The list author says: "These are my picks for the fifty best Melodic/Post-Hardcore/Alternative (aka "emo"/pop-punk) albums of all time. Please note that I have not included any albums from this year, since those are too recent and I have not developed my full opinion yet. This list contains albums 1-40."
"The best album of all time...hands down. TBS' debut on Victory Records, and the only one featuring John Nolan and Adam Lazzara. Great dual vocals, great lyrics, and catchyness combined like none other. Best song: "Cute Without the E""
"Saves the Day's second album, released in 1999 on Equal Vision. Borderline creepy lyrics at times, but overall genius, especially considering Chris Conley was 19 when this was recorded. Conley's voice takes some getting used to, but after that, this is a great album that combines hardcore energy with pop sensibilities. Best song: "You Vandal""
"Hailing from New Jersey, Thursday's second full-length is a post-hardcore blitzkrieg. Beautiful guitar work, poetic and meaningful lyrics, and unabashedly high-tension emotional vocals provided by Geoff Rickly. Released in 2001 on Victory; imitated many times since but never surpassed. Best song: "Understanding in a Car Crash""
"Released in July of 2006, this is Rise Against's best album by far. No other album combines punk energy, meaningful lyrics, and overall great musicanship like this one does. The band also has an incredible knack for tempo changes rarely seen elsewhere. Best song: "Injection""
"Brand New’s sophomore effort, this album represented a hard left turn in comparison with their debut. Released in 2003, it combines folky acoustic-driven heart-on-sleeve ballads with full-on punk rock drive. Certainly an album of yings and yangs, this is often pointed to as the best of the genre. Best song: “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot”"
"This is Senses Fail’s debut full-length, released in 2004 on Vagrant. Although Senses Fail is often bashed as an overnight success story with no real talent, this is a truly great album. Senses Fail’s sound is driven by Buddy Nielsen’s piercing voice and the grinding, raging combination of metalcore-esque guitar and drums. Best song: “Angela Baker and My Obsession with Fire”"
"Released in 2001, this is the Chicago punk trio’s third full-length. The band has admitted that they really tightened their sound up on this album, and it certainly shows. Matt Skiba is second-to-none when it comes to dark, anxious songwriting. Best song: “Mr. Chainsaw”"
"Released in 1998 and widely regarded as one of (if not the) most influential “emo” albums of all time, Jimmy Eat World’s third full-length album is a 64-minute classic. Beautiful, moving and original, this album is a must-have for all fans of the genre. Best song: “For Me This Is Heaven”"
"A staple of every teen-punk skater kid’s music collection, this is the album that skyrocketed blink into the big time. Complete with jibes aimed at “your mom,” this is the quintessential commercial pop-punk album. Featuring Travis Barker’s one-of-a-kind drumming, this album never slows down for 12 tracks. Best song: “Going Away to College”"
"Produced by Mark Hoppus of the aforementioned blink-182, this album combines Motion City Soundtrack’s catchiness with lyricist Justin Pierre’s brooding contemplation about the world in general. The band also heavily features Moog synthesizer which helps give them a unique sound. Best song: “Attractive Today”"
"The album that started the craze. Exponentially better than its two more mainstream successors, Bullets is a fast-paced kill-‘em-all romp that attracted some serious attention in the scene. Led by brothers Gerard and Mikey Way, this album shows us MCR well before they were a household name. Best song: “Honey This Mirror Just Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us”"
"There is a reason why this album was phenomenally successful. It’s really, really good. Released in 2004, this immensely popular album shot Green Day back into the limelight in a way that they hadn’t been since 1994’s Dookie (an entirely overrated album). A three-chord punk rock opera, Idiot promises to remain relevant for decades. Best song: “Jesus of Suburbia”"
"The ‘59 Sound is a phenomenal sophomore effort by this New Jersey quartet; Brian Fallon shows a knack for working-class storytelling not seen since Bruce Springsteen, a fellow Jerseyite who Fallon taps heavily for inspiration and even quotes occasionally in his songs. Best song: “The Patient Ferris Wheel”"
