In middle school, I was a bit emotional. But what teenage girl wasn't?
On top of my hormones, I was dealing with the grief of losing my grandma as well as an obsessive crush on an emo guy in my science class who didn't know that I existed.
I created this playlist on my little pink mp3/radio player that will show you just how emo I was.
1. "Perfect" by Simple Plan
"Hey dad / look at me / think back and talk to me / did I grow up according to plan?"
This song was perfect for a teenage girl who didn't grow up with a dad and didn't exactly fit her single mother's expectations of what a perfect daughter should look like. Yes, I made excellent grades that made her proud. But try telling 13-year-old me that my emotions were perfectly acceptable when I was just randomly sad.
2. "Hold On" by Good Charlotte
"But we all bleed the same way that you do / And we all have the same things to go through."
I didn't know that my problem had a name until I watched this music video. I included this song on my playlist because it gave me hope in the midst of my depression.
3. "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" by My Chemical Romance
"Remember when you broke your foot / from jumping out the second floor...?"
Give me any guy with eyeliner and tattoos and I swear, my 13-year-old self would fall in love with them.
4. "This Photograph is Proof (I Know You Know)" by Taking Back Sunday
"Now I'm lying on the table with everything you said / keeping mind the way that it felt / when the most I could do was to just blame myself..."
I first fell in love with this Brooklyn-based band when my emo crush wore their green band T-shirt to science class one day. Once I listened to them, I couldn't stop. I loved their call-and-response punk quality.
5. "Vindicated" by Dashboard Confessional
"Hope dangles on a string / like slow-spinning redemption / winding in and winding out / the shine of it caught my eye."
Is it a coincidence that two songs from my playlist were from the "Spiderman 2" soundtrack? You know, the one where Peter Parker goes emo?
6. "My Happy Ending" by Avril Lavigne
"All the things that you hide from me / all the shit that you do..."
I had such a girl crush on Avril Lavigne back in the day. I aspired to be like her someday, a beautiful female rock star.
7. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day
"My shadow's the only one that walks beside me / my shallow heart's the only thing that's beating."
This was the only song that my mom liked from my playlist. Other than that, according to her, everything else sounded like the singer was whining.
8. "Fall to Pieces" by Velvet Revolver
"I keep a journal of memories / I'm feeling alone, I can't breathe."
For some reason, thirteen-year-old me could identify with issues such as substance abuse, suicide, and depression. Maybe it was because I had to grow up fast, or maybe it was because my own mental illness was an undercurrent in my teenage years.
9. "Broken" by Seether ft. Amy Lee
"The worst is over now / and we can breathe again / I want to hold you high / and steal my pain away."
I didn't include any Evanescence songs (which is a crime, I know) but this song I listened to religiously. Amy Lee was the female rock star that I wanted to be as a 13-year-old girl.
10. "All That I've Got" by The Used
"Eyes closed so hard / I stopped your heart from beating / So deep / that I didn't even scream f*ck me."
As an Alice in Wonderland nerd, I loved the adaptation of this music video. AND it also put the emotion of my sadness/anger into words.
11. "Predictable" by Good Charlotte
"Everywhere I go, everyone I meet / every time I try to fall in love / They all want to know why I'm so broken / Why am I so cold? Why I'm so hard inside? / Why am I scared? What am I afraid of? / I don't even know..."
THAT BRIDGE. It always gave me goosebumps because it summarized why I couldn't find love as an emo teen.
12. "Welcome To My Life" by Simple Plan
"Do you ever feel like breaking down / do you ever feel out of place / like somehow you just don't belong / and no one understands you?"
Simple Plan spoke to the teenage masses all the time. If I could, I would include all their albums from 2000-2009.
13. "Scars" by Papa Roach
"I tear my heart open / I sew myself shut / My weakness is that I care too much / And my scars remind me / that the past is real / I tear my heart open / just to feel..."
For an emo teen girl who didn't know how to express herself, this song did exactly that for me.
14. "I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne
"Isn't anyone trying to find me / won't somebody come take me home?"
I remembered singing this song on the way home from a chorus competition with my best friend at the time and feeling proud that I could capture the melancholy with my voice. I kept it on my playlist for years, even when my voice wasn't trained for singing anymore.
15. "Numb" by Linkin Park
"Can't you see that you're smothering me / holding on too tightly / afraid to lose control?"
In eighth grade, a friend would tell me that my relationship with my mom could best be summarized in this song. I was kinda sad to admit that she was right. More than a decade later, and it's definitely improved.
16. "The Leaving Song, Pt. 2," by AFI
"I took the life / I ate it slow / Now it consumes me."
I was so in love with the lead singer, Davey Havok, that I wrote fanfiction about him.
17. "Down In A Hole (From MTV Unplugged)" by Alice in Chains
"Down in a hole and I don't know if I can be saved / See my heart I decorate it like a grave."
As a '90s baby, I fiercely advocated for listening to grunge. And when people would debate who the best grunge band was (which they would unanimously agree that it was Nirvana), I would say Alice in Chains circa Layne Staley.
18. "Zombie" by The Cranberries
"It's the same old thing / since 1916 / In your head, in your head / They're still fighting..."
Although this song I later learned was written in response to the IRA bombing in Ireland, it deeply moved me as a teen.
19. "Where Did You Sleep Last Night (From MTV Unplugged)" by Nirvana
"My girl, my girl / where will you go / I'm going where the cold wind blows."
Although I will debate who is the best grunge band ever and won't agree that it's Nirvana, I will attest that their strongest album wasn't "Bleach" or "Nevermind" but this live, stripped album.
20. "Disarm" by The Smashing Pumpkins
"The killer in me is the killer in you."
This song is pretty self-explanatory.
21. "Glycerine" by Bush
"Bad moon white again / and she falls around me."
I loved the simplicity of the singer's rough voice, an electric guitar, and violins. That's minimalist goals.
This playlist would go on to last for many years. I still listen to it and add more lesser-known songs to it because sometimes, the songs that are buried from the media are even better. To this day, my emo girl self still lives on - and unlike being ashamed of her like I was as a teen, I am damn proud of her and her journey to live.