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Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,039 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo tells the story of a cultural moment that's happening right now-the nexus point where teen culture, music, and the web converge to create something new.

While shallow celebrities dominate the headlines, pundits bemoan the death of the music industry, and the government decries teenagers for their morals (or lack thereof) ear
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 15th 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,066)
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Jan 07, 2008 Rachel rated it did not like it
I was going to re-read this book so I could have a huge arsenal of shit to hold against Andy Greenwald.
But I'm not. I'm just going to rant. Alot.
I'm going to say that this book is absolutely horrible, and if you want to know about Emo then go to because it explains what emo really was better than this heap.

Greenwald insults not only the bands, but also the fans that are reading the book by MISQUOTING ALMOST EVERY SONG HE TALKS ABOUT. Listen Andy, there are about 100 sites o
Erin Coleman
Aug 07, 2007 Erin Coleman rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are fond of indie, acoustic, etc.
Nothing Feels Good changed my life in the sense that I'm not ignorant anymore. When someone calls another person "emo," I can now proudly correct them and tell them that it doesn't stand for emotional, it stands for emotive rock, and explain to them that there is a relationship between Minor Threat and emo, which before I thought to be without a doubt, impossible.
Jun 19, 2011 Orsolya rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, music

As not only a music fan but a music industry professional, I can safetly say (even though this is a subjective statement); that this book is an insult to the genre of "emo" and to music fans in general.

First of all, I don't even know why "punk rock" is in the title except for the minuscule connection that Greenwald makes between the offspring of punk rock, post-punk, and emo. Yes, he backtracks to Minor Threat and Rites of Spring but it mostly seems like a cry at acting like he knows what he ta
Apr 07, 2010 Candice rated it liked it
FOURFA, the ultimate website on Emo says: "By 1999, [post-emo indie rock:] had achieved a fan base far larger than any of the original emo stuff. In fact, that's what prompted me to write this website in the first place - the glut of info on the web about this and the lack of a historical perspective. Statistically, you the reader are most likely to be familiar with this type of emo. In the years since then, it's only grown far, far bigger. Jimmy Eat World and Thursday are in regular rotation on ...more
Kyle Moon
Jul 31, 2009 Kyle Moon rated it liked it
I liked this book for the most part, but really only the first half because the 2nd half ended up being a cheesy romance novel with Chris Carrabba in the style of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. If you can put that aside, then the book is kind of like a really well written wikipedia entry on emo music. I got to learn a bunch of cool stuff about my favorite bands of the style such as The Promise Ring, Braid, and Texas is the Reason, and it was all written by someone as geeky about emo music as m ...more
Jul 06, 2007 Tara rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
andy greenwald from spin magazine writes about how the music genre 'emo' developed out of punk rock and why its so sacred to the teenagers who listen to it. i really liked the book since i listened to a lot of 'emo' but he made it seem like only high schoolers liked it, i listened to those bands in high school but also my first two years of college a lot and he also made it seem like it was only sad kids listen to it, but i wasnt all sad and depressed when i listened to it either. but it was sti ...more
Aug 08, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
Nothing Feels Good is an exhaustive study of emo culture in America, which has largely faded out of the limelight over the past few years. While a lot of popular music dwells on the former lovers who left you, emo stands out because it really, really, really dwells on it.

Andy Greenwald spends considerable time paying tribute to the heroes of the culture (Dashboard Confessional, Vagrant Records, and it is a fascinating read as Greenwald covers Chris Carrabba's near nervous breakd
Chris Garrett
Dec 18, 2013 Chris Garrett rated it really liked it
I came across this book while browsing my local book store and decided to flip through a few pages. Nothing Feels Good is a multi-sourced dissection of the indie, punk,and "emo" music scene and how it has evolved since their origins. I feel that the book and its chapters are all over the place instead of having a single focus on one solid genre.
Christian Ryan
Jan 29, 2015 Christian Ryan rated it liked it
I read this maybe 10 years ago. At the time I probably would have rated it 4 or 5 stars. However, Knowing how this genre evolved (or rather, devolved) I'm rather apathetic about it and would rate it 1 or 2 stars. I remember it focused on Dashboard Confessional way too much. Also, Weezer...a band that never really seemed to be lumped in with the emo bands of the time but rather a band whose lyrics resembled a 2nd grader's attempt at poetry (and still do). I mean come on dude...does every line hav ...more
Kate Hughes
Jan 23, 2014 Kate Hughes rated it liked it
An interesting look into emo music, mainly the change from a smaller alternative subculture to the beginning of it being a much wider reaching and marketed music genre.

