Best pop-punk and emo albums of the early 2000s

These incredible albums still hold up.
Mark Lambie / El Paso Times
3 of 5


My grandma asked what I wanted for my birthday in 2002, and there was only one answer for 14-year-old Keith. That was New Found Glory's new album, Sticks and Stones. This is that album that has more nostalgia than any other. I was so excited about this; I only had a few complete CDs, most of which consisted of borrowing from my older brother or some mixes with some of my favorite songs, but having this CD was my most prized possession.

This set New Found Glory on a rocket, MTV, radio, and other places NFG could now be found. The iconic opening riff to "My Friends Over You" or the "Head on Collision guitar line hits like nothing else for me. In a year full of great ones, this is the best album to release in 2002.

These are the year's Drive Thru Records owned what seemed like the world for me, but they definitely owned my CD case and my stereo. One of the rostered bands, The Starting Line, released their debut album, Say It Like You Mean It. I love the long punk beat intros of just rocking out, like "The Saddest Girl Story," and The Starting Line does it just as good, if not better than anyone else.

This release matched up perfectly with my life. It felt like all the songs of breakup and just being a mess; that was me then, and musically, I loved the album, but lyrically, I felt it and experienced it. This album would have taken the top spot in 2002 if it weren't for NFG.

Although not a full-length album, the EP From The Depth of Dreams by Senses Fail makes the cut. One day, I heard the song "Free Fall Without A Parachute" while riding around with a friend who had a sampler or mix CD. That song kicked in, and I was just awed. I had to figure out who it was and get this CD.

I found this release later, and I would have this six-song EP on repeat. I couldn't get enough, and from that moment, it became one of my top bands, and that still hasn't changed 22 years later. They would go on to release eight full-length albums after this release, but 2002 gets this one.

Allister had some of the catchiest guitar leads, and the two different vocalists had amazing harmonies that created front-to-back catchy sing-along hooks in their album Last Stop Suburbia. This CD came with one of those enhanced CDs that would play video if you put it on the computer. It also had pictures from their concerts, a lot of bonus material that I watched repeatedly, and printed posters to cover my wall. This album was amazing.

Songs notable off this one are "Somewhere On Fullerton," "Westbound," and "Flypaper." If you missed this one back in the day, it's not too late. Give this one a check.