19. Brand New, 'Deja Entendu' (2003)
Emo took hold of mainstream pop in the early Aughts but one of its brightest acts was veering towards an exit ramp. In a Spin "Trend of the Year" piece on "mainstreamo" for the magazine's 2003 year-end issue Brand New singer and guitarist Jesse Lacey said emo was "becoming like Eighties hair metal all over again. All you can really do is try hard to be one of the bands that does manage to stick." Brand New stuck, thanks in part to that year's Deja Entendu, which ditched the bottled-up energy of their debut for moody, textured, cavernous numbers that augmented Lacey's acidic lyrics. The brooding frontman pushed his charms to their edge, but for all the bile he spews in all directions he shows enough vulnerability to make the anguish connect. L.G.