The definition of "emo" will always be contended. In 2006, the term was effectively synonymous with Myspace, a claim that will pop up again and again in the entries below. It was also interchangeable with eyeliner and long bangs and black clothes, which was really not all that correct in the long run. In the 1990s, it meant something completely different. And contrary to a lot of pop culture, emo could be really fun! Sometimes.
I liked emo in '06, though not all of it. But I listened to a lot of it because it was everything that made sense to me -- very sincere lyrics shouted over heavy guitars and/or soft, lilting acoustic strums...and sometimes both on the same song. 2006 was very likely when emo both reached its 21st century peak, then changed forever.
Here are all the emo albums that came out that year that you definitely owned. Because Myspace. (Note: You definitely won't think all these albums are emo. I know that.)
Say Anything: ...Is A Real Boy
When It Came Out Feb. 28, 2006 (reissue)
Why You Definitely Owned It: Say Anything's breakthrough album was actually released in 2004, then reissued two years later after the band has gained a sizable following. This one has literally all the classics, from "Alive With The Glory Of Love" to "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" to "Admit It!!!," which means it has everything you need to make your crush the ballerist mixtape you possibly could've at the time.
Hawthorne Heights: If Only You Were Lonely
When It Came Out: Feb. 28, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: We had to have the CD in order to play along to two particular tracks in my friend's basement: "Saying Sorry" and "Where Can I Stab Myself In The Ears." While no song on this album will ever be HH's best-known song because "Ohio Is For Lovers" isn't on it, you probably bought this one specifically because you liked "Ohio" first. And still do.
From First To Last: Heroine
When It Came Out: Mar. 21, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: OK, maybe you bought this one in retrospect when you found out Sonny More -- aka Skrillex -- was the lead singer of this band at the time. This was his last album with the group, by the way, before venturing out into the more notable terrain of drum-heavy EDM and collaborating with Justin Bieber.
Rookie Of The Year: The Goodnight Moon
When It Came Out: Apr. 11, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Because it had everything that was called "emo" in 2006 -- strummy acoustic guitars, golden vocal layers, songs about breaking up -- that could add the right heartbreak vibe to your Myspace page through its lyrical content or through the songs themselves embedded right under your profile pic.
Taking Back Sunday: Louder Now
When It Came Out: Apr. 25, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Because your AIM profile read "I just wanna break you down so badly!" from the very first moment "MakeDamnSure" popped up on the radio. Even if Louder Now played more like TBS' alternative statement, you keep it close to your heart since it was Fred Mascherino's last go-round as lead guitarist.
When It Came Out: Jun. 6, 2006 (aka 06/06/06)
Why You Definitely Owned It: You got a bass and had to learn how to play something really quickly if you wanted to impress your friends, so you learned the intro riff to "Miss Murder." And later, you lied on your floor for hours replaying "Love Like Winter" and wondering when it would come to warm your frozen heart.
Mayday Parade: Tales Told By Dead Friends
When It Came Out: Jun. 13, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Because their debut album didn't come out until 2007, so to have owned this EP was to be able to say "I've liked 'When I Get Home, You're So Dead' since last year" and mean it.
Underoath: Define The Great Line
When It Came Out: Jun. 20, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Literally everyone who went to high school between 2004 and 2008 had an Underoath song as their Myspace song at least once, even if you weren't really keen on the band (I wasn't). But even I put up "In Regards To Myself" one time, for a week or so, just to see what it felt like. It was exhilarating. Also, did you know Underoath was a Christian band this whole time?
Cute Is What We Aim For: The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch
When It Came Out: Jun. 20, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: "The Curse Of Curves" was enough to get you to shill $13 at Best Buy for the full album, even though you could've just listened to the best songs on Myspace anyway. If you're wondering, the answer is no, I will not stop referencing Myspace in this post. 2006 was Myspace, OK? Everyone knows it.
