Happy Valentine's Day, from this big lug.
(That's me – as a much smaller lug – above. Playing some emotionally fueled punk rock with my high school band in a Taking Back Sunday T-shirt.)
Though, with a bald head and big beard, I might look like I enjoy smashing skulls in my free time, I've got a relatively gentle soul.
By now, most of the regular readers of my columns – Hello to my editors, the faithful members of my family and, like, maybe two close, personal friends?! – should know that pop-punk, emo and many other related subgenres have held a place in my heart since about 1999.
I mean, I like some heavy stuff, too. Like, some really loud stuff. I'm totally more metal than you. OK?
It's just that I was in high school from 2001 to 2005, a glorious time when bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional and Fall Out Boy were taking over the airwaves with their emotional, angsty brand of rock.
They were indeed more polished and radio-ready than their predecessors in the '90s, which included bands such as Saves The Day, Rainer Maria, The Promise Ring, Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker, some of which also had a lasting impact on me.
Though my tastes would change as I went through college and into adulthood, like clockwork, I would still find an appreciation for new bands of the genre.
So, here are my favorite emo albums of all time, in chronological order. These are the bands and albums that set themselves apart and left a lasting impact on me. There are too many to list, honestly.
Time hasn't been kind to them all. Some bands faded away. Some never evolved. Some searched for superstardom. I used 2010 as a stopping point, focusing more on bands that I loved before entering adulthood. In the past few years especially, there has been an emo revival, but I had to stop somewhere.
Some bands and fans also resent the label "emo," which means some of you might disagree about what I consider emo. You might wonder why I didn't include Manchester Orchestra, Thrice or others. I don't consider them emo. We'll agree on most designations, though, I'm sure.
And actually, if you don't agree, why don't you just go cry about it. ... Because we're emo!
Right? ... Listen, don't cry. ... It's OK.