It provides a reasonably in depth history of the genre, particularly for anyone not so familiar with its beginnings. The book also looks at the relationship between bands and fans and the impact the music has on them, which for me was the most interesting section.

There is an insight into the beginnings of digital music and social
Oct 03, 2014 Kristin-Leigh rated it liked it
A great history of the roots of the emo scene (Washington DC's emotional hardcore music) and how it has transformed over the past decade. Greenwald doesn't fling recriminations or place blame, which is admirable in a genre of writing that many authors seem to have trouble remaining objective in.

The later portions of the book focus in on a couple of acts Greenwald identifies as quintessentially "emo." Whether the study suffers from this perspective is up to the reader to decide; I personally enj
Steven Matview
Feb 21, 2014 Steven Matview rated it it was ok
Shelves: nf
I read this book shortly after it came out, back during the height of mainstream emo popularity. When I was first getting into the genre I learned all I could from and honestly, I still much prefer that free site to this book. I felt like too much time was spent on the then-modern successes like Dashboard and the actual teenagers that were interviewed came off as clueless and just left a sour taste in my mouth. My recommendation is, if you’re interested in the history of em ...more
David Brock
Feb 18, 2014 David Brock rated it really liked it
Whoops, almost forgot, ahem.

Interesting read. The book reads like a timeline for the sub-genre: beginning with a brief, yet detailed, chapter on the origins of the sub-genre including, but not limited to, such DC "Revolution Summer" (1985) pioneers as Rites of Spring; then, notable early 1990s bands including, most notably, Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate; followed by the mid-1990s scene featuring bands like the Get Up Kids, the Promise Ring and Texas Is the Reason. That being said, however
Dec 27, 2013 Bill rated it really liked it
Overall, this was a really interesting read, especially with the hindsight of ten years passing. It's interesting how the "emo" label continues to morph and evade people to this day, and I really feel like Greenwald did a great job of exploring the origins, the zeitgeist when the book was written, and he even does a good job of speculating on what would happen.

As someone with fond memories of the early days - especially bands like Jawbreaker and The Get Up Kids, this book really took me back do
May 20, 2011 Jess rated it it was amazing
So when I finally see Dashboard Confessional in September, my appreciation level for his live music is going to be infinitely more than it would have been had I just gone in with my probably all ready over the top appreciation. This book, whilst starting out with a bit of history, and general emo vibes, record labels, albums etc. ends up devoting a good chunk to Chris Carrabba and Dashboard Confessional. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves Dashboard, very quickly.

The book also deals
Melissa Guimont
Aug 29, 2013 Melissa Guimont rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, music
I am of the generation that this book talks about; the punk rock/emo kid that has refused to "grow up" and listen to the garbage that mainstream radio stations play. I'm the angry youth that is in my 30s and a responsible adult who will never give up her emo songs and punk anthems. When you ask me my favorite bands, you wouldn't recognize half of them. I stood in the cramped room of the "Middle East" to see my favorite no-names take the stage. I still follow these bands that are together and rel ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Brian rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
"Emo" has been a charged and contentious term since its inception. Like the punk scene it originally derived from, emo means many things to many people, whether it's the early 80's post hardcore emo of Rites of Spring, the mid-90's emo of Sunny Day Real-Estate and The Promise Ring, or the early 00's mainstream post-goth emo culture most associated with bad hairdo's, cutting, and crying. For people who have only ever experience the latter side of emo, the first half of Andy Greenwald's book is an ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Ravachol rated it really liked it
After reading this book I decided to log on to the MakeoutClub message boards, and I actually bumped into Gibby Miller on there. I told Gibby how I felt that a lot of people were misrepresented in this book and I asked him what his thoughts were on that. He told me he didn't want to comment on the book, which only bolstered my suspicions. I Feel like Blake Schwarzenbach in particular was grossly falsified, and being his #1 fan, I take great personal offense to that. -- Otherwise it's a very inte ...more
Yasmeen S
Oct 21, 2009 Yasmeen S rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book, it had every aspect I look for while reading a book. It was easy to keep up with, while still using unique language. My absolute favorite part about the book was the writing style; the author used very powerful language and strong metaphors. I personally liked the book because it was mostly about music and the music industry which I am very interested in. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the emo music scene and style. However, if you lik ...more
Jess Tebbets
Jul 04, 2008 Jess Tebbets rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: music fans
A brilliant look into the past, present, and future of the form of punk rock known as "emo". Greenwald looks back to hardcore bands that broke up and formed punk bands which focused on emotional content as opposed to social commentary on government policies. This starts the wave of emo music coming around. Then the present is viewed by looking at current bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, Brand New, and others. These bands are big names in the current musi ...more
Chris Cummins
Jun 13, 2014 Chris Cummins rated it liked it
if you are a fan of the genre as a whole, you probably won't get much out of this. your opinion on this book will largely depend on your definition of the word emo. the book does touch on some of the early stuff, when the term first started getting thrown around. greenwald dedicates some pages to jawbreaker and sunny day real estate, but devotes much of the book to dashboard confessional. the highlight for me was the chapters on internet communities and forums.
Oct 28, 2010 lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
really, really enjoyed this. it's well-written, doesn't talk down to (or about) the scene, and gives really good background on what emo is until about 2003.

