The latest wave of emo music has really changed up the sound of the genre. I for one find it difficult to determine what is and is not "emo" music anymore.
A lot of the bands that are considered poster boys for the current wave of the genre are more like a variation of indie stoner rock. That aside here is my list of "emo" or not "emo" bands that are my favorite excluding any albums released in the 90s or 80s.
1. Best Buds - Mom Jeans
Well, anyone who has met me ever won't be surprised by this one. Yup Best Buds is maybe one of my favourite albums ever so of course it's going to top this list. I love every song on this album from beginning to end. It is a wild ride of twinkling guitar and great track names. The album has a fantastic undertone of sadness throughout presenting the listener with descriptive lyrics about lost love and failed relationships. The album concludes with vape nation, a song about the fear of scaring the people closest to you away. Although for me the highlight of the album is the penultimate track Scott Pilgrim V. My Gpa. Not only is the track name perfect but the song being about coming to terms with being alone and realizing that it's ok to be alone is a good way to round out the album.
2. Sports - Modern Baseball
Another album I listen to constantly. This album probably influenced Best Buds so it would be pretty criminal of me to not put it on this list. It's my favourite Modern Baseball full length. It has some songs that are emo classics like track two Tears Over Beers. As a college student a lot of the vibes the tracks on this album give off are pretty relatable.
A lot of the songs are about being at parties and being socially awkward in general which is not uncommon ground for me. Cooke is a track that stands out I love the light guitar strumming at the beginning of the track the twinkling picking that happens along with it. The albums opener is probably my favourite on the album. Some of the lyrics in this song are fantastic and very quotable like; "no monumental moment every came from saying 'come on dude lets take one more shot'". The track is a memorable start to a great album.
3. Greatest Hits - Remo Drive
I had no idea what to expect when I first stumbled across this album shortly after its release last year. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised to find one of my favorite albums of 2017. The tight drumming and ringing vocals made for a fantastic combination. A combination that is noticeably gone in the bands latest EP which was released after the drummer Sam left.
That being said the album that they made was so enjoyable and easy to listen to. The songs are incredibly catchy and really fun to sing along with. I regularly found myself with tracks like Yer Killin' Me stuck in my head. It's hard for me to single out individual tracks on this album because it's just so bloody consistent. Looking at the track list I could honestly choose any of them and say that it's my favorite track.
4. I Thought You Didn't Even Like Leaving - Prince Daddy & the Hyena
Let me start this off by saying this is my favourite album cover ever I really love it. On first listen I wasn't the biggest fan of this album. However, it has grown on me to the point of being one of my favourite albums ever definitely in the top 25 anyway. The harsh vocal style accompanied by quirky lyrics and heavy guitar sounds makes for a really enjoyable listen. Tracks like Clever Girl and Really? stand out to me when I listen to this album.
Clever Girl has a really awesome guitar solo followed by a fantastic bridge. Where as Really? is just the perfect conclusion to an album called I Thought You Didn't Even Like Leaving. The simple guitar chords at the start of the track played behind the whining vocals complaining about being pinned down by life just seems perfect. I mean the album also reminds me of my favorite Weezer album Pinkerton in the blatant honesty used in the lyrics as well as overall sound.
5. the yunahon mixtape - Oso Oso
Despite being released in January of 2017 I only stumbled across it in December. It made such an impression it was all I listened to for a solid week. It also managed to shoot right to the top of my album of the year list (unfortunately I had already written my album of the year list when I discovered it). But, man this album is easy to listen to. The instrumentation and production are so smooth. I love on tracks like the walk how it starts off with nothing but the heavy drum beat. Such an easy album to bop along to. I couldn't not put this album on this list. Everything about it is smooth and cool, from the stellar vocal performance to the fun guitar licks.
6. Home, Like NoPlace Is There - The Hotelier
This album was so intense. I particularly enjoyed the vocal performances on the album it has some seriously great harmonies as well as catchy hooks you can't help but yell along with. An Introduction To The Album is such an incredibly strong start to the album too. The organ at the beginning of the song followed by "Open the curtains" yelled by the vocalist is simply iconic. So much of this album is memorable and iconic in fact especially some of the sweet guitar lines through the album. Each song is instantly recognizable from the first guitar note.
7. What It Takes To Move Forward - empire! empire! (i was a lonely estate)
The final empire! empire! album and oh boy did they leave a mark. This album is absolutely beautiful. The vocals lyrics and melancholic twinkling guitar riffs make for a real emotional trip. The unique vocal style keeps you fixated on the lyrics while the twinkling guitar plays behind and manages to keep you completely captivated for every second of the 15 track album.
8. Visions - Pet Symmetry
A chop shop band made up of several members of other bands, formed for fun managed to produce one of my favorite albums of 2017. I particularly like the track You Me & Mt Hood which has an incredibly cool bass line and no guitar on the track. The track consists of a bass line played as though it was a lead guitar and a great drum beat. The track is incredibly chill and gives a different vibe to the rest of the album but I'd love to hear more songs like it.
9. Those Days Are Gone - Free Throw
Free Throws first full-length album is my personal favorite the band has produced. I love the raw vocals throughout the album. The themes on some of the tracks like Two Beers In are eerily relatable. The simplistic guitar riff at the beginning of Two Beers In is also great. I also enjoy the guitar on the track Pallet Town the 5th track in the album really keeps you invested and is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
10. Self Title - The Obsessives
I personally feel like this album didn't get the attention it deserved when it came out last year. The songs on this album are incredibly well put together. I really like the track Surfer Rosa particularly the chorus and pre-chorus. The "you can't know" parts that make up the pre-chorus are hard not to sing along with. I like the synth sound that they use throughout the album, you don't often here that sort of sound of an "emo" album. Other tracks on the album like A Shady Place are really chill and easy to listen to.