15 Legendary Emo Bands of The 2000s

The 2000s was a golden age for emo music. Here are 15 bands that will forever be remembered in the emo hall of fame!
15 Legendary Emo Bands of The 2000s

The 2000s was a golden age for emo music. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that the emo scene was reaching its peak during this time and there was nary a place one could go where the teenage angst didn't didn't spill endlessly from the hearts and minds of tortured souls in skinny jeans with long swooped bangs, and plenty of black nail polish.

Scene kids frolicked around shopping malls, emo kids hung out at Denny’s until the early hours of the morning (never buying more than a bottomless coffee and emptying sugar packets all over the table just because) and all the while emo bands everywhere were releasing some of their best material to date.

Some of these iconic emo bands came and went while others continue to make music to this day. Many were surrounded in scandals while others changed their music genre and style altogether.

Whether they’re still together and making music or not, here are 15 of some of our favorite emo bands from the 2000s that have gone down in history as legends in the emo hall of fame for their undeniable influence and contributions to a remarkable era of music.

1. Taking Back Sunday

taking back sunday 2000s emo band

Hailing from the land of bagels, pizza, and, you know, the Big Apple (yes, we're talking about New York), Taking Back Sunday blasted into the music scene in 1999. Eddie Reyes said, "Hey, let's start a band!" and boom, the emo/pop-punk legends were born.

Frontman Adam Lazzara, known for his signature mic-swinging (seriously, you've got to check it out if you’ve never seen it), is the vocal powerhouse behind the band, pouring out raw, heartfelt lyrics that hit us right in the feels. The rest of the gang, featuring the versatile John Nolan on guitar and vocals, the low-end maestro Shaun Cooper on bass, and the beat master Mark O'Connell on drums, complete the band's iconic sound. Mind you, the members of the group have shifted somewhat since the early days but that didn’t stop the unique sound of TBS from reaching the top.

Taking Back Sunday's rise to emo royalty started with their debut album "Tell All Your Friends" with angsty anthems like "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)" or the emotional rollercoaster that is "You're So Last Summer". These hits were the soundtrack to teenage heartbreaks and rebellions, etching the band's name into the emo hall of fame.

Their third album, "Louder Now", is another jewel in their discography. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart—that's right, sad pandas, these emo heroes were taking over the mainstream!

What sets Taking Back Sunday apart? It's not just their unapologetically raw lyrics, infectious melodies, or back-and-forth vocals giving that signature sound. It's their electrifying, high-energy performances that turn every concert into an unforgettable experience. And let's not forget Lazzara's passionate vocals—seriously, this guy sings like he's pouring out his soul, and we're here for it!

So, whether you're an old fan or just discovered them through your older sibling's (or even *gasp* your parent's) CD collection, Taking Back Sunday is the soundtrack to the hearts of emos young and old. Their music is like a timeless, angsty diary, perfectly capturing the thrill, the pain, and everything in between that comes with growing up. And we wouldn't have it any other way. 

Our favorite song pick:

2. Jimmy Eat World

jimmy eat world 2000s emo band

Born in the sunny desert of Mesa, Arizona, in 1993, Jimmy Eat World was the brainchild of childhood friends Jim Adkins (lead vocals, guitar) and Zach Lind (drums). They teamed up with Tom Linton (guitar, vocals) and Rick Burch (bass), and the result was pure alt-rock magic!

The band's name? It's a fun story, actually. It supposedly comes from a crayon drawing made by Tom Linton's younger brother, after a little tiff between the siblings. The drawing depicted Jim, the older brother, devouring the entire planet. The caption? "Jimmy Eat World." Crazy, right?

Let's fast forward a bit to the release of their first major success; "Bleed American". This album was a game-changer! With tracks like "The Middle" and "Sweetness", you couldn’t escape these catchy melodies that you’d be singing along to all night long (whether you liked it or not).

And who can forget "Hear You Me"? If you didn't slow dance to this tune at least once during high school, did you even experience teenage heartache?

