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Ashton Karademas Jul 17, 2023

Looking for a playlist to help cope with your midwest-emo heartache? Look no further, we've got you covered. Stream 'Songs For When Modern Baseball Haven't Written About Your Pain' on Spotify here.

I Hope You're Miserable - Moose Blood

"I Hope You're Miserable" starts with a flowy guitar riff before the rest of the band enters, while a second guitar harmonizes with the original rhythm guitar. The instrumentals mellow out for the verse where we get a glimpse into the feelings of the songwriter. He's talking about a past relationship, how he's still in a dark place because of it, and how his partner left him for someone else. The first line in the song mentions wanting summer to end, which has almost become a cliche in all midwest-emo songs. The chorus plays into the trope of a whiny guy screaming out the lyrics which works really well for the whole 'heartache' vibe. During the second verse we lose the guitar but we gain background vocals of someone screaming the lyrics in unison with the main vocals. The guitar then comes back for the second chorus, which has different lyrics and is extended. It works well with the rest of the song and it results in a beautiful transition into the instrumental bridge. Overall, this song is a great one to listen to when dealing with heartbreak or if you're just having a hard time in general.

Stream Moose Blood on Spotify here.

c u in da ballpit - Camping in Alaska

"c u in da ballpit" is yet another song that starts with a twinkly guitar riff (as the midwest-emo reddit would say). The opening lyrics are a perfect example of when you're into someone but they're not into you. “Hey I, been starin’ at you, and I thought you were starin’ at me too. I thought I caught you, but I know it’s too good to be true.” Those two lines perfectly encapsulate the feeling of 'I'm in love with you but there is no way that you will ever love me back.' Another prime example of being hopelessly in love is the line “your face is burned in the back of my fucking eyelids,” where the singer wants the girl but knows that he cant get her. Throughout the entire song, the instrumentals work to highlight the feelings behind the lyrics – they work perfectly with the screamy vocals, which are classic within the midwest-emo genre. The song ends with a whole minute of guitar riffs, another classic move resulting in a perfect ending to the 5 minute song.

Stream Camping In Alaska on Spotify here.

still bummed - Nouns

"still bummed" starts off with just drums before they cut out and guitars burst in with a bouncy lick that's panned to jump back-and-forth between your ears. "still bummed" is a very relatable song, especially because it starts with “I’m still sad,” – a simple lyric that many can probably relate to following a breakup. The song is only 1 minute and 36 seconds long so it's definitely short and sweet, but overall it encapsulates midwest-emo with the layered guitar riffs accompanied by layered screams that leaves you thinking, 'woah I can feel this guys pain.'

Stream Nouns on Spotify here.

Anthrax Shirt - Adult School

"Anthrax shirt" starts off with classic palm-muted strumming before going into a sweet guitar riff, which then leads into more palm-muted guitar in the verse. You can really hear the emotion in the singers voice when he talks about feeling ignored and how the girl he wants to be with married the wrong man. The singer is a hopeless romantic who just wants to be with his dream girl but knows that he can’t, and just stares at her over a drink instead. The lead singer has an acoustic version of "Anthrax Shirt" under his alias Just Nick on Spotify, which you can listen to here.

Stream Adult School on Spotify here.

I Saw Water - Tigers Jaw

"I Saw Water" is a classic song about being rejected by the one person you really, really like. One of the main lyrics in the song is “But me, well of course I liked you.” When I first read that line it hit me like a truck – I'm definitely not the only one who's had the experience of falling for someone that's just so cool you can't help but catch feelings, even if you know they'll never like you back. In the song, the singer is trying to impress the girl by drowning metaphorically. Overall it's about going to great lengths just to impress a girl, and then ultimately realizing she's not worth it. Throughout the whole song the bass is quite prominent, which is best heard in the verses. The singer appears to be using the classic vocal technique of belting but adding a lot of angst and emotion to the tone of voice. This brings the song to a whole new level, which is exactly what songs like this need to help give a 'whiny, heartbroken-boy' effect. "I Saw Water" is a prime example of the feelings of heartache/heartbreak that can be delivered through a midwest-emo song.

Stream Tigers Jaw on Spotify here.

Two Beers In - Free Throw

POV: You feel heartbroken so you try to drink to forget it until you realize the more you drink, the more alone you feel. "Two Beers In" is almost a cliche because of how common experiences like this are. The cliche is amplified by the line “you walk in with the boyfriend you just met last week.” The singer is jealous and upset that his love interested has moved on so quickly. The beginning of the song is chill and mellow until the chorus attacks and the singer starts screaming about just how upset he is. Leading into the chorus, we hear the line “fuck everything about this," which the singer screams to highlight his anger, which is then followed by the song mellowing out again for the second verse. It works well because it demonstrates that he doesn't want to be angry about losing his girlfriend, but overall there is nothing he can do. After the mellow second verse we get another amplified chorus, and instead of returning to another calm verse we hear the intro lyrics again, except this time it's being screamed. The singer is making us listen – the perfect way to end a really gut-wrenching song.

