Sometimes the age of a song slowly creeps up on you. Having discovered it during important periods of their lives, fans will continue to think of a song as new and fresh -- only to realize that it first came out ten years ago. Whether they defined a style or a moment in music, or were the first singles from what would become fans' favorite albums, these tracks feel immortal even as they become genre staples.
What can be even more daunting is that these tracks are classics for younger fans growing up today. While many listeners coming of age alongside these artists view their songs as breaking new ground, younger rock devotees can't imagine what rock music, or being a teenager, would have been like without them.
Here’s a list of songs that are quickly becoming the newest generation of rock classics…
A Day To Remember – All I Want (2011)
In the same way that it’s hard to overstate A Day To Remember’s influence on today's young rock fans, it’s hard to pick just one standout track from across their career. But in All I Want, the band produced an uplifting anthem -- complete with soaring hooks, driving guitars and a huge chorus -- that showed how massive they could go, with lines like, 'Keep your hopes up high and your head down low' sticking in listeners’ heads. The song's video is just as memorable, with cameos from members of prominent rock bands of that era (including Fall Out Boy, Bring Me the Horizon and Trivium) turning it into a brilliant time capsule for that moment in the scene.
All Time Low – Weightless (2009)
Weightless’ famous lines, 'Maybe it’s not my weekend / But it’s gonna be my year' have worn many hats, acting as everything from a lyric, to a rallying cry, to an inspirational quote, to a meme. The track put All Time Low’s pop-leaning abilities front-and-center before bringing in the rock elements that give the song its punch. The band had already had a hit with Dear Maria, Count Me In off of 2007’s more straight-forward punk record So Wrong It’s Right. But 2009’s Nothing Personal, for which Weightless was the lead single, saw them exploring the listenable aspect they've continued to use across their career; the electronic beats on the track felt like a left-turn for All Time back then, but have since come to define their style.
Asking Alexandria – The Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel) (2009)
Even if you haven’t heard The Final Episode, chances are you’ve heard of it. A setlist mainstay for Asking Alexandria, it’s still one of their most successful songs to date. While we now see it as a quintessential metalcore track that helped define what the genre could be, when it was written The Final Episode pushed boundaries with its lighter chorus and electronic bridge, and now demonstrates the boldness that has become an integral part of Asking Alexandria’s entire career. As guitarist Ben Bruce put it, “It just turned into this monster of a song that launched our career.”
Bring Me The Horizon – Chelsea Smile (2008)
Bring Me The Horizon have had a massive, genre-spanning career. Before they were the alt-rock act they are now, they were one of the most prominent metalcore bands out there, and Chelsea Smile came from that heavier era. The song navigates a lot of territory -- it’s got an infectious refrain, a powerful chant and a chilling bridge. Although it’s a completely different sound from what contemporary Bring Me the Horizon fans know and love in 2020, they can still hear hints of the band's later work in this song, making it an awesome a reminder of how far BMTH have come.
Mayday Parade – Miserable At Best (2007)
Though they penned their share of speedy pop-punk hits, Mayday Parade always excelled at writing the kinds of slow, devastating ballads which have now become the tracks one thinks of when they hear the band's name. Miserable At Best is a perfect representation of Mayday Parade's softer side; its emotional weight and overwhelming sadness cemented it as a landmark moment of the emo genre. The melody is intricate and unpredictable, while the stripped-back, piano-driven tone manages to be delicate and dramatic at the same time. As captivating as it is heartbreaking, the track has become an essential part of emo history and an important milestone for fans discovering the genre now.
READ THIS: The 25 greatest emo albums ever
Of Mice & Men – Second and Sebring (2010)
Of Mice & Men have been producing solid metalcore tracks since day one, and this personal song about the death of then-frontman Austin Carlile’s mother took a tragic event and channeled it into one of the band's most inspiring and uplifting anthems. The power behind the screamed vocals and heavy guitars conveys a limitless sense of strength, but the standout part of the song comes at the end with the touching and unforgettable lines, 'This is not what it is, only baby scars / I need your love like a boy needs his mother’s side.' It’s a beautifully cathartic moment that has stuck with listeners for over a decade.
Sleeping With Sirens – If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn (2010)
For a while, this was the song, and the sound, that most fans associated with Sleeping with Sirens. Breakdown- and scream-heavy, If I'm James Dean… occupied the territory that fans of this Michigan-cum-Florida band were familiar with back then, while still incorporating the pop sensibilities that would grow into a bigger part of their style. The track uses a lot of fast, driving rhythms, coupled with a chorus that soars impossibly high even for them. Though Sleeping With Sirens would take steps away from their heavier, post-hardcore sounds with each release, those roots still come through through for new fans, especially on last year’s How it Feels to Be Lost.
Tonight Alive – Wasting Away (2011)
This powerful track proved that Tonight Alive were truly a force to be reckoned with, and opened big doors for the band -- by the time their second album came around, both Mark Hoppus and Benji Madden had guested on Tonight Alive songs. Wasting Away gave the Australian band their explosive start, featuring expertly-contrasted driving guitars, Jenna McDougall’s unique voice, and sweeping melodies that illustrated how Tonight Alive had something different to offer and were going to continue to push their music to new heights. These ambitions were later realized when the band hit milestones such as writing The Edge for The Amazing Spiderman 2, making Wasting Away one of their most recognized turning points.
twenty one pilots – Car Radio (2013)
Part-piano ballad, part-slam poetry, part-electronic track with screamed vocals -- Car Radio is an unexpected mix of styles that perfectly encapsulates twenty one pilots' genre-defying sound. The rhymes are impressive, surrounding a subject as pleasantly surprising as all of the musical twists in the song. Every part of the track wasn't what fans expected, but twenty one pilots pulled it off and with the same creativity, unpredictability and willingness to push the envelope that they’ve only built on in years since. It’s hard to say that anybody predicted the success of Stressed Out, but listening back to Car Radio shows that twenty one pilots' ambition and the energy were always there.
VersaEmerge – Fixed At Zero (2010)
Fixed At Zero is one of those songs fans that only those truly obsessed with alternative music in the early 2010s knew about when it first came out. VersaEmerge were artistically fearless while Bring Me The Horizon were still playing deathcore, but Fixed At Zero shows why genre-blending became a staple of the scene. The track features a wonderfully dramatic and refreshing mix of heavy rock and other musical influences. Sadly, it felt like VersaEmerge were meant for greater success than they actually achieved, but though they eventually disbanded, both members continued making music, having worked with bands like All Time Low and PVRIS (the latter of whom have a ton of VersaEmerge in their current sound).
The Wonder Years – Came Out Swinging (2012)
For many fans, The Wonder Years kick-started a new wave of pop-punk, distancing the genre from the emo and bubblegum influences that had become par for the course therein. Came Out Swinging captures the musical rawness and lyrical earnestness that would make the band, and the new iteration of pop-punk they were spearheading, the standard for generations to come. Fast, hard-hitting, and high-energy, the song has so many impressive moving parts -- the specificity of the lyrics, the quieter moments, the bridge as a whole -- that it's become a cultural touchstone, representing all the talent and momentum that The Wonder Years have had from the very beginning.
You Me At Six – Underdog (2010)
You Me At Six have also transitioned through a number of musical styles over the years, but their pop-punk phase is arguably the one they did best, and for which they're most known. Underdog was one of their boldest, loudest, fastest and most successful songs from that era, with lines like 'Down but not out' coming up on different albums across the band’s career. The track has since become an undeniable and unapologetic game-changer that’s entranced listeners only just getting into You Me At Six, even as the band and genre have moved on.