Top Ten Teen Angst Artists“Teen Angst” is a term used to summarize music whose lyrics and style, often also the artists’ looks, focus on emotional issues such as rejection, heartbreak, isolation, depression, paranoia, place in society, and more. Many of these feelings get most intense in teenage years, hence the origin of the term, but it’s not limited to that time. Depending on song and artist, the music may be told from a first person perspective and are cathartic in nature, or be addressed to a person suffering from said emotions, encouraging them to keep their head up, or both.
Teen Angst music is not bound to a specific genre. While usually associated with certain genres of rock music, it can pretty much occur in any genre. The most common ones are alternative rock, metalcore, grunge, nu-metal, post-hardcore, emocore, post-grunge, industrial, Hamburger Schule, trancecore, pop rock and indie rock, among others. Teen Angst music has been released to heavily differing critical and commercial reactions, but almost always have a very loyal following which often relates to the artist on a very personal level and devotes much of their lives to their fandom. Quite often, such bands are part of a certain subculture, scene or movement, but not always. While many of these started off as statement against the mainstream and a celebration of individuality, it happened more than once that they ended up becoming a widespread trend. Similar phenomenons have always been present in popular music (e.g. Rock’n’Roll in the 1950s), but when talking about Teen Angst music, people usually mean works from the 90s and newer.
Finally, some personal words. I know that I may not seem like the typical target audience, being slightly older, having wider interest and with a more differentiated view on… well, everything, but I really do love Teen Angst music extremely much. It’s mostly a typically American thing, and you can’t imagine how exciting such a wild and impulsive showcase of rough, cathartic and melodramatic feelings sounds to an Austrian, where music like this has barely been noticed. While German music does have a lot of music with a very emotive outfit it feels more planned out and the lyrics are more poetic and essay-like, barely straightforward (in the 90s, there was Hamburger Schule, which had many musical and visual similarities to the later American emo music, but it was more sophisticated and is mostly hailed by critics). I know that many Americans look down on several of these groups, and I guess that’s mostly because they have a very young audience that worships them in a god-like kind of way. But I feel that you should embrace to have such artists that can be a powerful outlet for tormenting feelings everyone has in their life, whether young or old.
The Top Ten
This band is very impressive in that it can be charged with very aggressive teen-angst themes without ever becoming monotonous or annoying like most angst bands become.
Every album they made feels like a journey through a distressed teenager's mind as he goes through the motions of abuse and depression.
The closer to their darkest album (the signature song, "Numb") is literally an allegory for someone's farewell message before they suicide.
Their angst is so much deeper and darker and more colorful than the rest of the bands on the list.
The amount of anger and sadness that they have helped teenagers deal with over the years really does make them the best angst band ever.
I think without the success of Linkin Park, little of the bands that rose to fame after their debut would be where they are now, making this music. I didn't include them on the top because of Bennington's death, they deserve it for their impact, they deserve it because it's the band that grew most attached to me as it is the only one I knew since I was a young teen, and they deserve it because their four rock albums are simply the most intense and tormenting emotional experiences on music. This is pure catharsis, heavy in negative feeling, angsty and angry.
Out of all these bands, this is the group with the most thought out music. Their albums followed overall storylines and concepts, had strong social commentary and most perfectly capture the zeitgeist of their generation. The difference between My Chemical Romance and other stylistically similar bands is the intelect and thought process behind the music. While containing as many dark emotions as other bands on the list, they wrapped it in ambitions as big as 70s concept albums, thus making them very appealing to both teens looking for an outlet for their negative feelings towards the world and so-called serious music lovers.
Often, Jimmy Eat World, next to Sunny Day Real Estate, are seen as the only real emo bands by music elitists, as they make/made the genre emocore, already in the 90s (which I disagree. Definitions change, and emo is not emocore, it's a term for any music typically listened to by the emo subculture). I am not much of a fan of Sunny Day Real Estate, their sound may dwell on emotion, but is also shapeless and too lo-fi and indie for my taste, but Jimmy Eat World arrive with an infectiousness and powerful melodrama that they appear like the blueprint (or rather blackprint) for every My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco or Falling in Reverse to arise after them. Many expanded on their ideas, as heard on My Chemical Romance's thought out concept albums, PATD's mix with pop and FIR's heaviness, but truth is that Jimmy Eat World may be the quintessential emo band of music history. And wow, is "Pain" an astounding mix of torment and earworm appeal.