"Anyone who likes modern punk and has not heard Lifetime is doing themselves a great disservice. This New Jersey mid-90s hardcore quintet has been a tremendous influence upon bands such as Saves the Day, Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. This album, released in 1997, is their third full-length and their last before taking an almost ten-year hiatus. Best song: “Turnpike Gates”"
"Released in 2001 on Vagrant, Saves the Day’s third full-length shows the band taking a further step away from their hardcore. However, Conley’s tortured and pseudo-violent songwriting remains intact despite a greater emphasis on the poppier aspects of the band. Best song: “Firefly”"
"Weezer’s second album, which the band produced themselves, was a commercial flop. Released in 1996, Pinkerton demonstrates Rivers Cuomo writing songs that have more angst than surfing references. Furthermore, the album has a garage rock feel with an organic drum sound and fuzzy over-distorted guitars. Best song: “Falling for You”"
"TBS’s second album and first with Fred Mascherino as lead guitarist and second vocalist, Where You Want to Be sounds similar to Tell All Your Friends in all aspects besides production. The spitfire back-and-forth raging vocals are still there, as are Lazzara’s sometimes cryptic lyrics. Best song: “Set Phasers to Stun”"
"On Brand New’s first album, the band’s sound was very similar to that of TBS, which makes sense considering the fact that Jesse Lacey, Brand New’s singer and songwriter was originally in TBS. Pop-punk in style, Your Favorite Weapon is a good album but doesn’t stand out from the crowd in the way that their latter albums do. Best song: “Seventy Times 7”"
"Alkaline Trio’s fourth album saw them continuing the trend begun with From Here to Infirmary of refining their sound. This is their last album, however which maintains their old punk sound. It also is the Alkaline Trio album that most evenly divides the songwriting between Matt Skiba and Daniel Andriano. Best song: “Fatally Yours”"
"Released in 2003, Take This to Your Grave is Fall Out Boy’s second album, but the first on Fueled by Ramen and the first to feature bassist Pete Wentz as primary lyricist. Long before Patrick Stump’s forays into soul and R&B singing, this album shows FOB as a simple, fast pop-punk band from Chicago. Best song: “Tell That Mick...”"
"Jimmy Eat World’s second album, and their first on a major label. This shows JEW before they refined and softened their sound on Clarity. All the usual signs of early “emo” are here: occasional full-on tortured screaming, generally hard-to-hear lyrics and loud-soft loud-soft dynamics. Best song: “Thinking, That’s All”"
"Say Anything’s third full-length is a double-album of epic proportions. It features many prominent guest vocalists of the “Genre,” including Adam Lazzara, Matt Skiba, Gerard Way and Chris Conley. Lead singer Max Bemis shows a knack for writing tortured, sometimes angular lyrics similar to Conley or Rivers Cuomo in the Pinkerton era. Best song: “Skinny, Mean Man”"
"One of only two EPs to make this list, Put Up or Shut Up’s seven songs are better than either of All Time Low full-length efforts. A pop-punk band from Maryland in the same ilk as blink-182 or Fall Out Boy, All Time Low is one of the best newer bands in the scene currently. Best song: “Coffee Shop Soundtrack”"
"Bayside’s fourth full-length shows Anthony Raneri finally perfecting his distinctively morose songwriting style. Although the album contains numerous poppy riffs and catchy choruses, Raneri’s tortured self-examining narratives are still on center-stage. Best song: “The Ghost of St. Valentine”"
"On their third full-length, Rise Against still maintained more of a hardcore sound than on later albums. The album is still more refined and focused than its predecessors, however. Also Tim McIlrath’s lyrics are at an all time high on this album. Best song: “Anywhere But Here”"
"Blink’s last album before an indefinite hiatus that began in 2005 and lasted until earlier this year. This is the album that blink-182 supposedly “grew up” on. You could classify it as “experimental pop-punk,” it retains blink’s inherent catchiness and pop sensibilities while also expanding, occasionally adding electronic rhythms and ambient noise. Best song: “Feeling This”"
