Music can be therapeutic. If you’re like me, you turn to music not just for enjoyment but to let out frustration. If you’re really like me, you also love emo rock music and find yourself jamming out to My Chemical Romance and Paramore during the workday to get your blood pumping and lament over the state of the world and the existential crisis you’ve been having since, well, forever.
I first found the therapeutic effects of music during the start of the pandemic in 2020. I was a college senior then, writing for my school’s newspaper, and I got the idea to interview fellow students to ask them about the songs they listened to during the pandemic. It became a series of pandemic playlists, and to this day it’s still one of my favorite pieces I’ve written.
Unfortunately, we’re still in the pandemic, which sucks for a myriad of reasons. However, what doesn’t suck is that we now have a shameless excuse to share the best emo music, getting us in our feelings and expressing the pains and joys of life. I’ve found the 2000s punk rock artists perfectly describing my state of mind and mood over the past two years, and I’m sure they’re plenty of others who feel the same.
Therefore, without further ado, here are 10 emo rock songs you can add to your pandemic playlist when you’re feeling down, want to vent, or need motivation during this time.
1. All Around Me by Flyleaf
Considering the COVID-19 virus and its many variants are all in the air, it’s hard not to feel like it’s suffocating you: “I can feel you all around me, thickening the air I’m breaking.”
2. Last Resort by Papa Roach
Many of us felt this way when we first started quarantine: “Cause I’m losing my sight, losing my mind, wish somebody would tell me I’m fine. Nothing’s all right; nothing is fine.” The last line didn’t have to hit so hard, but it did.
3. In The End by Linkin Park
Sing this with me when you see how terrible our laws are and how the people elected to represent haven’t helped at all: “I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter.”
4. I’m Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance
The title alone is relatable. Who’s okay right now, really?
5. I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace
This is how many of us felt toward 2020 (and 2021, and 2022…). The world is genuinely apocalyptic in many ways right now and that just sucks. This is a way to give it a middle finger because seriously, world? WTF?
6. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
This one is definitely for when you’re feeling lonely. “My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me.” It hits a little too close to home.
7. I Miss You by blink-182
The title is the perfect anthem for all your friends you haven’t seen since quarantine. Even with the pandemic slowing down in some places, many of us still haven’t seen our friends. I’m sending virtual hugs all your way.
8. Bring Me to Life by Evanescence
There’s a reason this song is a meme: it’s epic and carries the right tune of urgency. Play this when you need the motivation to get off the couch and start school (or use it as your alarm clock): “Wake me up inside!”
9. It’s Not Over by Daughtry
The title and lyrics of this song capture a feeling of hope. Despite all the horrible stuff that’s happening, life isn’t over, and it won’t be. We’re allowed to feel sorrow and helplessness, but we’re also allowed to feel hope.
10. Monster by Paramore
The chorus says it all: “I’ll stop the whole world from turning into a monster and eating us alive.” The disease of the pandemic, rising inflation, inequity…all these things are slowly destroying our world. But I’ll be damned if I let it destroy us. I still have hope holding out and will fight to the bitter end.
This is one of the many ways I’m coping with this 2+ year pandemic we’ve found ourselves in. It sucks, but nothing everything sucks, and I’m taking that as a win. Plus, emo music is always a mood. I am, and will always be, an emo kid for life.