With the release of Voice Among The Many‘s debut album White Palace last week (our review here) we asked the band to take us behind some of their biggest inspirations that helped lead them to the sounds on their latest record. Turns out guitarist Michael Tronson is a massive fan of emo, so we let him take the reigns and tell us all about the 10 Bands That Were Bigger Than Emo…
The albums you listen to during your teenage years really solidify your musical taste for the rest of your life and for better or worse, mine landed smack, bang in the middle of the 2000s emo movement. I thought writing this list would be easy but actually, it was extremely difficult to narrow down not only the artists that I hold closest, but the ones that deserve recognition for the development of the genre.
One common thread I observed growing up was that most of these bands all had a problem with the label ‘emo’. I used to think that was a bit ungrateful, I mean imagine having a big enough following to which your fans could actually argue about what genre you belong to? Just accept the label! However, diving deeper I realised how all of these acts could never just be lumped into one category. Every one of them has distinct roots and their own spin on the genre.
Now years later I somehow find myself operating in the progressive rock scene, from emo roots to prog? It sounds like a leap but actually, it is clearer than ever how all of these bands shaped my musical taste and made me the musician I am today.
10. Yellowcard – ‘Way Away’
Yellowcard was the first band I ever committed spending my own money to. Ocean Avenue quickly became the soundtrack to my high school years. I was listening to this album around the time I went on my first dates and I still start sweating listening to ‘Only One’ & ‘Breathing’. The violin-infused punk sound was really something unique and no other band even attempted it after them. Yellowcard was a true anomaly of the movement. They weren’t afraid to be different and ended up creating an album that is so important to most in the scene.
9. Fall Out Boy – ‘Dance, Dance’
I feel bad for not putting FOB higher on this list but this was just too hard. Patrick Stump is probably one of the best songwriters of our time and a true renaissance musician (did anyone catch his 2011 solo pop album ’Soul Punk’ it seriously slaps). The combination of Pete’s lyrics and Patrick’s arrangements was like a modern-day Elton John and Bernie Taupin, a true showcase in the power of collaboration. Now if only Patrick would grow his mutton chops back out my life would be complete.
8. The Used – ‘Take It Away’
Burt sings: “And I’ve lost all doubt In a chemical romance…” coincidence? I think there was really something in the water when The Used released ‘In Love And Death’ like… both him and Brendon Urie ended up basically playing the same character in the ‘All That I’ve Got’ & ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ videos, how did that happen!? None the less a favourite of mine from that era. ‘Take It Away’ got many repeat listens and started several one-person mosh pits in my bedroom.
7. The Cure – ‘Lovesong’
Possibly the original emo band. Coincidently this song was released literally one week before I was born. Even as a baby I could feel the eyeliner calling me… The 80’s obviously had a different sound to the 2000s but a bunch of boys in eyeliner singing about their feelings? Come on. They are the grandfathers of emo and deserve all the recognition for it.
6. Dashboard Confessional – ‘Stolen’
Chris Carrabba aka Dashboard Confessional was basically who I wanted to be when I first decided to become a musician. I studied music with every intention on becoming a singer-songwriter that would eventually have a full band and follow in Chris’ footsteps. Instead somehow I became the bassist for a metal-core band and my path changed. One man, one guitar, wearing his heart on his sleeve and letting everyone know it was okay to feel things. That in a nutshell was what emo was all about right?
5. Underoath – ‘Reinventing Your Exit’
By far the heaviest band on this list and the precursor to my favourite album of all time ‘Define The Great Line’ Underoath started with more screamo roots (I spoke about this album’s importance on my Educate Ebony co-hosting duties – listen here). Aaron just had this tone to his voice that cut raw emotion through to the soul. I got the feelings from Aaron and the aggression from Spencer and they really demonstrated to me how those two worlds could live in harmony.
4. Panic! At The Disco – ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’
I remember hearing P!ATD for the first time on the radio and thinking it was Fall Out Boy, then scouring the internet for hours searching for a FOB song that didn’t even exist. Something in common with all of these bands is a strong visual artistic identity, P!ATD managed to infuse this almost show-time feel into pop punk but then there was all these electronic moments too? It was a real kitchen sink approach and they weren’t afraid to be really different. Ultimately that attitude carved their own place in the music industry and even though each album since has been very different, Brendon Urie has done a stellar job keeping that part of the bands spirit alive.
3. Thirty Seconds To Mars – ‘From Yesterday’
Remember when Thirty Seconds To Mars was an actual band? I will never forget the impact this era of the group had on me. The level these guys took their videos to was just insane. Every single one was a tiny movie and it really opened my eyes to how far you can push an artistic concept. To this day I cannot hear this band without picturing Jared’s piercing blue eyes framed in immaculately applied eyeliner…
2. Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’
One of the most important bands of all time I don’t care how many times you slice it. Born out of the 90’s grunge movement yet so much more progressive than people realised. Listen to ‘Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness’ from start to finish and just count the genres, I dare you. They are included on this list as their combination of grunge, goth and heavy metal leading into the 2000’s had an undeniable impact on the next decade both in genre bending and artistic direction. Pull up and two pictures of Billy Corgan and Gerard Way and tell me they don’t look like distant, goth cousins!
1. My Chemical Romance – ‘Helena’
If The Cure are the grandfathers and Smashing Pumpkins are dads then MCR without a doubt are the sons of emo. With influences from punk, goth and electronic the band has pushed their sound forward with every passing album. They had an almost David Bowie approach, presenting a new image and concept each time. They brought the emotion, the aggression and have maintained the most intense live energy. The only band (ever) to have really created a world around their releases, nothing is an after thought with these guys. They are the antithesis of a band that was labelled emo but was so much more. I will both praise and defend them until the day I die.
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Sttream new album White Palace here
Voice Among The Many – White Palace tracklisting
3. Disclosure Of The Inner Mind
5. Same Boy
6. Universe For Two
7. Everyone Is You
8. Where We Belong
9. White Palace
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