Top Ten List: The Best Emo Albums (with special guest Lenny)

My good friend and roommate Lenny of Lenny Tunes and I like making lists and thinking about pop culture. Sometimes we like to compare our pop culture lists. That’s what we’re doing today.

These are our lists of the top ten best emo albums of all time, because in our apartment it’s forever 2005! Put on your thick glasses, crack open a Red Bull and put that My So-Called Life DVD on pause; this requires your full attention.

Lenny’s List:

10. ¡Viva la Cobra! – Cobra Starship (2007)

Cobra Starship was formed when the bassist of Midtown decided it was his mission to teach hipsters to not take themselves so seriously and to tell emo kids to stop being pussies. This resulted in the album “While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets”, which was just okay. But, on the second try they struck gold. “¡Viva la Cobra! “ is possibly the most fun album ever made, with slick, catchy tunes and funny lyrics about dancing, sex and robots. It’s everything an emo album shouldn’t be, but Gabe Saporta still can’t quite hide the fact that he’s one of us. Also, for the record, Gabe Saporta’s signature was wearing purple jersey hoodies and then Justin Bieber stole it.

Best Track: “Guilty Pleasure”

9. Pretty. Odd. – Panic at the Disco (2008)

This album just sounds unbelievably good to the ear. It is a fucking pleasant sounding album. The lyrics are a perfect combination of whimsy and narcissism, like listening to a group of fairies talk about how incredibly interesting they are. It’s a lot like listening to a group of fairies talk about how incredibly interesting they are.

Best Track: “Pas de Cheval”

8. Weezer (Blue Album) – Weezer (1994)

This is just good old-fashioned emo—a catchy, quietly heartbreaking album about simultaneously longing for companionship and for an escape from the world.

Best Track: “Undone (The Sweater Song)”

7. Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! – Hellogoodbye (2006)

This is a sweet and cheery album about young love, featuring Hellogoodbye’s lone hit “Here (In Your Arms)”. Every song is so adorable you just want to pinch Hellogoodbye’s cheek.

Best Track: “Baby, It’s Fact”

6. Deja Etendu – Brand New (2003)

The guitar and bass on this album are absolutely superb and the lyrics speak to the worst part of me. The lyrics are a perfect combination of articulate, dickish and sad. I never realized until I listened to this album that articulate, dickish and sad is all I ever wanted from an album, but now I’ll never settle for less.

Best Track: “Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t”

5. The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance (2006)

I’m not saying I’ve sat alone in my room, listening to this album all the way through and crying, but I’m also not saying that I haven’t done that. Gerard Way’s melodramatic lyrics might not work if it wasn’t for the way Ray Toro’s guitar riffs just sell each song, making every line just break your heart. I’m uncomfortable with how much emotion this album makes me feel. It’s an investment.

Best Track: “Disenchanted”

4. Nothing Feels Good – The Promise Ring (1997)

This is the polar opposite of the theatrics and sweet guitar solos of The Black Parade. Everything about this album is unassuming, but it’s also incredibly beautiful. Every track on this album captures something visceral. Listening to “Rasberry Rush” feels like going on a road trip with your best friend, “Red & Blue Jeans” feels like kissing someone you love.

Best Track: “Red & Blue Jeans”

3. From Under the Cork Tree – Fall Out Boy (2005)

This album marked Fall Out Boy’s transition from awkward, emotional kids in Chicago to influential rock stars who have Kanye West’s phone number in their contacts. That transition is very apparent in the content of the album, which combines songs about feeling inadequate around the prettiest girl in school with songs about influencing a generation of heartbroken kids. I think this album is so appealing to teens because it will be cynical and jaded in one moment, then effortlessly and swiftly switch into being wide-eyed and idealistic.

Best Track: “Of All the Gin Joints in All the World”

2. Take This to Your Grave – Fall Out Boy (2003)

From Under the Cork Tree contains the lyric, “We’re the kids you used to love, but then we grew old.” Well, this album is 100% the kids I used to love. It’s a catchy album about first love and heartbreak that feels like reading your best friend’s Livejournal as they pour their heart out. This album captures the most extreme emotions involved in first love, ranging from wide-eyed and sweet to absolutely, violently pissed off. It’s an awesome ride.

Best Track: “Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things To Do Today”

1.  Pinkerton – Weezer (1996)

I’m not sure what to say about this album that hasn’t already been said. It’s some perv talking about his feelings and it’s one of the most incredibly beautiful works of art ever created.

Best Track: “The Good Life”

Katie’s List:

10. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys – My Chemical Romance (2010)

I waited a long, long time for the follow-up to The Black Parade, and I was ready to turn on the brothers Way and their colleagues in a heartbeat if it disappointed me. I’d already been burned once by a terrible follow-up to one of my favorite albums by one of my (then) favorite bands, and I still haven’t forgiven Gabe Saporta. Luckily, Gerard Way responded to the threat of my discontinued affection, and the result was a silly, campy, crazy fun quasi-concept album that I quickly fell in love with. It’s a little unclear, but I’m pretty sure it’s about vampires in an Old West-type setting running from the vampire hunters who want to kill them. The songs are connected by the narration of fictional vampire radio personality Dr. Death Defying. Sound lame? It is! But it’s a ton of fun, and it sounds like the auditory equivalent of a  comic book, which I’m sure is what Gerard was going for. The question that haunts me: Is Dr. Death Defying actually a vampire in the world of this album and are the updates he gives supposed to be factual news reports? Or is this supposed to be a 1950s-style radio serial like Little Orphan Annie or the Lone Ranger?

