High Fidelity begs the question, “What came first, the music or the misery?” Well, for me, middle school was the misery, and the soundtrack was emo.
One major postgrad problem is that our lives are becoming a constant Throwback Thursday. We’re nostalgic for the good old days, when we could drink non-stop, hookup with randoms, and didn’t have to make our own dollar bills. It’s less often that we reflect on our middle school or high school years. Life was actually pretty good back then. Our parents babied us, there were so many naps, and homework wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought. Despite our cushy lives, our raging hormones led us to search for deeper meaning in our mundane, suburban lives. Here are some of your old school emo favorites to brighten your day.
Taking Back Sunday is proof that teenagers just have so many (too many) feelings. Back in the day, you had to choose your loyalty (according to Alternative Press, anyway), to Long Island favorites TBS or their extreme rivals, Brand New. After Jesse Lacey left Taking Back Sunday and started Brand New there was a feud of epic proportions, involving dramatic lyrics that were more violent and terrifying than most Eminem songs. Now, that’s not a disagreement I would want to get in the middle of, because both lead singers are terrifying in their emo enhanced fury. Plus, I was always a Brand New girl myself, as mics are for singing, not swinging (and Jesse Lacey was such a dreamboat). My main man Flavor Flav makes an incongruous cameo in this oddball video, lip-syncing incredible lyrics like, “The truth is you could slit my throat, and with my one last gasping breath, I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt.” In my pubescent mind I just wanted some poor schmuck to feel that way about me, but now I’m glad I was able to avoid an overly emotional stalker in skinny jeans.
One of the TBS dudes jumped ship to start Straylight Run, an even more emotionally driven sad sack band. While I’d like to poke fun at the thought of a whole generation of prepubescent existentialists, this song is still pretty beautiful.
Tyson Ritter was such a hunk. I hung out with him at a bar recently, making all my middle school dreams come true. Unfortunately, his years of drug use have led to him being a little less stunning, showing me just how old I am (ancient).
I dressed up like a punk rock princess for Halloween one year, and my friend went as the girl all the bad guys want (remember Bowling for Soup?). I’m pretty sure I was convinced Andrew McMahon was writing about me (spoiler alert: so was every other suburban girl in existence).
There is nothing more depressing (or amusing) than listening to Conor Oberst talk about his terrible life. If you’re feeling bad about your postgrad days, all you have to do is turn some Bright Eyes on and you’ll feel better. Anytime he sings it sounds like he’s slowly being murdered while sobbing, so it’s a real pick-me-up. Lyrics like, “Life’s no storybook. Love’s an excuse to get hurt and to hurt,” prove that Bright Eyes was a real bummer.
There were few men as dreamy as old school Jesse Lacey. Those eyes, that crippling depression. It was quite a package for middle school girls all over America. No one in the world has ever been as angry as Lacey, which is kind of weird considering how cute he is. Cheer up!
Oh, Chris Carrabba, you were by far the most intense of the emo dreamboats. As a nugget, your hunky ways made me happy that other people felt exactly how I did (despondent). However, just because I liked knowing you felt the same way didn’t mean I wanted other people to, which is why I made many girls in middle school cry when I called them posers. My apologies.
Celebrate Throwback Thursday today by realizing that no matter how rough your life seems, it’s not nearly as bad as was when you were twelve (at least in your mind). While you peruse everyone’s Instagram photos of days when they were skinny and single, rock out to these songs and realize that no matter how hard the real world seems, it’s not as bad as middle school, and in a couple of years your problems will seem insignificant, silly, and a little bit emo.