’s because their song titles are so freakin’ long it is actually annoying, or maybe I just wasn’t into their sound. I don’t know, but they were HUGE and many, many people loved them, so I felt that I had to include them.
Which of these bands was your favorite? Which did you dislike? Which band or album did I forget? What do you disagree with me on? Tell me in the comments!