P.S.: I just looked at the Wikipedia for this album, and apparently Frank Iero’s alter ego name for this album is “Fun Ghoul.” Whaaat?

Best track: “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”

9.  The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance (2006)

Much like Danger Days, The Black Parade is probably a concept album, but who knows for sure? It seems to me like the main character dies in the first song, then spends the rest of the album traveling through the afterlife and talking to other people about the ways they died. It’s sometimes sad and sometimes that special brand of kind-of-morbid-but-mostly-just-silly that My Chemical Romance perfected, but it’s mostly full of inspiration anthems that make me want to pump my fist and go fight for something! I don’t know what! “Welcome to the Black Parade” and “Famous Last Words” are especially moving.

Best track: “Dead!”

8. Pretty. Odd. – Panic at the Disco (2008)

Oh, Panic at the Disco.  Our tryst was so brief but so memorable. Like most people, I only really liked one or two tracks off their debut, and the only song of theirs I’ve heard since 50% of the band quit a couple years ago was the one they did for the Jennifer’s Body soundtrack. But my Ross-and-Rachel, Sam-and-Diane, Gabrielle-and-Carlos on-again-off-again with PatD aside, my love for this album has been consistent since the first time I heard it. It’s retro and psychedelic and slightly pretentious in a way that just makes me love it more, like a purple paisley ascot.

Best track: “That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed)”

7. Infinity on High – Fall Out Boy (2007)

Of all of Fall Out Boy’s albums, this one took the longest to grow on me. I bought it during my senior year of high school, then decided this album was pretty mediocre and deleted everything but the singles and “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am?” Then, I slowly realized I missed every track I’d deleted and gradually bought them all back. I have now purchased this album 1.75 times. Not a bad business model, Fall Out Boy!I can’t tell you why this album pulls a one-man tortoise-and-hair on you. All I can do is tell you not to be a fool like me and rashly delete “I’ve Got All This Ringing In My Ears and None One My Fingers” just because you think it’ll never grow on you and you’re personally offended by the crappiness of that pun.

Best track: “”The Take Over, The Break’s Over””

6. Take This To Your Grave – Fall Out Boy (2003)

Of all of Fall Out Boy’s albums, I think this one features Pete’s wittiest, most pun-packed lyrics. It also features him thinking about strangulation. A lot. No judgements! It’s hard for me to tell the tracks on TTTYG apart because they all sound pretty much the same and are clearly about the same relationship/break-up, but damnit, that is not a drawback! This album is almost like one long, continuous song with different movements, much like a Beethoven symphony. Or concerto. Suite? I don’t know. I don’t really listen to classical. I do listen to Take This To Your Grave, though! The one song that does very much stand out in both style and content is the sweet, catchy and only slightly devious “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy?”

Best track: “”Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things To Do Today””

5. Your Favorite Weapon – Brand New (2001)

It’s not that I don’t like current Brand New, but their debut album was really something special. It’s all about being lame, being heartbroken, and wanting revenge on the people who break your heart because you’re lame but deciding instead to keep wallowing. All set to catchy pop-punk guitar licks! Good fun.

Best track: “Seventy Times Seven”

4.Folie à Deux – Fall Out Boy (2008)

The first time I listened to this album, I was a little disappointed. I definitely liked it, but I was pretty sure it was my least favorite Fall Out Boy album and probably would have put it towards the bottom of my top twenty list. I blame my extreme fondness for it now on the fact that it was created by an older, more grown-up Fall Out Boy and I am now an older, more grown-up Katie. It’s a little depressing that my youth is clearly slipping away from me, but at least I have the comfort of knowing that Fall Out Boy will always be one step ahead.

Best track: “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”

3. The Ugly Organ – Cursive (2003)

Well, it’s been a pretty light-hearted pop-punk-fueled romp up to now, but the chuckles had to end sometime. This album is amazing, painful, sad, and cathartic with not a single smile to be had. It’s perfect listening for times when you feel bad and want to make yourself feel better by making yourself feel worse. Now please go curl up in the fetal position and listen to it as you silently cry yourself to sleep.

Best track: “A Gentleman Caller”

2. From Under the Cork Tree – Fall Out Boy (2005)

This is an entire album of perfectly polished, emotionally resonant pop-punk gems. You’ll be delighted! Then you’ll think about the real meanings of some of the lyrics and feel pretty sad. Emo!

Best track: “Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year”

1. Pinkerton – Weezer (1996)

This album is very, very, very, very good. I feel like elaborating too much will cheapen it, so all I’m going to say is go buy as many copies as you can find before Rivers Cuomo makes good on his threat to destroy the master tapes.

Best track: “The Good Life”

Riveting! Tune in next week for a different top-ten list!

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1 Comment

Filed under lists, Music, Top 10 Lists

One response to “Top Ten List: The Best Emo Albums (with special guest Lenny)

  1. Both of these lists are legit. Thank you to Lenny for pointing out the little fact about Gabe and the purple hoodie. You both have really good taste in music. You are also both very witty and I like it. I can’t wait for the next list.

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