Late '90s & early '00s pop-punk/emo bands, ranked

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Blink-182, in simpler times MCA Records

Earlier this week, we took a harrowing glance at Billboard's current "Hot Rock Songs" chart. It's a disconcerting place, one filled with names like Twenty One Pilots, Imagine Dragons, and Rag’n’Bone Man.

In the interest of teleporting you back to an era that made sense and/or capitalizing on nostalgia, we now present this legally binding ranking of pop-punk/emo bands from the late '90s and early '00s.

Will the listicle alleviate the existential ache and paranoia of these Trumpian times via palm mutes, fretboard slides, nasally verses, and pogoing choruses? Yes. Yes it will. Will there be several dubious inclusions and glaring omissions? You better believe it. Will it prompt you to exclaim, "Oh man, I totally forgot about [insert band]!" Here's hoping! 

But first, let's talk methodology.

Please note the defined era restrictions, plus the semi-specific cultural niche. The Descendents, for example, debuted in 1982, that's why they're not here. Same goes for Screeching Weasel (1987), Groovie Ghoulies (1989), Jawbreaker (1990), etc. As far as emo is concerned, the Bright Eyes, American Footballs, and Sunny Day Real Estates of the world don't really fit.  

Without further ado, here's middle school: 

47. Plain White T's

Turns out 96 million YouTube plays can be wrong.

46. American Hi-Fi

Is "Flavor of the Week" empowering or problematic? Let's not explore it. 

45. Something Corporate

Truth in advertising.

44. Relient K

Churchy AF.

43. Quietdrive

We promise some Minnesota bands chart higher than this. 

42. SR-71

No fewer than three bands on this list appeared on the soundtrack to Loser, the 2000 Jason Biggs vehicle, including SR-71.

41. Simple Plan

Singer Pierre Bouvier could challenge Tom DeLonge for the nasal gymnastics crown.

40. The Academy Is ...

Dunno about that ellipsis or ... those haircuts.

39. Bowling for Soup

"1985" is basically a proto-listicle. 

38. The Starting Line

They had the look, the hook

37. All-American Rejects

The cheekbones of fronthunk Tyson Ritter finally arrived to Top 40 radio.

36. Home Grown

You remember the album cover.

35. Unwritten Law

Easy to forget what a big hit "Seein' Red" was. 

34. Yellowcard

In Yellowcard's estimation, the one thing pop-punk was missing was violin. Commercially, they nailed it. 

33. The Used

Lead guy Bert McCracken dated Kelly Osbourne on The Osbournes, much to "her mother's dismay and disapproval," Wikipedia tell us.

32. Wheatus 

They were just teenage dirtbags, baby. 

31. Good Charlotte

Aesthetically, what was their deal? Feel like we just sorta accepted it without question.

30. The Ataris 

Scored fame for an emo reading of "The Boys of Summer." 

29. Lit

Probably Guy Fieri's favorite pop-punk band.

28. Dashboard Confessional

Remember when the audience held hands, shouted along, and cried during Chris Carrabba's MTV Unplugged? Hey, beats feeling nothing. 

27. AFI

Decades after the Misfits, Davey Havok & Co. taught us pop-punk can have spooky aesthetics.

26. Avril Lavigne

No haters here. Check out City Pages' acclaimed thinkpiece "Is Drake Avril's one true love, her fabled 'Sk8er Boi'?"

25. Panic! at the Disco

Did the genre need overblown theatricality? Impossible to say, but the nation breathed sighs of relief when the "!" was restored.

24. Fenix TX

Former Blink-182 proteges only lasted two albums; single "All My Fault," as featured on MTV's made-for-TV movie Jailbait, still brings it. 

23. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Smirking pop-punk covers supergroup featuring members from bands too old to appear on this list (Lagwagon, NOFX, No Use for a Name).

22. The Movielife

Apparently included in BuzzFeed's "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F-ing Die."

21. Less Than Jake

For all the up-strokes and toots, LTJ is pop-punk to the bones. 

20. MxPx

The former Christian pop-punks eventually lost their God, but never their knack for sticky hooks. 

19. Reggie & the Full Effect

When the Get Up Kids' keyboardist became the court jester of emo.

18. Thrice 

Poor man's Thursday. 

17. Midtown

From the New Brunswick area of New Jersey -- the birthplace of every emo band. Imploded after going major in 2004.

16. The Soviettes

From Minneapolis to Fat Wreck Chords.

15. My Chemical Romance

Remember how crazy big this band got? Thursday's Geoff Rickley helped launch 'em.

14. Fall Out Boy 

Their current world-conquering hits can't erase the simple pleasures of "Sugar, We're Going Down." 

13. Sum 41

Metal inclinations bubble up on the back half of the discography, but the early singles hold up.

12. Taking Back Sunday

Started out with pop-punk ragers about wishing death upon former lovers, then morphed into generic alt-rock. 

11. Brand New

Started out with pop-punk ragers about wishing death upon former lovers, then graduated into a more sophisticated, genre-blending outfit. 

10. New Found Glory 

With regard to forging the second-wave pop-punk template, they're right up there with Blink-182 and Green Day.

9. Jimmy Eat World 

Some folk'll tell ya Clarity is a classic. 

8. Motion City Soundtrack 

Read our exit interview with the recently split hometown champs who introduced a generation to Moog synths. 

7. Say Anything

Angrier, sneering spiritual successors to Saves the Day.

6. The Get Up Kids 

Helped pioneer the mall-emo boom, but weren't born from it. 

5. Saves the Day 

Songcraft! Through Being Cool is the emo Born in the U.S.A. 

4. Alkaline Trio

Before they became a parody of attempting to be goth. Matt Skiba now plays guitar for the No. 1 band on this list, fulfilling at least some doodled supergroup fantasies of yore. 

3. Thursday

Surprisingly arty following their scream-marathon breakout LP. 

2. Green Day

OK, so we're breaking the date parameters. In terms of influence and cultural impact, though, they need to be included. Check out this recent reveal about American Idiot.

1. Blink-182

This very publication offered 18.2 reasons they're the best band of all time


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