Stream Free Throw on Spotify here.

Never Meant - American Football

"Never Meant" is the debut track on the very first American Football album, the band being regarded as one of the best midwest-emo bands of all time. They're one of the first bands to pioneer the 'end of summer' trope – the second song on their debut record being called "The Summer Ends." Anyways, "Never Meant" starts with all the instruments playing disjointed before the actual tune starts. It's about trying to get over a past relationship and dealing with the heartache that comes with that. The main premise of the song is pretending that the relationship was never meant to be so that they can easily grieve over its end. Based on the lyrics, it's assumed that the relationship fell apart when they fell out of love with each other – which is a really hard thing to deal with, especially if no one necessarily did anything wrong in the first place. The love just fizzled away and now the partners have to decide if they are going to stop seeing each other. The song has two layered guitar parts, each playing their own twinkly tune that sounds really pretty in the mix along with everything else. This song is iconic in the genre and will definitely go down as one of the greatest midwest-emo songs in history.

Stream American Football on Spotify here.

Owen - Swordfish

"Owen" is a song that perfectly depicts the words said during a breakup, including phrases such as “don't take it personally” and “this kind of thing happens all the time.” This song is special because it pays homage to "Never Meant" by American Football, and is titled after one of the band members' side projects. The song fits more into the modern midwest-emo vibe, especially because of the trumpets that are heard towards the end of the song. Keeping up with the trend seen in all the other songs listed above, we have scream vocals to get across the feelings of distress the singer is experiencing. This is also another song that mentions summer with the lyrics "I'm stuck between 'When The Summer Ends' and 'What You Mean,'" both being references to American Football. Overall, the song deals with going on a break with a partner, and having to decide whether or not to end things for good. Its sad, its emotional, and it plays into multiple midwest-emo tropes.

Stream Swordfish on Spotify here.

Fight Song - The Appleseed Cast

"Fight Song" has a really methodical guitar riff which works beautifully with the rest of the instruments and vocals. The song has a slow build that leads to multiple satisfying high-energy chorus', and on-top of that, has an emotionally intense ending. This song depicts the end of a relationship when you realize that everything was a lie. "Now it all breaks, disintegrates." The narrator finds out that his partner was cheating and has to break up with her, and also talks about how he can't face her because of how much she hurt him. Overall it's a really pretty song about a really sad topic, that definitely deserves a listen.

Stream The Appleseed Cast on Spotify here.

Strong Island - You Blew It!

"Strong Island" is another song that features twinkly guitar riffs – clearly a fan-favorite in the genre. The lyrics include some heavy-hitting lines such as "I'm still finding pieces of me that I could live without." The singer is reeling from a very bad breakup which is blatantly evident in the lyrics – he still wants to be with her but she wants nothing to do with him. Just like in the song, most breakups happen when at least one person wants it to be over, even if the other person is still happy in the relationship.

Stream You Blew It! on Spotify here.

Dary - Hot Mulligan

"Dary" is a prime example of angst from a breakup. It has a creative melody and layered vocals, which includes two separate screaming vocals that sound like they're dueling throughout the first minute of the song. The singer just wants to get over his breakup and thinks that by not reaching out to her, he won't think about her. Based on the lyrics, it seems like it was quite a toxic relationship, as the girl was only keeping him around because no one else wanted her. Sometimes people end up staying in a bad relationship because they think being in one is better than being single, even if it ends up breaking on the inside.

Stream Hot Mulligan on Spotify here.

Vulcan Death Grip - Old Gray

"Vulcan Death Grip" has the classic midwest-emo intro of talking before the song starts. On top of that, it has all the musical elements of a classic midwest-emo song with the speed of a punk song. This song is a shorter one lyric-wise since it only has a few lines – however those few lines hit really hard. "Maybe someday you will love me but I don't think that I can wait." The narrator is talking about how he loves someone and really wants to be loved back but he doesn't have the time to wait for that to happen. During the last minute of the song, the singer repeats the same line over-and-over as the instruments fade away, and all that's left is the drone of a bass.

Stream Old Gray on Spotify here.

Death Cup - Mom Jeans.

"Death Cup" is a classic midwest-emo breakup song that is known and loved by many (primarily because of how relatable it is). The emotions behind the lyrics are raw and real, and the singer demonstrates that he doesn't know how to deal with his breakup and the loss of the person he loves. It can be hard to know how to feel or react when someone breaks up with you, and this song fully encapsulates the reality of that. "So was it worth it to me, to wait around and then see, if all my love was well spent," hits hard when you pour your heart into a relationship to make it work. One of the best parts of the song is the end, when the singer just starts screaming. He has four bursts of screams that can be seen has him trying to release his frustration with the whole situation. The guitars are the main drive for this song, they determine the vibe for each section. Overall, "Death Cup" is an incredibly well written breakup song that's the cherry on top for this playlist.

Stream Mom Jeans on Spotify here.

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