40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time

C'mon get sad: the best of punk rock's moody younger sibling

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Drive Like Jehu, 'Yank Crime' (1994)
40
16/40

16. Drive Like Jehu, 'Yank Crime' (1994)

Formed by San Diego scene fixtures John Reis and Rick Froberg after the breakup of their band Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu was the antagonistic, abrasive yin to the rollicking, crowd-pleasing yang of Reis' Rocket From the Crypt – which made it all the more inexplicable that Jehu's masterpiece of a sophomore album wound up on a major label. Yank Crime's songs – all dueling guitars, off-kilter beats and ear-bleeding feedback – alternately feel like grudge matches and endurance tests, with Froberg's upper-register yell cutting swaths through the noise. It might not be emo proper, but the album would be hugely influential to the Nineties emo underground, as well as to eventual superstars like At the Drive-In and Thursday. Of course, speaking to the San Diego Reader during Jehu's recent reunion, Froberg said the band's plans were never that ambitious: "We wanted to make loud, ugly noise and get our rocks off – that's it." A.B.

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