Falling in Reverse is seen and even advertised as a project by Ronnie Radke, and every second of their music is him bleeding out emotions. While definitely not the most likable person on the planet, he went through a lot, including a poor childhood, a stay in prison and having been kicked out of his band for whom he contributed a large part of their debut record. May I say that (next to Chester Benington's) he has my favorite of all teen angst singers. Because you totally buy everything he says in his lyrics. Sometimes he sounds confident, sometimes deeply cynical, then seriously angry, then completely hurt, then almost apathic. And I am not talking about an album here, he can cover al these aspects in a single song.
Falling in Reverse has so far delivered three of my favorite teen angst albums like this... oh, and "Fashionably Late", but at least they realized that this random mix of genres didn't work out.
This band is the closest Germany ever got to American teen angst bands. When you compare them to German artists that copied them, and then to American alt rock bandds, they surprisingly resemble the latter. At least on their pre-hiatus albums. While their German language debut (neither written by them nor performed well due to Bill's vocals before puberty voice change), their image was kind of ruined in Germany, but everything 2007 and newer still stands as completely unique in German music. The imagery of their lyrics had that melodrama and coolness, and their music felt more easy flowing and relaxed. After their hiatus their sound changed towards dreamy electronica that they got to know in the US and German critics were much more welcoming than before. But lyric-wise, I bet a lot of teens still can relate. Just not emo kids, but hipster kids.
Black Veil Brides easily have my favorite lyrics of all teen angst bands. While not as thought out as My Chemical Romance's concepts, they have the sympathy it takes to perfectly execute music that offers something to hold onto for people who feel rejected and lost. They rely more on metaphors and beautiful sounding wordings, and they understand how to write both anthemic and uplifting music. Yes, I said uplifting. While expressing a love for the dark and sinister, they ultimately stand for strength, not giving up and standing together as s community. Their message is basically: "they say you are a freak? Well, we are too. And many others are too. But that's just what makes us who we are and is our biggest strength."
And this is something that needs to be said, and BVB do that the most authentic. And if you have watched interviews or fan videos with Andy Biersack, he seems to really be like this. It's not a gimmick.
Another teen angst band that managed to have a very good standing in the world, also in "serious" music lover circles. Simply put: they have a much more professional and advanced musicianship and lyricism, and there overall sound is more mature, even though their traits will appeal to every teen who feels lost. Much like My Chemical Romance and LP, Evanescence are probably aiming for completely different and more adult audiences, but more than the other bands, they embrace each of their fans and are happy to have all of them no matter for what reasons.
In the mid-2000s, both Fall Out Boy and PATD had a few hits in Germany, but nobody ever associated them with emo. For that, their visual style was simply not emo enough. We had Tokio Hotel and Cinema Bizarre, and even rappers with more gimmicky looks, so we expected huge anime-like wigs from emo. Back then, we simply called these groups punk.
I don't know if they are any famous in the US, but I just recently discovered them and found them extremely appealing to me. They are not simply angstly, it feels like a raging, hateful outburst of all the tons of negative energy that has been building up for years and now consumes everything like a raging fire.
How can you bot vote to Nirvana! Grunge is typically about teenage angst!
What the great Falling in Reverse heavily failed at with "Fashionably Late", I See Stars perfectly deliver in all of their works. They throw metalcore, indie rock, dubstep and techno into a blender and it always perfectly merges into each other. One song alone can take you from the 90s skater scene to 2000s emo to a 2010s European techno club to an easy going forest trip with an indie loving hipster. The thing that the band manages is to connect all these different sounds and groups, so that it feels like "we are one". It's like all off-beat groups got together to peacefully celebrate their individuality. Also, "The End of the World Party" is one hell of an album. They just kind of managed to sum up 3 centuries in less than 40 minutes.
This Hamburger Schule band already had the American emo haircuts in the 90s, and their covers looked very hipster-ish, plus they wrote lyrics about teenage life, being different and emotional outlet. Funny thing: to this day, critics and sophisticated serious music lovers totally love this group to death. Like, in lists about the greatest German albums compiled by music journalists you have about five of their records somewhere in top positions. If you want to be seen as intellectual in music circles, just say you listen to them. But actually, they never had that much of a commercial success and the wide public doesn't really know them. That feels... kind of like a reversed stereotype for this kind if music.
Being not unlikely the most successful and popular alternative rock band in Germany (they are Finnish, but lead singer Samu Haber spent probably more time in German T.V. shows than touring in Finland), this group is NEVER seen as a teen angst band. They are just universally liked by everyone and don't really have an image or target group. But they would totally fall into the emo-ish alternative rock scene if they were famous in the US. Their songs are about being betrayed, heartbreak, pain, and similar, and their sound is a more indie based version of 2000s alt rock popular in the US.