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“When I was a young boy,
Took me into the city,
To see a marching band”
If you’re in your early twenties and you don’t immediately recognize those lyrics, you’re a goddamn liar desperately trying to be cynically hip. Any millennial with eardrums and a pulse know that’s from Welcome To The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. The ragtag squad of gothic, whiny musicians who provided a soundtrack to our teenage angst.
Those piercing words shove us into a pop-punk time machine that transports us back to a simpler time. When our only real troubles were a cute girl not responding to an AIM message or getting a hard-on in geometry class. A time when Napoleon Dynamite “Vote For Pedro” t-shirts were everywhere and Chris Brown was still wholesome. The horrifically awkward, downright crappy time that we refer to as… middle school.
Emo rock and pop punk is dead like disco and for good reason. Obviously, it’s cheesier than an ocean of nachos and more cringeworthy than a Cosby Show rerun. But don’t act like you don’t secretly still love it. Don’t pretend that your inner child doesn’t shiver with nostalgic joy when you hear a mid-2000s rock song come on the radio, you dishonest bastards.
Middle school is a terrible time. Your face looks like a rotting pizza from all the disgusting acne and your voice keeps cracking. But for our generation, what kept us going was cheesy emo songs. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dig it. My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, and even some…….. Simple Plan. Gosh, just typing “Simple Plan” makes me wanna slit my wrist with my dad’s razor.
Whenever I hear I Write Sins Not Tragedies or Sugar We’re Goin Down I feel like a billion bucks for whatever reason. Sometimes the most embarrassing pop culture milestones are also the most enjoyable and nostalgic ones. There’s an underappreciated beauty to cheesy pop-punk songs. These songs were magical because they convinced white suburban kids with giant houses and perfect lives that they were depressed. They had loving parents and an allowance that was 500k a week, yet the sad lyrics convinced them to be suicidal. It takes some truly hypnotic art to successfully pull off that mindfuck.
I was recently at a party. Please, hold your applause. I know I’m very social and awesome, but someone started playing some old Fall Out Boy and every single drunk soul there started singing their hearts out to every word. Our embarrassing middle school music brings us together. In a time in our country when we’re more divided than ever, we NEED corny emo music to SAVE AMERICA.
So laugh it up all you want, and roll your eyes at the thought of enjoying a Good Charlotte song. But you know damn well that you miss that melodramatic crap, as do the rest of us. Raise your glass and take a moment to toast to the embarrassing music we used to love..
Image via Youtube