I’m writing this post before going out of town and I’ll be rehashing one of my posts from Nerdophiles for next week. This week though, you get me being kind of schmoopy.
Like many teenage girls who strived to be “not like everyone else” in the mid-2000s, I loved pop-punk. Especially what was coming out of Fueled By Ramen/Decaydance at the time. Being an angsty little teenager in a small town, bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Gym Class Heroes and Cobra Starship among others resonated hard with me.
Now, it’s been a hot minute since high school for me. I’ve grown as a person, giving less fucks about the kind of things I enjoy and understanding that being “not like everyone else” is a huge myth that we all go through and have to grow out of. I have a more expansive music taste…
…And yet, I’m still listening to a lot of those bands.
I’m not the only one either.
Let me introduce you to the subset called Recovering Emo Kids. (“Recovering Bandom Kids” and “Recovering Scene Kids” also apply.)
The Recovering Emo Kid is someone who still listens to these bands, actively enjoys them, and not just out of nostalgia reasons. They’re probably somewhere in their mid-20s to early-30s and feel like they’ve grown up with the bands in question. They got into things like comics because of Gerard Way and laughed at Kieron Gillen’s lamenting about how good The Umbrella Academy is or still giggle at inside jokes about Fall Out Boy and Panic! that grew on Livejournal back in the day. They still go to the concerts, even if it means feeling like the oldest person in the pit. Even when they haven’t heard a song in ages, they’ll still sing along with every word like The Academy Is… was still together. That last one happened to me at work the other day and I sang along with ‘Slow Down’ like it was 2006 all over again. It was kind of what inspired this post. (I did always have a soft spot in my heart for them since they were the band that lead to me discovering Butch Walker.)
Or they’ll just tweet about looking forward to the new Four Year Strong record to 877,000 followers. Looking at you, Seth Rollins. You’re one of us, bro.
You’re probably noticing by now that “recovering” isn’t the best word for this. We still enjoy it, clearly.
The issue is that pop-punk/emo/modern power pop/whatever you want to call it so often gets regarded as a genre you’re supposed to grow out of. You get older and you’re supposed to get into “cooler” music. Not these losers.
Yeah, but they’re my losers. Many of whom have been getting better and are still killing it. I’ve been playing ‘Hallelujah’ by Panic! at the Disco constantly since it came out and Save Rock and Roll and American Beauty/American Psycho by Fall Out Boy were both great records. I’m still waiting for the announcement of the new Cobra Starship record, dammit!
And there are still plenty of bands from around the time I don’t keep up with too well that I still look at nostalgically. Charlotte Sometimes’ Waves and the Both of Us is one of the most underrated albums in that genre and I’m simultaneously sad and relieved she never followed it up with another full length. I still think fondly of Say Anything even though I haven’t listened to anything since In Defense of the Genre and I have done the shittiest job keeping up with The Academy Is… members since they broke up. Don’t even get me started on my opinions of Gym Class Heroes post-As Cruel as School Children.
Still, I never saw listening to that kind of music as a phase and I’m not the only one. It’s engrained as part of our lives. We sing the words with passion then and now. We might even understand the songs a little better now that we’ve struggled a little more and it makes us love them even harder. We listen to new songs with excitement and walk to them like fire we command is at our heels or cry like the world is ending. Maybe even at the same time in some cases.
So here’s to all my fellow Recovering Emo Kids, whether they’re struggling 20-somethings or Superstars. For continuing to love the “loser” bands and singing along with every word, old and new. For every tattoo of those words that carried you home that you have or plan to get. For still laughing at all the times Pete lurked or crying at the Killjoys videos. For still putting up with everyone asking if Fall Out Boy, Panic!, or whoever was still a band or sighing every time you have to mention My Chemical Romance in this context. For putting that music on blast when you go to work. For commiserating with your online friends you met back in the day about it. For being the pit mom at every show even though there’s probably only about an 8-10 year difference between you and everyone else. For defending your taste. For just not caring what anyone else thinks because you know what you like. For not being the bullshit gatekeepers we put up with back in the day because you still actively feel the music in your soul and remember what it was like to find these bands when you were younger.
Here’s to all of it. You know what they say… believers never die.