I started my freshman year weighing in at 105 pounds and was a whopping five feet one inches. I was a nerd and a swimmer, which in the land of football and toxic masculinity (aka Texas), was not cool. As you can imagine, I was made fun of a lot.
Keep in mind, the people making fun of me unironically wore Ed Hardy. Everyone seemed to love Dane Cook and allowed the movie Good Luck Chuck to get made. Transformers was a massive summer blockbuster where teenage boys’ lives were forever changed by a young Megan Fox. Family Guy was quite popular, and “that’s so gay” was synonymous with “stupid.” It was a dark time.
Despite the incredible year for music that was 2007 (Boxer by The National and For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver both came out this year among many, many others), pop punk still had a firm grip on the hearts of all millennials, including myself. Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Sum 41, All Time Low, Yellowcard, Good Charlotte, and The Used all released albums this year. And that’s just scratching the surface.
In 2007, pop punk and emo went hand in hand. It was the prettier, shinier version of goth with equal self loathing, and slightly less makeup. The Pete Wentz haircut was a staple (see below), and skinny jeans were gaining popularity fast.
However, how you dress is just a small fraction of what it means to be emo. Elder emos on TikTok might tell you otherwise, but gatekeeping is so exhausting. Even looking back on it now, so much of it seemed so performative. Were they really emo, or were they just taking advantage of the moment?
I’ll be the first to say that how you dress is negligible. Emo is a mentality. You don't try to be emo, you just are. And folks, "Heartbreak On Film" by Pale Dream is everything for which emo stands.
Pale Dream’s music could wipe the floor with most self-proclaimed emos of 2007. “Heartbreak On Film” evokes images of a depressing goth love story Tim Burton could only dream of. And more importantly, true to its emo roots, it’s deeply emotional. Even a title like “Heartbreak On Film” underscores just how heartbreaking the song actually is.
The delivery of the line "wasted at the movies, dreaming of you" will stop you in your tracks. Lead singer Trey Hoskins's tone is effortless yet heavy. He's nonchalant, and yet it's like he’s straining to get out every word. When he reaches the chorus, and the lyrics "I could’ve loved her" finally manage to escape his lips, the weight of them crushes you. As he unloads this heavy burden he's been carrying for years, you wonder how he was even able to walk, let alone sing with all of those words—all of that emotion—bottled up inside of him.
If you’re an emotional masochist like myself, you’ll listen to this song several times a day for the next six months, and your friends will be concerned.