As a tail-end millennial, I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for the music of the aughts (2000s). The early to mid-aughts played a seminal role in the shaping of my music tastes and my personality. Young Kelly would happily jam Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” (2006) at the homecoming dance but, to my core, I was what many of us refer to as a “scene kid” during those formative years.
The thing about being a mid-aughts scene kid is that, based on my own extensive research, about 98% of us still identify with that title today. We’ve grown up (age-wise, at least), we’ve pursued higher education, we’ve started careers and we’ve done our best to deal with society at large. We might look professional(ish) on the outside now, but make no mistake—that snappy-suited professional leaving the downtown high-rise after an exhausting work week is throwing on System of a Down’s Toxicity (2001) and lamenting “the system” the entire way home.
In pre-Covid times, my partner and I were frequent patrons of Jimmy Eat Wednesday, the monthly emo night at Barbarella, a video bar in the Red River district in Austin. On the first Wednesday of every month, former scene kids would swarm this venue to sing emo jams of the era and imbibe furiously. As the nights would go on, the jams would get harder, and by midnight we’d be screaming every word to all the songs we still know by heart, in the arms of complete strangers. Of all the things I miss about the world pre-Covid, Jimmy Eat Wednesday is the thing I miss the most. I loved being one with an entire room full of humans that, despite our differences, only needed one thing to unite us – the scene-kid angst of the aughts.
It’s no secret that this genre is hard on the vocal cords, but in these tumultuous times I think we could all use a good scream. So warm up your vocal cords, because here come 10 killer scene-kid jams to scream right now!!!
“Teenagers” – My Chemical Romance (2006)
When My Chemical Romance’s third studio album Welcome to the Black Parade (2006) was released, we were the exact humans that “Teenagers” was written about. We may have cleaned up our looks since then, but I think our parents are still scared of us – especially now that we’re old enough to vote.
“Pressure” – Paramore (2005)
I think all millennials are feeling the pressure – the pressure to build stable careers, start families, and save for retirement, all while trying to recycle enough beer cans to save an entire planet from climate disaster. It’s a lot of responsibility that we didn’t ask for, but at least we still have Paramore’s Hayley Williams to get us through the dark times.
“The Taste of Ink” – The Used (2002)
This breakout hit by The Used gave us one of the most screamable lyrics of all time within the first 30 seconds. I couldn’t wait to scream the profanities the second my parents left me home alone.
“Cute Without the E” – Taking Back Sunday (2002)
Very few of us were lucky enough to make it through our teen years without being cheated on. Though many of us have since figured out that monogamy is largely optional (kidding, but not really), Taking Back Sunday was there to ease our pain back then. Give this one a jam for the hopeless romantics of yesteryear.
“Miss Murder” – AFI (2006)
This is my personal favorite. AFI has been my favorite band since their #1 album, Decemberunderground, was released in 2006. Even if you actually know the lyrics to the bridge at 2:30, I wouldn’t recommend screaming this part out of respect to your vocal cords. We can’t all be as beautiful and blue-eyeshadowed as Davey Havok.
“Holiday” – Green Day (2004)
I don’t know about you, but I certainly have mid-aughts tunes such as “Holiday” to thank in part for my eventual radicalization. I guess my parents were right to be concerned about my music consumption after all. Regardless, I think we’re all entitled to a 6-month holiday if we survive 2020.
“Ohio is For Lovers” – Hawthorne Heights (2004)
I’ve never been to Ohio, but my heart has been there since 2004. This hit from Hawthorne Heights’s The Silence in Black and White always draws quite the crowd at emo night as we reminisce about a time when we all thought we’d actually wait forever for our middle school sweethearts.
“But It’s Better If You Do” – Panic! At the Disco (2005)
Panic! At The Disco’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005) is the sole reason scene-kid millennials have larger vocabularies than previous generations tend to give us credit for. This particular jam combines Panic!’s lyrical eloquence with the universal feeling of impostor syndrome that plagues many professional millennials today.
“The Kill” – 30 Seconds to Mars (2005)
Prior to becoming the multifaceted and pretentious entertainer he is today, Jared Leto was the emo boy of our teenage dreams as the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars. I can’t help but wonder if this is who he really is inside still. I sure do hope so. Give these lyrics a shout for old times’ sake.
“Thnks fr th Mmrs” – Fall Out Boy (2007)
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank MTV of the mid-aughts for giving me so many angsty memories – and, of course, Fall Out Boy for this classic. I’m of the belief that the world would be a better place if MTV still played music videos.
Though many of us have been working from home for a while, and we’ve lost that perfect traffic-rage commute setting for these tunes, I hope you can carve some time out of your day to scream. Let these scene-kid jams of the aughts take you back to a time prior to 2020 – when angst was fun.