The “Futures” album released in 2004 hit like a ton of bricks with its emotionally charged lyrics and infectious melodies. This album didn't just knock on the doors of our hearts—it kicked them wide open and made itself at home! If you want to feel all the feels, look no further than this album.

Jimmy Eat World's sound is a whirlwind of emotions—one minute you're jumping around to their upbeat tracks, and the next you're reaching for the tissues as they slow things down. They're the kings of anthemic choruses and introspective lyrics, making us feel seen and heard during our most emo moments.

Jim Adkins, with his heartfelt vocals, is like that friend who understands exactly what you're going through. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew provide the perfect backdrop with their catchy riffs and rhythm. All of it comes together for alt-rock emotive music that will leave you wanting more.

Our favorite song pick:

3. Thrice

thrice 2000s emo band

Emerging from the sunny landscapes of Irvine, California, in 1998, Thrice is a potent blend of Dustin Kensrue's gravelly vocals and poignant lyrics, Teppei Teranishi's explosive guitar riffs, and the Breckenridge brothers (Eddie and Riley) bringing the rhythm with bass and drums, respectively.

Thrice didn't just enter the post-hardcore scene, they smashed into it like a meteor, shaking us to the core with their energy, emotion, and edginess. Their name might mean 'three times' in old English, but their impact has been a hundredfold in the music world!

Their music is a journey of epic proportions traveling high and low, while blending elements of punk, metal, and even some progressive rock, taking us on a momentous trek through angst, introspection, and rebellion.

Let's talk about one of their seminal works, "The Artist in the Ambulance". This album is like a defibrillator to the heart, jolting us with tracks like "Stare at the Sun" and "All That's Left". It's Thrice in their element—raw, powerful, and unmistakably real.

Fast forward a bit and we reach "Vheissu", an album that saw Thrice experiment with their traditional sound and push their boundaries. With tracks like "Image of the Invisible" and "Red Sky", they proved that they're not just musicians, but artists—unafraid to evolve and challenge their listeners (this album was definitely one of our all-time favs).

Thrice is like the big-brother band of the emo and post-hardcore scene, guiding us through life's trials and tribulations with their music. With every strum, beat, and lyric, they remind us to stay true to ourselves, to question, to feel, to reflect, and most importantly, to rock out at every chance we get.

Our favorite song pick:

4. Dead Poetic

dead poetic 2000s emo band

Alright buckle up, emo aficionados and nu-metal mavens! It's time to dive into Dead Poetic!

Hailing from the small town of New Lebanon, Ohio, Dead Poetic crashed onto the scene in 1997. This band isn't just a group of musicians—they're poets, philosophers, and pioneers of their genre. Frontman Brandon Rike, with his gut-wrenching vocals and soul-baring lyrics, alongside the instrumental prowess of Zach Miles, Jesse Sprinkle, and Dusty Redmon, created a sound that was the perfect storm of emo, post-hardcore, and nu-metal.

Dead Poetic's music was like forced shot of adrenaline straight to the heart, blending raw emotion with head-banging riffs and beats. Their name might sound somber, but their music was anything but, breathing life and energy into every note and lyric.

Their breakthrough album, "New Medicines" hit like a punch in the gut, in the best way possible. Tracks like "Glass in the Trees" and "Taste the Red Hands" were like emotional earthquakes, shaking us to our core with their raw power and profound lyrics.

What set Dead Poetic apart was their ability to weave deep, introspective poetry into their songs, all while keeping us head-banging and moshing. It was like they reached into our emo hearts, put our feelings into words, and then set those words on fire with their music. Their music is a testament to the power of raw emotion, authenticity, and of the beauty that can be found in the chaos of life.

Our favorite song pick:

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

yeah yeah yeahs 2000s emo band

Attention indie rockers and art-punk enthusiasts, this one’s for you.

