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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

Now that we’ve got the look down, let’s talk about music! A lot of these songs deal with heart-break and unrequited love. They are scream-with-the-windows-down type songs. That being said there is some controversy about what does and does not count as Midwest emo, some bands are self proclaimed, others are more ambiguous. Regardless, this is my personal opinion and my favorites so there will be some bands left out and some included that others may not agree with!

The Front Bottoms

I love the Front Bottoms and recently just saw them in concert. Such a nice group of concert goers and a fantastic concert. The lyrics are clever and screamability is rated a 10/10 for me. When you think Midwest emo you think of them! My top songs are;

  • 12 Feet Deep
  • Lipstick covered Magnet
  • Bus Beats
  • Be Nice to Me
  • Punching Bag
adjust the Sails

Next is Adjust the Sails, they are more of a new discovery for me, though they started gaining attraction around 2018. I listed them second because the first time I heard them I genuinely thought I was listening to a Front Bottoms song. Here are a few of my favorites. 

  • Pool song (Brandon’s song)
  • A lifetime of bad habits
  • If We Were a Ship, We’d be Sinking (Maybe You’re Right)
  • Mike Walton – Basement Version
Modern Baseball

Though they are no longer a band, they have my heart. The epitome of Midwest emo, I would do anything to see them in concert. 

  • Re-Do
  • Tears Over Beers 
  • Your Graduation
  • Rock Bottom
Sorority Noise

While some don’t really consider this band Midwest Emo, I go by vibe. Though they are slightly more aggressive in their style, Sorority Noise gives me the same feelings and vibes as these other bands, which is why I have listed them here. 

  • Mononokay
  • Art School Wanna Be
  • Using
  • A portrait of
Honorable Mentions

Some of these next ones are actually pretty controversial. Some say rock, some say emo, some say indie rock. I say Midwest emo enough to be included on this list. (Note: Mom Jeans. and Free Throw are 100% Midwest emo, they are not part of the controversy!) 

  • 2 Beers In – Free Throw
  • Surfer Rosa – The Obsessives
  • Death Cup – Mom Jeans.
  • Beachboy – McCafferty
  • Heartstrings – Remo Drive

There are plenty of other great bands that you can listen to. This is more of a jumping off point. You should definitely explore and find your own favorites!

Grace Fette is a chapter leader at the HerCampus at IUP chapter. She loves to write lists, zodiac posts, and personal experiences. Grace is a Junior at IUP. She's an English Writing studies major with Women and Gender studies and Communications media minors. She is president of Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society Xi Xi chapter and her work has been published a number of times. She loves to hang out with friends and her sister, hike, and read poetry. She is always up for coffee, cute breakfast places, and concerts of any kind!