Dashboard Confessional: Dusk And Summer
When It Came Out: Jun. 27, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Ah, Dusk And Summer -- the album where Chris Carrabba grew up. "Don't Wait" was good, but "Stolen" was 100 times better, and the fact that it played during one of the most pivotal scenes on "Scrubs" gives it more emotional weight than any other DC song in my life. And that's saying a lot.
The Early November: The Mother, The Mechanic, And The Path
When It Came Out: Jul. 11, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Because I made the lyrics to "Sunday Drive" my away message too many times, so I felt like I needed to support the band when their next full-length album came out. That was this one, a f--king triple album, that featured a decidedly non-emo first single called "Hair" with a prominent trombone solo.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus: Don't You Fake It
When It Came Out: Jul. 18, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: If you didn't sing aloud loudly to "Face Down" while inside a Zumiez, I'm not convinced you actually ever existed at all in 2006.
hellogoodbye: Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
When It Came Out: Aug. 8, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Remember seeing hellogoodbye get "discovered" on "The Real World: Austin" in 2005? Yeah you do. And remember when their debut LP finally dropped the next year and featured "Here In Your Arms" and "Oh, It Is Love"? And remember when you wrote a love letter to your crush using its lyrics? Oh wait, not that last one. But yes to all the others.
When It Came Out: Aug. 22, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: "This Could Be Anywhere In The World" soundtracked a lot of late-night drives and convos I had with my suburban pals in the winter of '06, with us turning the volume down slightly in order to be able to hear each other over the screaming. Speaking of, why don't more bands today utilize the one-singing/one-screaming vocal approach so prevalent in the age of Myspace emo?
Plain White T's: Every Second Counts
When It Came Out: Sep. 12, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: When you bought first guitar, you definitely learned how to play "Hey There Delilah" before even learning what a pentatonic scale was. As a result, you felt compelled to buy this band's next album, too, even though "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)" made you feel sad because it very well could've been written about the same person who inspired "Hey There Delilah," and that was frankly too much for your 2006 heart to handle.
When It Came Out: Sep. 26, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: This album dropped in late '06, which means singles "Voices" and "You're Not Alone" remained personal inspirational anthems for you well into 2007. And the reason you picked it up in the first place? I mean, do I even have to say it at this point? Myspace, dude.
Escape The Fate: Dying Is Your Latest Fashion
When It Came Out: Oct. 3, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: This one was definitely closer to metalcore than what was considered truly "emo" at the time, but that didn't stop you from blasting "There's No Sympathy For The Dead" on repeat, potentially shortly after you passed your road test and could finally cruise around (and headbang) with your friends.
Cobra Starship: While The City Sleeps, We Rule The Streets
When It Came Out: Oct. 10, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Cobra Starship wrote the theme song to "Snakes On A Plane," which was also called "Snakes On A Plane," which was featured on this album, which also included Travie McCoy, The Sounds' Maja Ivarsson and William Beckett, the singer from The Academy Is..., which basically makes it the "We Are The World" of mid-2000s emo collabs.
Senses Fail: Still Searching
When It Came Out: Oct. 10, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: To be fair, I personally bought this album because one of the songs was named after a "Lost" episode I really liked. And then I learned how to play "Can't Be Saved" on my guitar -- the acoustic version, of course. I was pretty into concept albums at the time, so Senses Fail's story of a dude who breaks down and eventually gives into darkness appealed to my 16-year-old sensibilities.
My Chemical Romance: The Black Parade
When It Came Out: Oct. 23, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: My Chemical Romance were inarguably one of the biggest players in the mid-2000s emo game, so the anticipation for their album was pretty high. And band leader Gerard Way's grand aspirations showed themselves here on "Welcome To The Black Parade" and "Famous Last Words," with "Teenagers" pointing the way toward the music Way would later make via a cool, glammy solo career.
Brand New: The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me
When It Came Out: Nov. 20, 2006
Why You Definitely Owned It: Because out of everything else on this list, The Devil And God is one of the only ones still talked about in a big way. You knew it then. You knew it was bigger than almost anything else -- just look at the title! "Jesus" and "Sowing Season" and religious guilt? Yes please. Sign me up. Again.