Bursting onto the New York City scene in 2000, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a vibrant blend of Karen O's fiery vocals and theatrical performances, Nick Zinner's razor-sharp guitar riffs, and Brian Chase's heart-pounding drum beats. This trio didn't just join the indie rock scene, they set it ablaze with their unique sound and unapologetic attitude.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs' music is like some kind of otherworldly indie rock show in the calling forth an emotional explosion of feelings you didn't know lurked in the depths of your soul, blending punk, rock, and even elements of electronica. Their name might leave you mildly confused with perhaps a list of unanswered questions, but their music made us all shout in exhilaration and pure rock 'n' roll joy at every turn.

Their debut album "Fever to Tell" was like a lightning bolt to the indie rock landscape, electrifying a landscape with plenty of shock value. Tracks like "Maps" and "Date with the Night" hit in all the right places, shaking our speakers and our souls with their raw energy and emotion.

Let’s not forget "Zero" from their "It's Blitz!" album. This track is a high-octane, disco-infused ride that makes you want to dance and sing like no one's watching. Then there's "Heads Will Roll", an electrifying anthem that had us all nodding our heads and tapping our feet.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs distinguished themselves with their fearless creativity and their ability to create music that's not just catchy, but also emotionally resonant. With Karen O's passionate performances, Zinner's innovative guitar work, and Chase's relentless beats, they created a sound that's all their own.

Our favorite song pick:

6. Underoath

underoath 2000s emo band

This one is for post-hardcore devotees and screamo enthusiasts. All hail the raw and unparalleled music of Underoath!

Emerging from the sunny climes of Tampa, Florida, in 1997, Underoath is a potent blend of Spencer Chamberlain's raw, impassioned vocals, Aaron Gillespie's ferocious drumming (and equally stirring clean vocals), and the hard-hitting instrumental virtuosity of Grant Brandell, Chris Dudley, and Tim McTague.

Underoath didn't just step into the post-hardcore and screamo scene; they exploded onto it, giving us a sound that was the perfect storm of intensity, introspection, and innovation. Their music set off an emotional earthquake, shaking us to our core with its power and depth.

Their breakthrough album, "They're Only Chasing Safety" hit us like a tidal wave of emotion, with tracks like "Reinventing Your Exit" and "It's Dangerous Business Walking out Your Front Door" becoming anthems for all of us navigating the turbulence of life.

And then came "Define the Great Line", an album that saw Underoath push their boundaries and dive even deeper into their sound. Tracks like "Writing on the Walls" and "You're Ever So Inviting" are masterpieces of tension and release, of aggression and vulnerability.

What gives Underoath that distinct edge and sound is their fearless exploration of life's darkest corners, their willingness to question, to doubt, and to wrestle with their demons, all while delivering some of the most intense and compelling music the post-hardcore scene has ever witnessed.

Our favorite song pick:

7. The Used

the used 2000s emo band

The Used may very well be the definition of emo in countless aspects and that’s why this list would never be completed without them.

Formed in the quiet town of Orem, Utah, in 2001, The Used is a heady concoction of Bert McCracken's raw and raspy vocals, Jeph Howard's pulsating bass lines, Dan Whitesides' thunderous drumming, and Joey Bradford's razor-sharp guitar riffs.

The Used didn't just join the emo and post-hardcore scene—they took it by storm, creating an unstoppable whirlwind that was as emotive as it was explosive. Their music rushed over you like a torrent of raw emotion, sweeping us off our feet with its power and passion.

Their self-titled debut album burst onto the scene and even helped define the emo and post-hardcore genre with tracks like "The Taste of Ink" and "Buried Myself Alive". These weren't just songs, they were lifelines, giving voice to the angst and turmoil we all felt but couldn't express. And "Blue and Yellow"—quite possibly the definition of “emo” as a song that went down in history as a track every emo kid cried to at least once (excuse me while I sob quietly for 4 minutes).

Then came their second album "In Love and Death", which just further solidified their standing as emo icons. With songs like "Take It Away" and "All That I've Got", The Used showed us that they weren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves and dive headfirst into the messiness of love, loss, and everything in between.

