Emo and punk bands are noted for decidedly weepy, angsty lyricism...meaning tons of love songs written in the vein of the lover scorned. With Valentine's Day coming we've handpicked a mix of great emo and pop-punk songs that fit February 14 perfectly (and, yeah, weepily).
The requisite Weezer, Get Up Kids and Taking Back Sunday songs are present, but we also dug a little deeper to include romantic tunes from Braid and Jawbreaker. Fans of modern pop-punk will be happy to see Paramore, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, The Wonder Years, 5 Seconds of Summer and more in there as well. Come with us on a journey of emo love.
"Falling For You" is one of the best known tracks from Weezer's famed Pinkerton album, an energetic tune with a sweet sentiment: sweater-loving frontman Rivers Cuomo wants to settle down, and with you. The chorus is straightforward and innocent: "I like you way too much / My baby, I'm afraid I'm falling for you." Who can't relate?
A tad slower than the Weezer track and a hell of a lot more emo, "Valentine" is the Get Up Kids' somber love-jam, one that begs some unnamed person for affection. It doesn't end well: "Tonight for me translates to yesterday to you / You bend and you wave when you're barely away / I wish I could say tonight that when you bend / And wave goodbye you'd take me with you."
Of all of the great emo bands of the early-to-mid-2000s, Taking Back Sunday seemed to be the most comfortable with talking about sexual desire, often stopping their songwriting one step before getting undressed. "Great Romances of the 20th Century" is an excellent example of that, with frontman Adam Lazzara shout-singing, "I'm in your room / Are you turned on? / I'm on the corner of your bed / I'm thinking maybe, are you turned on?" Definitely.
The best acoustic pop-punk comes with a ukulele. Don't believe us? Just listen to the Wonder Years' self-deprecating and oh-so-sweet tune, "Hey Thanks." You'll want to call your significant other. Trust us.
More on the ukulele front, Hellogoodbye's "Oh, It Is Love," is possibly the best known track of this specific brand of pop-punk. It's a delicate number that illustrates the exact moment you realize you're out of "Like" and are in full-blown "Love."
Emo purists know of the Promise Ring as one of the very first bands in the genre, but also know and respect their game. Promise Ring was at it for years, and its legacy is strong. Much of the band's discography is about heartbreak and homesickness, none dealing with a crush quite like "Skips A Beat (Over You)," from their 1998 album Very Emergency.
Next to the Promise Ring in the emo canon is Braid, known for their asymmetrical math rock hooks. "Collect From Clark Kent" arrives on their '98 LP Frame & Canvas, perhaps their best known record. It follows a tale of love gone awry, the protagonist begging his love to come back to him: "Honey please don't ignore me / Please accept this call / I'm on the corner of cough and cold / And I'm a lovestruck lost soul."
Jawbreaker is a band known for their ability to write moving songs in a quick tempo. Music doesn't have to be a ballad to be moving, after all! "Jinx Removing," is built from the words of a man smitten, putting himself down while putting his love interest up with lines like "And I'm too dumb to talk to you / You're so quick to listen to me," and "I love you more than I ever loved / Anyone before, or anyone to come."
Blink-182 are easily one of the most important bands in pop-punk history and that status comes with a certain reputation...in their case, of the d*ck joke variety. It's not always total and complete silliness for these guys (the broken home anthem "Stay Together for the Kids" is proof enough.) Sometimes they're even sweet, kind and totally intimidated by cool ladies. "First Date" is about being nervous for, er, a first date, and how one fella navigates those butterflies.
Of all the band's on this list, Alkaline Trio is arguably the darkest. There's something delightfully goth about their unique brand of pop rock and roll. "Enjoy Your Day," doesn't sound exactly like the rest of their catalog, but does touch on equally as gloomy themes: "I'm broken hearted on the floor / My tears seep through the crack under my door / Where I am locked in, shut down / I'm so tired of picking myself up off the ground / So happy valentine's day / I hope the sun's out in New York / I hope he bought you roses."
New Found Glory's "Hold My Hand" is as touchy-feely as the title suggests. It's all about being so totally infatuated by a person and all their adorable traits: "The way your hair swings over your eyes / The motor in my head turns / Wanting you for such a long time / In my mind, a heart, a lesson to learn."
Dashboard Confessional, the brainchild of mastermind Chris Carrabba, is the closest thing to a folk singer-songwriter emo will get, save for Conor Oberst and those early Bright Eyes records. Of this very specific and intimate sound, one of the best narratives is found in "Hands Down," Chris outlining the "best date ever."
