Before the hair flicks and mic swings that would go on to popularise the term in the mid-’00s, emo existed as something different entirely. That ‘something’, as it happens, was fucking great. From its true inception in the mid-’80s, right up until the turn of the millennium, emo existed more as an ideology than a sound or a fashion statement.
Here, we look back on 20 of the best albums from that golden, embryonic period. You’ll find strands of hardcore, indie-rock, pop-punk and more, showcasing both a changing landscape and more than a few hints of what was to come.