What sets The Used apart is their fearless vulnerability, their ability to craft songs that are as catchy as they are cathartic, their raw and unhinged performance, and their unwavering commitment to authenticity. With every lyric, every note, and every beat, they remind us that it's okay to feel, to hurt, to love, and to be unapologetically ourselves.

Our favorite song pick:

8. My Chemical Romance

my chemical romance 2000s emo band

Blasting off from the urban sprawl of Newark, New Jersey, in 2001, My Chemical Romance is a dramatic concoction of Gerard Way's theatrical vocals and emotive lyrics, Ray Toro and Frank Iero's shredding guitar riffs, and Mikey Way's steady, pulsating bass lines.

My Chemical Romance didn't just join the emo and punk rock scene—they redefined it, much in the way The Used did (both sharing numerous tours together), bringing their unique blend of high-energy music, comic book aesthetic, and raw emotion to the forefront. Their music feels like an emo ray gun, full of angst, romance, and rebellion, and if it hits you, well, congratulations you’re emo now.

Their legendary album "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" was a game-changer, with tracks like "Helena" and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" becoming anthems for all of us who've ever felt like outsiders. And let's not even get started on "The Ghost of You" (still drying my eyes from The Used so I’ll need to come back to this).

Then cue "The Black Parade", an album that transcended music to become a cultural phenomenon. With tracks like "Welcome to the Black Parade" and "Famous Last Words", My Chemical Romance cemented their status as emo icons, giving us music that was as cathartic as it was catchy and landing them forever in the emo hall of fame.

My Chemical Romance distinguished themselves in the emo scene with their theatricality, their storytelling, and their ability to make us feel seen and heard. With every lyric, every note, and every beat, they've created a world where it's okay to be different, to feel deeply, and to embrace our inner misfit.

Our favorite song pick:

9. Hawthorne Heights

hawthorne heights 2000s emo band

“So cut my wrists and black my eyes”—the most emo lyric of all time from Hawthorne Heights’ “Ohio is for Lovers”

Formed in 2001, Hawthorne Heights burst out of Dayton, Ohio, with a sound that was as full of passion as it was potent. The band is a powerhouse of talent, with JT Woodruff's haunting vocals and introspective lyrics, Matt Ridenour's driving bass lines, and Mark McMillon's searing guitar riffs, all backed up by Chris Popadak's thunderous drumming.

Hawthorne Heights' music is a tour de force of raw emotion and intense energy. When their debut album, "The Silence in Black and White," dropped in 2004, we were all hit with the mega feels. Tracks like "Ohio Is for Lovers" and "Niki FM" became anthems for every late-night drive, every heartbreak, and every moment of existential angst.

But hey, let's not forget about their second album "If Only You Were Lonely"! It featured iconic songs like "Saying Sorry" and "Pens and Needles" that just hit you right in the heart (or whatever was left of it). This band didn't just make music—they provided a voice for a generation navigating the turbulence of growing up.

One of the things that make Hawthorne Heights stand out is their unflinching honesty. They're not afraid to delve into life's darkest corners, to explore themes of loss, longing, and love in a way that resonates with anyone who's ever felt a little bit lost. But they also remind us that it's okay to feel, to hurt, and most importantly, to heal.

Our favorite song pick:

10. A Day to Remember

a day to remember 2000s emo band

Formed in the Sunshine State of Florida in 2003, A Day to Remember descended onto the scene with a one-two punch of sound as bold as it is exhilarating. This phenomenal crew features Jeremy McKinnon's commanding vocals, Neil Westfall and Kevin Skaff's heavy-hitting guitar riffs, Joshua Woodard's heart-thumping bass lines, and Alex Shelnutt's relentless drumming.

It's like they took the rule book of music genres, shredded it to pieces, and then used the scraps to create something entirely their own. Seamlessly blending metalcore's brutal intensity with pop punk's catchy melodies, A Day to Remember's music is like being thrust into an unending mosh pit that keeps us on our toes and our hearts in our throats.