Lusting after someone can seem impossibly frustrating, but so is sustaining a relationship for years, and learning to grow stronger with each passing day. Paramore's "Still Into You" celebrates the hard work and love that powers commitment. There's nothing more rewarding than being able to look at your partner and realize you appreciate them the same as—or more than—ever before.
Not a single but definitely a fan favorite, "Long Way Home" is one of the first songs 5 Seconds of Summer wrote together. The reason it made the record, and possibly why it resonates with wise teens everywhere, is that it describes a simpler time, one of young love. Frontman Luke Hemmings opens the song with, "Take me back to the middle of nowhere / Back to the place only you and I share / Remember all the memories / The fireflies and make believe." Ahhh, youth!
Valentine's Day can be tough for those recently out of relationships. My Chemical Romance has an anthem for you to wallow in the misery, titled "I Don't Love You." The song is shockingly delicate when addressing the moment you realize you're no longer in love with your partner. Gerard Way perfectly croons a repetitive "I don't love you / Like I loved you / Yesterday." Grab those tissues!
If you are of a certain age and were into making mixtapes, this is the song you used to woo her. You know, her, the cool girl in high school, the one you wanted to make your "Punk Rock Princess"? Something Corporate were probably the schmaltziest band around for a while there, this song totally living up to their reputation: "Maybe when the room is empty / Maybe when the bottle's full / Maybe when the door gets broke down / Love can break in."
Before the mega-fame, before the marriage to Zooey Deschanel, Ben Gibbard and co. were indie darlings, bordering on emo. "I Will Follow You Into The Dark" was their calling card for a while, a perfectly non-threatening love song and one that, unlike many pop-punk tunes, celebrates love without being self-deprecating or vicious.
Yellowcard might find themselves characterized as a "one-hit wonder" by some with their single "Ocean Avenue" (which is definitely pop-punk canon, by the way) but those people haven't been paying enough attention. "With You Around" highlights the group's songwriting talent while being incredibly sentimental.
Tonight Alive's "Safe and Sound" makes the most sense as an acoustic performance: It's about feeling like your significant other is the one who makes you whole. Frontwoman Jenna McDougall sweetly sings, "And nothing in this world could ever make me this happy / So, don't fall asleep (don't fall asleep) / I'm yours to keep (I'm yours to keep) / And from here on in, I'm giving it everything." Heavy and romantic stuff, right?
While we await Against the Current's debut LP (out later this year), we'll have to enjoy their older material, including this super sad, lovey-dovey track "Dreaming Alone." Frontwoman Chrissy Constanza sings a duet with Japan's One Ok Rock frontman Takahiro "Taka" Moriuchi. That's a dream team if we've ever heard one.
Enough of the intense stuff. Sometimes you just need a sweet and silly tune to remind you about affection, and Anabor has got you covered. "You and I" includes lines dedicated to young love like, "You and I / We never get to sleep we're up all day / We're overworked and under paid...You and I / We've never felt so right." Being in love is just the best!
Many of Simple Plan's singles are about being a kid, not fitting in, and all that great outcast stuff. But when you need them to, they can totally nail a ballad. "I Can Wait Forever" is the perfect example of this: Pierre Bouvier opens it with "You look so beautiful today / When you're sitting there it's hard for me to look away / So I try to find the words that I could say / I know distance doesn't matter but you feel so far away / And I can't lie / Every time I leave my heart turns gray / And I wanna come back home to see your face tonight / Cause I just can't take it."
Now for something a bit more contemporary. Modern Baseball teeter between the emo and indie rock worlds, but if you're looking for something melodramatic and muted, we give you "How Do I Tell A Girl I Want To Kiss Her." The title gives away its innocence and sadness, as it should.
Okay, this is relatively old Saves the Day, so you know even when it's being lovey-dovey it's kind of a bummer, too. The song kicks off with, "I said I'd walk you home after our third round of pouring whiskey down the barrel of our guts / And I grabbed hold of your hand / We're up and we're out and we're yelling through the streets / And I'm out of my fucking mind / And I know you're next to me but I must confess what's in my head." Cute enough until it moves into a repetition of, "To me you are the light from a light bulb that breaks sometimes." Nobody's perfect, anyway.
Keep up to date with the latest news by subscribing to our newsletter.*required