Music at the turn of the century was pretty dramatic.
Not to say that every other decade didn’t have its own type of angst-ridden, whiney music that spoke almost exclusively to the world’s teenagers, but the early 2000’s gave way to the mainstream explosion of Emo, a pop/punk/alt genre all it’s own. In 2002, Dashboard Confessional was “Screaming Infidelities” into my sad, complicated, 13-year-old heart with some of (what I thought) was the most wonderful, emotional, passionate music I’d ever heard.
Then came Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, The Used, Saves the Day, Hawthorne Heights, Say Anything, Thursday, Alkaline Trio, My Chemical Romance, Senses Fail… Over the next 8-ish years the names got stupider and the voices got a screamy-er, but goddamnit if I didn’t love every last bit of it. These bands were my gods and Absolutepunk.net my bible. They just GOT me, you know? They told stories of beautiful girls that got away, sad girls that they wanted to help but didn’t know how, mad girls that just couldn’t help but scream sometimes…. I’m totally all of those things!! They were smooth, poetic and sexy, and I was pretty sure that one day soon I would find my very own emo boy who could play me “Cute without the E” on an acoustic guitar and we’d probably ride off into the sunset together.
Now that I’m a bit older and have gone through a few romantic trysts, a real-ass relationship and a real-ass break up, I can’t help but think about how severely I was mislead. It turns out a guy with the level of dedication to let me “slit his throat and then apologize for bleeding on my shirt,”(Taking Back Sunday – You’re so Last Summer) is not a thing one should expect in any future.
So regardless of which side of the Brand New / TBS feud you fall on, join me in recounting all the ways Emo music gave me unrealistic expectations of love and dating.
“You’ll Never Scream So Loud / As I Want to Scream With You”
Aw, reciprocal screaming? These are the romantic gestures that teenage dreams are made of. Where is this type of passion with the men one meets in real life?
“So let’s play doctor babe / We’ll operate today / Incisions must be made / You could help solve this case / I’ll catch the murderer / And send him away / I’ll get the evidence / From your last day”
Granted, this is may be the worst and most disgusting love song ever, and also includes the lyrics “We’ve got to hurry up/ Before the flesh decays”… but committing to solving my murder and catching the killer? I mean, this a level of dedication that the average prince charming in this day and age isn’t coming close to.
“When I watch you / I wanna do you right where you’re standing / Right on the foyer / on this dark day / right in plain view “
A real sexy, sweep-me-off-my-feet guy was planted in my brain from this song, but to be honest the real appeal for me in this lyric was that I’d meet a guy who pronounces foyer as “foy-yay,” and to this day I have not.
“So long as you’re alive and care / I promise I will take you there”
Doesn’t even matter where he’s talking about whether it’s a physical place or perhaps a metaphorical “there”, I’d like to experience this level of commitment from anyone. The only requirement is to be breathing and giving a shit? I’m both of those things on most days take me anywhere, Bert.
“Why can’t I feel anything / from anyone other than you? / I stay wrecked and jealous for this/ for this simple reason I / just need to keep you in mind / as something larger than life”
Is it too much to ask for a guy to pine after me, quietly but unrequited? Songs like these made me realize that every girl has some adorable misfit that’s obsessed with her from afar, “outside of her window,” and one day she’ll finally notice him… and probably call the cops.
“And if it makes you less sad, we’ll start talking again / You can tell me how vile / I already know that I am / I’ll grow old, start acting my age”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this a guy who’s admitting he screwed up… admitting he was immature… and is interested in how to make me less sad? It doesn’t even matter what he did, this much self-awareness and admission of fault in one person is more than any I’ve experienced in multiple real life men. (Also Jesse Lacey if you’re reading this ILY 4EVER NMW call me).
“The truth / Is you could slit my throat / and with my one last gasping breath I’d / apologize for bleeding on your shirt.”
It’s never socially appropriate to express a love of this magnitude.
All the real Emo kids will remind me that this song, and lyric, is actually a huge piece of the epic Jesse Lacey /Adam Lazarra / John Nolan TBS vs BN feud, and these lyrics were more likely applicable to the dissolving of a male friendship rather than a girl, but it’s clearly about love none the less.
“Let’s get drunk You can drive us to the harbor / Wish upon a star but / Do you know what stars are?”
Drunk, harbor, stars… All sounds good, romantic, CUTE even, but as soon as one of us are of legal driving age we know we obviously can’t drink and drive, so now this is just a charming death wish.
“I am heaven sent / Don’t you dare forget / I am all you’ve ever wanted / What all the other boys all promised.”
In song and on stage, this kind of confidence is a major turn on. I believe you Jesse , straight from God you are!
In a Frat house, club, bar, coffee shop, or dating profile, these words could only be uttered by spawn of the devil himself.
“Any one will do tonight / To hell with you and all your friends, it’s on”
No, yeah actually – this one completely prepared me for modern dating.