Who could forget the day you first heard "Homesick" or "What Separates Me from You"? These albums were game-changers, delivering anthems like "The Downfall of Us All" and "All I Want" that had us screaming along, fists in the air. And let's not even start on their heart-wrenching acoustic tracks like "If It Means a Lot to You".

The magic of A Day to Remember lies in their fearless fusion of genres and their knack for creating music that hits hard, yet remains incredibly catchy. Their lyrics resonate with honesty, tackling everything from heartbreak to triumph, making us feel seen and understood.

Our favorite song pick:

11. Paramore

paramore 2000s emo band

Hold on to your studded belts and band tees, because we're about to embark on a ride through the vibrant, heart-pounding universe of Paramore!

Blasting off from Franklin, Tennessee, in 2004, Paramore has been a powerhouse of energy and emotion, with Hayley Williams' vibrant vocals and poignant lyrics taking center stage. Backed by the killer musicianship of Taylor York on guitar and Zac Farro on drums, this band has been a pop-punk revelation!

Paramore's music is a pop-punk potion, blending catchy hooks with raw emotion and a dash of rebellion. The album "Riot!" shook the scene with tracks like "Misery Business" and "That's What You Get" that had us all headbanging and singing at the top of our lungs.

And then there's "Brand New Eyes", an album that showed a more mature side of Paramore without losing any of the energy and passion they're known for. Songs like "The Only Exception" and "Ignorance" showcased the band's ability to strike a balance between vulnerability and vigor.

But what makes Paramore uniquely them is their fearless evolution. From their pop-punk roots to their more recent forays into synth-pop and new wave with "After Laughter", they've proven time and again that they're not afraid to take risks and keep us all on our toes.

Our favorite song pick:

12. Brand New

brand new 2000s emo band

With their introspective lyrics and genre-defying sound, Brand New hit like a bullet train of emotional intensity.

Exploding onto the scene from Long Island, New York, in 2000, Brand New has been a force to be reckoned with. With Jesse Lacey's raw, emotive vocals, Vincent Accardi's innovative guitar work, Garrett Tierney's steady bass lines, and Brian Lane's dynamic drumming, this band has consistently pushed boundaries and redefined what emo and indie rock can be.

Brand New's music is a journey of sorts, taking us through a labyrinth of deep emotions and introspection. Their debut album, "Your Favorite Weapon," was a pop-punk masterpiece, with tracks like "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" and "Seventy Times 7" resonating with anyone who's ever felt the sting of heartbreak.

But then came "Deja Entendu" and "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me," albums that saw the band evolve into a darker, more mature sound. Songs like "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" and "Jesus Christ" became anthems for those late-night introspective moments, reflecting the turmoil and existential dread that often comes with growing up.

What truly sets Brand New apart, though, is their unflinching honesty and willingness to experiment. They've created a unique sound that blends emo's raw emotion with indie rock's inventiveness, resulting in music that's as thought-provoking as it is moving.

Our favorite song pick:

13. Funeral for a Friend

funeral for a friend 2000s emo band

Hailing from the valleys of Wales, Funeral for a Friend erupted onto the scene in 2001, wielding a powerful combo of Matthew Davies-Kreye's gripping vocals, Kris Coombs-Roberts and Gavin Burrough's electrifying guitar riffs, Richard Boucher's punchy basslines, and the rhythmically potent drumming of Pat Lundy.

Funeral for a Friend doesn't just play music—they serve up a smorgasbord of raw emotion, melodic mastery, and hardcore energy. Their monumental debut album, "Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation" featured tracks like "Juneau" and "Escape Artists Never Die"—these had us all singing along, fully immersed in an emotion-fueled ride to places we’d never been before.

Let's not forget about "Hours" (a personal favorite); an album that further showcased the band's skill at blending post-hardcore aggression with melodic hooks. From the powerfully moving "Roses for the Dead" to the anthemic "Streetcar," Funeral for a Friend proved they were no one-album wonder.

