X96 Beginner’s Guide To Emo Revival


Emo rock is back, but it’s not what you might think.

In its heyday, early to mid-2000s, emo rock was wildly popular with bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, My Chemical Romance, Dashboard Confessional, The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, and Thirty Seconds To Mars who once filed the ranks of emo popularity during the time. However, during the late-2000s, emo rock declined in popularity due to music trends changing, as they often do, and that many of the emo pioneering bands were either moving away from their roots or breaking up altogether. Fall Out Boy broke up and then got back together and started writing more radio-friendly, stadium rock/pop music. Taking Back Sunday moved on from their over-aggressive shouting to a more mature style. Both Panic! At The Disco and Thirty Seconds To Mars moved on to a more synth-pop, glam rock sound. Chris Carrabba of Dashboard has been working on his new folk project, Twin Forks. And Brand New has been fairly silent for the past few years.

It looked like the emo scene had ran its course, until recently there have been a few underground Warped Tour-esque bands that have been keeping the flame alive. This new batch of emo groups have been taking elements of the emo scene and recreating it to fit a more modern musical landscape. Since this reincarnation of emo is noticeably different from the bands of yester-emo, the term “emo revival” was coined to describe this new sound. Emo revival keeps a lot of the aesthetics and feeling of the old emo-pop – the overtly confessional lyrics, over dramatic expressions and metaphors, and a overall melancholy/somewhat introspective attitude. The instrumentals have been toned down in order to keep more of a focus on the lyrics and emotional tone of the songs.

Let us take a look into what bands this new trend has to offer:

American Football – “Never Meant”

Technically, this band started in 1997 and ended back in 2000. So chances are that they won’t be on Warped Tour any time soon. However, they did briefly get back together last year and released an deluxe version of their self-titled album. American Football has set the standard and helped spark this new emo movement. Their style, specifically in this song, will be heard and reflected throughout the rest of this playlist. So it’s only fitting that they should be included on here.

Pianos Become The Teeth – “Repine”

Dark, melancholy, introspective, Pianos Become The Teeth have it all down. Their latest album, Keep You, is the perfect album for you to listen to during a rain storm or while driving home late at night.

Balance And Composure – “Reflection”

Balance And Composure fall on the heavier side of the emo revival spectrum. The soaring guitars and relentless drumming are very reminiscent of Circa Survive while the lyrics are much more emotionally heavy.

Foxing – “Night Channels”

Foxing’s new album, Dealer, is like a sucker punch straight to the feels. Don’t let the goofy video still fool you. This band very well could have Adele looking like she has heart of stone.

Tigers Jaw – “Hum”

Emo revival meets folk rock in Tigers Jaw’s “Hum.” Brianna Collins’ melodic vocals do well over the light folk guitar strumming. Tigers Jaw offers a more multi-layered style to the genre. You can either tune out the lyrics and simply nod your head and tap your foot to the simple beat or delve deeper into the lyrics and get an emotionally deep indie rock tune.

Moose Blood – “Cherry”

Think of early Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World having a jam session with So Long, Astoria-era The Ataris. That should give you a good idea of the scope of Moose Blood’s sound. “Cherry” falls more on the softer side of their sound while the rest of their album offers more of a early emo-pop vibe.

La Dispute – “Woman (In Mirror)”

Soft instrumentals that focus more on rhythm and beat give the listener more of a chance to focus on the lyrics and what story or message a band is trying to convey. That’s the goal with La Dispute, in particular their new album Rooms of the House. The vocals in the album range from mostly spoken word to screaming to some light singing while focused on telling the overarching story of the album.

The Front Bottoms – “Twin Size Mattress”

Similar to acts such as The Early November and Dashboard Confessional, The Front Bottoms have powerfully confessing lyrics written over a soft acoustic laden with other light instrumentals.

Touche Amore – “To Write Content”

Touche Amore also sit on the heavier side of the emo spectrum. Harsh guitars accompanied with screams that are just as harsh, both lashing out to grab the listeners attention.

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – “Heartbeat In The Brain”

Yeah, their music is just as intense and exhausting as their band name. More concentration is put on the instrumentals rather than the vocals in this track. The mixture of clean vocals and light screaming is something that has been touched on a lot by earlier emo bands (Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Hawthorne Heights, etc.). But these guys implement in a more toned down, melancholy way.

Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) – “How To Make Love Stay”

Another long-winded band with a sound that is equally exhausting on the emotions. “How To Make Love Stay” sounds like it could belong on Brand New’s The Devil And God Are Raging Inside of Me. It’s very similar to tracks like “You Won’t Know” and “Untitled.” This band focuses more on the downer guitars and  drums fills, breathing more emotion into the instruments than the lyrics.

Follow our Spotify playlist below and have yourself a good cry.

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