this is the first music book i've read that details a scene i was on the fringe of- i turned 18 in 2002, i listened to dashboard confessional and cried an awful lot my freshman year of college, i was listening to and talking about taking back sunday and the get up kids and thursday and jimmy eat world and new found glory- so it was extra-inte
Peter Mortimer
Jun 15, 2015 Peter Mortimer rated it really liked it
Nothing feels good is a nice trip into the emo/punk rock, covering topics like its popularity among teenagers and especially for boys. andy Greenwald is a regukar on and his good writing makes it easy to enjiy the different characters you meet in this book.
Eric Atienza
Jan 20, 2016 Eric Atienza rated it liked it
This is such a terrific historical look at the growth of emo up until he starts writing about Dashboard Confessional, at which point it reads more like the author trying to make sense of something he doesn't quite get and fit it into a context he's familiar with.
Apr 16, 2013 Tim rated it did not like it
I am not going to bother to finish this book, as quite frankly, it is not very good. As a fan of bands like Jawbreaker, the Promise Ring, Braid, the Get Up Kids, and their ilk as well Andy Greenwald's writing for Grantland (can't say I remember anything he wrote for Spin) to this was a disappointment would be a vast understatement. It did not strike me as a all together well researched book, and some of his claims were downright hilarious--at one point he was talking about underground music 'zin ...more
Dec 23, 2012 Gina rated it it was ok
I think it did give a lot of good information, but I was vaguely annoyed through most of the book. I think some of this is because there is a lot that can be annoying about emo. I don't want to slag on it, because it appears to fill a need, even if it is not a need that I have.

The rest of the annoyance is the author's voice. I thought it was because he ended up with such a huge crush on Chris Carraba, but even if that is a factor, I think Greenwald also ended up being a little in love with how
Mar 31, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it
I would suggest this book to a person who is just beginging learn about the genre of emo. I would hand this book to a kid today who grew up thinking that the acoustic guitar and whiney voices they heard was all the emo ever was. Sure, it's not the greatest exmeplar of a historically accurate novel, but it's well written and funny. I am an English Major and I always keep a pencil with me when reading and I found myself underling passages I liked and circling bands I didn't know. I ended up compil ...more
Dec 09, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This book and Andy Greenwald sparked my interest music writing at a young age. As far back as I can remember, this book was read in a little less than a week. Greenwald knows his stuff about the emo/punk rock movement and music in general. I actually heard and read this book because of my huge Dashboard Confessional fandom but the book is so much more than Dashboard Confessional and I really learned a lot.

I used to be a member of Greenwald's message board discussions and his passion for what he
Bloodbath Burdzy
Jan 24, 2016 Bloodbath Burdzy rated it did not like it
The worst book about music I have ever read... This guy has no idea what he's talking about
Dave Blevins
Nov 02, 2013 Dave Blevins rated it liked it
I got this book for Christmas 10 years ago from my wife(now ex) the time. I'm a music snob so I wasn't sure why she bought me this. It's a pretty good read though. I find myself disagreeing with a lot of things in it, and that's probably because I'm a product of the 1990's so called "emo" scene. Andy Greenwald is a corporate whore for SPIN so it's expected that there will be some inaccuracies. He comes off arrogant at times and insulting of the bands. Keep in mind this was written 10 years ago a ...more
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Andy Greenwald is an author, journalist and screenwriter living in Brooklyn, NY. His writing appears daily on and occasionally in Spin, Entertainment Weekly and Penthouse. He tweets often ( yet hasn't updated his website since 2006.
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