With their fearless exploration of sound and emotion—from their post-hardcore roots to their later, more melodic material, they've consistently pushed the boundaries of what emo and post-hardcore can be, creating a musical legacy that's as diverse as it is impactful.

Our favorite song pick:

14. Senses Fail

senses fail 2000s emo band

Exploding out of Ridgewood, New Jersey, in 2002, Senses Fail has been a beacon of raw emotion and intensity since the very beginning. With Buddy Nielsen's powerfully poignant vocals, Gavin Caswell's electrifying guitar work, Greg Styliades' resonant bass lines, and Steve Carey's dynamite drumming, this band has been the emo/post-hardcore scene's heart and soul.

Senses Fail's music feels like an audio diary, filled with soul-baring confessions and hard-hitting melodies. When "Let It Enfold You" hit the scene, tracks like "Bite to Break Skin" and "Rum Is for Drinking, Not for Burning" had us all emo rocking in the mosh pit and soul-searching at the same time, embracing the chaos and catharsis of growing up.

And let us not forget "Still Searching"—an album that echoed our own insecurities and existential struggles. Songs like "Can't Be Saved" and "Calling All Cars" became our anthems, our lifelines, and our shared experiences in a world that often felt isolating and defeating.

But it's not just about the music with Senses Fail, it's about the raw honesty, the fearless exploration of mental health issues, and the refusal to stay silent in a world that often prefers we do. They've given us a voice, an outlet, a sense of understanding in the chaos of life.

Our favorite song pick:

15. Alexisonfire

alexisonfire 2000s emo band

That’s right post-hardcore pals and scream-along stalwarts! Buckle up, plug in, and prepare for a thrilling ride through the electric, soul-stirring universe of a band that's blazed trails and melted faces. Dust off your best air guitar moves and let’s dive into the exhilarating world of Alexisonfire—the last (but certainly not least), band to make this list. 

Erupting from the heart of St. Catharines, Ontario, in 2001, Alexisonfire has been a post-hardcore powerhouse, creating a sound so unique it's like you woke up in a world of melodic intensity that you didn’t know you needed but somehow felt like home. With George Pettit's raw screams, Dallas Green's melodic vocals, Wade MacNeil's intense guitar work, Chris Steele's pulsating bass, and Jordan Hastings' relentless drumming, this band has made a seismic impact that continues to reverberate.

Alexisonfire's music feels like an explosion of raw hardcore emotion combined with a vocal ensemble with enough energy to send you to the moon (avoid listening after drinking Red Bull or you may explode). Their self-titled debut album was a siren call to all those craving something raw and real, with tracks like "Pulmonary Archery" and "Counterparts and Number Them" carving out a niche of their own in the music scene, not just in Canada but across the world.

Then came "Watch Out!" and "Crisis", albums that saw the band refining their sound and diving even deeper into their raw, emotive core. Anthems like "This Could Be Anywhere in the World" and "Boiled Frogs" had us screaming along, lost in the cathartic chaos.

But what truly makes Alexisonfire stand out is their refusal to be boxed in. Their unique blend of post-hardcore intensity, screamo emotion, and punk rock energy created an impressive journey that's as unpredictable as it is unforgettable. They've dared to push boundaries, to experiment, and to create something truly unique.

Our favorite song pick:

Final Thoughts

So, after all that—what defines these timeless emo bands of the 2000s? What makes them truly emo? With such a range of genres that infiltrated the emo music scene in those days, many bands could be considered “emo”. You’d probably find at least one of the bands listed here on every emo kids’ iPod back in the day and there are countless others we could’ve added but didn’t out of fear of turning this post into a million-page George R. R. Martin novel.

What made these bands memorable and their music timeless was the way they made you feel and the way they resonated with your own angst and emotion (not to mention it all being just incredible music in the first place). Emo music from the 2000s didn’t fit into a single genre and that’s what made it poetic and beautiful. It was a buffet of style, emotion, and sound with something there for everyone.

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