"Alkaline Trio’s debut shows the band as the fledgling punk outfit that it was. Released in 1998, Goddamnit has had an immense influence upon all recent artist of the scene. Although Matt Skiba has not yet reached his full songwriting potential at this point, his dark poetic lyrics are beginning to develop. Best song: “As You Were”"
"Death Cab for Cutie’s first flirt with the mainstream. On Plans, DCFC refined their sound enough to earn a major-label deal while still retaining their indie rock roots. Ben Gibbard’s melancholy yet beautiful lyrics and vocals are at their best on this album. Best song: “I Will Follow You into the Dark”"
"Senses Fail’s second full-length and their first with lead guitarist Heath Saraceno, formerly of Midtown fame. Nielsen’s vocals—his screaming especially—has become more refined by this point. Also, his lyrical content has shifted; favoring self-examining confessionals instead of pseudo-violent exposés. Best song: “Still Searching”"
"On Saves the Day’s first album, they are still essentially a hardcore punk band. Recorded during winter break of Conley’s senior year of high school, his lyrics on this album are a narrative of youth, and don’t yet contain the tortured elements of his latter work. Best song: “Blindfolded”"
"The Get Up Kids’ second full-length, released in 1999, has been hugely influential in the same way that Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity has been. Pop-punk in style, Something to Write Home About is widely regarded as a defining moment in the history of the scene, one that neither The Get Up Kids nor any other band has managed to recreate since. Best Song: “Holiday”"
"Thursday’s third full-length and first on a major label, Island. This album shows Thursday continuing the trend of really good post-hardcore music in the ilk of Glassjaw or At the Drive-In that the band began with Full Collpase. The guitar work is less melodic than on Full Collapse, however. Best song; “War All the Time”"
"Released in 2005 on Equal Vision, this Michigan sextet’s debut full-length was a breath of fresh air into a post-hardcore scene filled with carbon copies and recreations. A unique feature of the band is that they prominently feature a pianist in their music. This album has excellent guitar work, astounding drumming, and Craig Owens superb vocals. Best song: “No Hardcore Dancing in the Living Room”"
"MCR’s second album, released in 2004 on Reprise, saw the beginning of their mainstream success. However, at this point the band was still doing what they did best: fast punk songs featuring Gerard Way’s distressed lyrics and vocals. Best song: “Give ‘Em Hell Kid”"
"Jimmy Eat World’s fourth album saw them take a further step away from the “emo” genre they had helped found and towards pop-punk. Featuring a smash hit single—“The Middle”—Bleed American shows JEW refining their sound even further. Best song: “Bleed American”"
"Weezer’s self-titled first album, alternately known as the Blue Album, is considered to be a work of pure pop genius. Harking back to surf, punk and pop alike of the late 60s and 70s, the Blue Album contains ten very well-written pop songs that aren’t afraid to bite a little at times. Best song: “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here”"
"The second EP to be featured in this list, I’m Sorry I’m Leaving is an all-acoustic showcase of four of the best songs Chris Conley has ever written, as well as one cover. Released between Can’t Slow Down and Through Being Cool, this is still the “teen angst” version of Conley’s songwriting. Best song: “Hold”"
"Thrice’s third full-length shows them smoothly blended their metalcore influences into really good mainstream rock songs in a way that no other band has managed to. Equal parts pop sensibilities and hardcore metal thrashing, The Artist in the Ambulance is a great post-hardcore record. Best song: “The Artist in the Ambulance”"
"Saves the Day’s sixth full-length studio effort and most recent album—released in 2007—is different from the rest of their catalogue; however any true STD fan knows that no two STD albums sound exactly alike. This is due in part to their revolving door of band members and also in part to Conley’s ever-changing songwriting style. Best song: “Stay”"
"Brand New’s third album, like their second, represents a hard left turn for the band. Stepping away from the sound they garnered with Deja Entendu, this album, released in 2006, is another study in yings and yangs. Alternating between soft acoustic melodies and loud grunge-ish screaming, this album also demonstrates a darker side to Lacey’s songwriting. Best song: “Sowing Season”"