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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: Songs that warm my punk, metal and emo heart


I was emo in middle school.

My skinny jeans were so dark and tight that one of my teachers thought I was wearing leggings. I had a black tattoo choker and wanted to cut my hair into a fringe. I hated pop music — especially Taylor Swift and One Direction. I exclusively watched MyDigitalEscape on YouTube, and I scoffed when someone didn’t know about Nirvana’s cover of “The Man Who Sold the World.”

I was, in every sense of the phrase, a “not like other girls” kind of girl.

My brother made me into the monster I was. He introduced me to Kurt Cobain at the ripe age of 11. It was a time in my life when I had wanted to be edgy. Different. Not like other girls. That's why I made my music taste into my personality. If it wasn’t Black Veil Brides, My Chemical Romance or Nirvana, I didn’t care to listen to it. 

By the time I got to high school, I realized that it was okay to like multiple genres. Enjoying Taylor Swift’s “London Boy” didn’t make me any more or less of a metalhead. I could have Slipknot and Shawn Mendes on the same playlist. 

Even though I know it would make my middle school self cringe, Harry Styles is now one of my favorite artists. When I went to his concert in Raleigh last year, I cried. I think middle school me was crying, too. 

But, no matter how many new genres and artists I’m introduced to, the emo, punk, metal and grunge scenes will always be my musical homes.

Some of my best memories have been made with Microwave’s “Trash Stains” playing in the background. One of my new favorite bands, Glitterer, was the first of two openers at Cat’s Cradle last week. I have forced my brother to make me rock and metal playlists, and then I have forgotten to listen to them. I’ve almost pushed drunk guys over at concerts while being part of the mosh pit wall. Going to Warped Tour was a dream come true. 

At the end of the day, this is the music that got me through the dark days of middle school. It’s the music my brother and I listened to while we ate french fries in the Planet Fitness parking lot and found permanent fixes for lost causes. It’s the music that I used to listen to. The music that introduced me to music. This is the music I will always come back to.