Credit: Fabriel PFOBMore 7x mashup on YouTube

The EMO Renaissance Is Upon Us

The music industry remains ever-changing. Over the last decade alone, we have had the 2013 indie and bedroom pop takeover, the 2016 EDM craze, and who could possibly forget the continued global domination of KPOP since BTS’ 2017 AMAs debut performance? While these genres are having their time in the spotlight, there’s one sector that has slowly been creeping back into the mainstream and, personally, looks to be the dominating genre of 2023. Guys, gals, and non-binary pals, the EMO renaissance is upon us.

Now, this is not to say that the scene had ever faded into oblivion, or that its popularity had ever declined because this would simply be false. But, in the mainstream music industry, pop-punk, emo-rock, and hardcore music had been amiss among the charts for some time now. The emo community has always remained full and overflowing with fans, but heavier music is certainly pushing its way back into the general public airwaves.

It would be foolish to shy away from the revival of emo being minorly aided by mainstream pop artists dipping their toes into the genre. Good 4 U by pops newest princess Olivia Rodrigo, and the debate surrounding the Misery Business comparisons pushed the pop-punk scene back into global focus. Doja Cat’s 2020 hit Say So also got reimagined into a punk-esque track during the EMAs and continues to go viral almost monthly. Ed Sheeran broke the internet when he opened the 2022 BRIT Awards with his surprise collaboration on Bad Habits with Bring Me The Horizon, and even boosted the songs streams and sales with the remix.


All of this is not to say that pop is the reason that the industry is seeing a new surge of fans, that is down to the musicians and their incredible music. But the mainstream industry scratching the surface of heavier music has brought a magnifyng glass to the emo and metal community, and the bands are reaping the benefits and getting the attention and recognition they deserve.

TikTok has become the new home for deciding what the next big thing will be, and the emo scene has been no exception to this. In 2022 alone, Pierce The Veil’s mega-hit ‘King For a Day ft Kellin Quinn’ started its resurgence into the mainstream thanks to semi-viral trends. By August, the track reached 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hard Rock Streaming Songs Chart and 7 on the Rock Streaming Songs Chart, almost 10 years since its initial release. Shortly after this, the band announced their anticipated return with a new album out on February 10th and their largest UK arena tour to date.


2023 has kicked off with Sleep Token having one of the biggest gains seen for rock acts. After their single The Summoning started making the rounds on TikTok, their monthly listeners jumped from 300,000 in January, to 1.8 million at the time of writing. 2023 is shaping up to be Sleep Token’s biggest year yet and we are barely two months into it.


The return of the (newly revised) EMO holy trinity cannot be missed from the discussion of why the scene will dominate 2023. Paramore, one of the most celebrated and acclaimed bands globally, is set to release their incredibly highly anticipated post-punk album This Is Why on February 10th. This Is Why, the single, earned the group their biggest ever debut on Spotify with only 10 hours of tracking,and has earned them the top spot on NME, Radio 1 and Consequence’s Best Songs of 2022. The News offers a brilliant punk addition to the album and once again, revisits Paramore’s older sound, while still remaining progressive to the trio’s discography.

Fall Out Boy have also returned to music with a bang. After their experiemental and sort-of-controversial album MANIA in 2018, the band have gone back to their roots. Returning to their first ever record label Fueled by Ramen, and reuniting with Neal Avron (producer of Folie a Deux), their next studio album So Much (for) Stardust looks to push away from the pop edge their latest albums had and return to their earlier guitar heavy sound.

We cannot forget that 2022 saw the return of My Chemical Romance. The world quite literally tilted on an axis when the beloved group called it quits in 2013, but 2019 saw the group announce their reunion with a one-off Los Angeles show. Post-Covid lockdowns, 2022 saw them embark on sold out tours all across the world, including selling out Stadium MK three times in the UK. The Foundations of Decay became the groups first release since 2014 and re-solidified their place as gothic rock kings. Being away for nine years before releasing new music and touring did nothing but reinforce the Killyjoys love for their forever artists, and breathe new life into MCR.

When We Were Young Festival became the real sign that the emos will dominate 2023. The festival announcement dominated trending topics on Twitter and became the talk of the music industry for the entire year. Demand became so high that the initial one-day event became a three-day festival. The likes of Paramore and My Chemical Romance headlined, whilst Bring Me The Horizon, Avril Lavigne, Mayday Parade, Jimmy Eat World and Sleeping With Sirens also took to Vegas for the event. Las Vegas was an emo safe haven for three days and proved that in 2022, a whole festival centered around the genre could be THE musical event of the year.

2023 will see the return of the big players of the alternative rock industry, see the come up of new bands and watch the artists who have been sidelined get their big moment in the spotlight. Pop-punk, alternative rock and metal are coming to be at the forefront of the musical sphere and bring a new excitement to the mainstream music scene.


Written by Ellie Nicholas

A 23-year-old UK-based graduate.
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