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Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,306 ratings  ·  99 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 September 5th 2000 by St. Martins Press-3PL
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  1,306 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Jun 15, 2007 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
Michael Parkinson
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
First half was great. Second half was entirely focused on Dashboard Confessional and the merits of the Internet as a communication device. Read the first half.
Jun 17, 2011 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
Erin Coleman
Aug 07, 2007 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.
Spenser Milo
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if this book is well-researched or is simply just the only book of its kind, therefore well-researched because there's no comparison. I did like it, though, mostly for its timely release in 2003. After 2003, emo broke into the mainstream and became alt-rock to casual ears so Greenwald's standpoint becomes even larger as its on the brink of everything changing. For instance, there are brief paragraphs and interviews about the absence of women in the genre and, little does anyone know ...more
Apr 14, 2009 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
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
ugh. where to begin.

1) This book is all over the place. I get the impression Greenwald had no idea what he was doing while he was writing it; he just kind of threw everything at the page and saw what stuck.

2) The interviews for this book were conducted between 2001 and 2003 and the book is primarily about that period in time. It is not a history of emo music/subculture. Anything before 1998 or so is breezed through in around a quarter of the book. Over half the book is dedicated specifically to
Mar 16, 2007 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
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book while hospitalized. I was only allowed an ipod shuffle filled with *only* sunny day real estate, jawbreaker, texas is the reason, promise ring, get up kids, fugazi & dashboard. This book was the perfect compliment & made me appreciate a genre I already loved even more. I wish I could make all my friends read this. I wish I could make anyone who thinks fall out boy is emo read this. The books is a little dated, written at the height of pop-punk commercial "emo" in the early 2000s ...more
Luke Murphy-Wearmouth
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oof. Incredibly outdated now, but provides a good insight into the early days of emo up until about 2001-2. Does make it super apparent that it’s always been privileged white boys moaning and thinking too highly of themselves. There’s also a big section on LiveJournal, which is amazingly cringe.
Mar 31, 2010 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
Chris Garrett
Dec 18, 2013 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.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
first half: amazing, informative, fun to read
second half: have you heard of Chris Carrabba?
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been a big fan of Andy Greenwald from his work in television criticism for Grantland and his podcast The Watch, in which he and his friend Chris Ryan mostly discuss recent happenings in television and cinema and pop culture in general; they also occasionally dip into their shared history as music journalists, as both cut their teeth writing about music, which inspired me to seek out Greenwald's seminal text on "emo", which is to date considered to be the authoritative text on the musical ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A hardly essential but nonetheless entertaining read for those who want a fan's perspective on the 'emo' genre circa 2003. This is a fairly well-documented but scattershot tour through various aspects of the sub-culture surrounding emo just a year or two before it transformed into the goth-cribbing 'mallcore' phenomenon, which many people still (unfortunately) associate with the term.

As someone who came of age in the early 2000's and fell in love with the genre through the gateway drugs of poli
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very mediocre, but it’s probably the only book out there that talks about emo.

Pros: It was pretty thorough in the sense that it described ALL aspects of emo culture i.e. the music (of course), the Internet forums, the fan base, and more. I learned about a lot of important bands and got to see a lot of interviews.

Cons: The organization and time dedicated to each topic were terribly thought out. I would have loved to see more recent emo bands. And why was there so much time dedicated to Dashboard
Lavender Rathman
Lightly touches on the actual emo origins and then launches into the midwest emo/mtv emo thing (which as a certain type of person will tell you, "isn't real emo"), so much of this book is about the wonderful new invention called "the internet" and how napster is impacting the music industry! Remember web forums? He sure wants you to! Also about how the kids keep selling out to bigger labels because they wanna get rich.
What isn't about this is just Greenwald's love letter to Dashboard Confession
Olivia Butcher
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book really shows why people love Punk Rock, Emo, and other types of music. It starts off by talking about what emo is, it really amazed me how beautify crafted it was. It shows how people use music as an escape from their problems and the rest of the world. I really related to this book, music makes my problems fade away and gives me a sense of purpose, music really is my life. I recommend this book for everyone (not young children because there are some mature themes), it opens your eyes ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The perfect nonfiction book. The people who talk, really go deep in their situations and the fact that their music relates to them very well. It's such a deep book, I can't describe it. This book tells everything about punk and emo, even the latter's music flaw, which is how so many boys have problems with their relationships with girls. I highly recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by punk rock, teenagers and emo, hence the title.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: m00z3k
Only worth the first couple chapters.. which could have many pages shaved off due to pointless interviews with random teenagers. More meat would have been cool. Anyway, after the first couple chapters, it's a circular boring stroll into pointlessness. The author has a Dashboard Confessional fetish wherein 75% of the book is rambling about said band which barely classifies as emo.
Books about contemporary music of the past 100 years are always hit or miss. This was a miss.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot of emo helped me out in high school and continues to help me out today. I wanted to read this because Spin is one of my favorite magazines and Andy Greenwald is a writer for Spin! Mainly, I wanted to read it for the Weezer and Thursday sections. Overall, I felt like this was just a reallly long magazine article... but a good one. I don't know why Dashboard Confessional took up such a large part of the book (am I forgetting Chris Carrabra IS emo?) I also loved the mention of zines!
Shaun Swick
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
The back half almost stumbles into deep resonance as it first chronicles the rise of Dashboard Confessional and then dives into the early days of the social Internet via and Livejournal. In its real-time documentation are the seeds of the all-encompassing, fast-moving, world-shifting Internet we know today.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. It was ok. Didn't finish it all because it was for a uni assignment. There is a line about the way men talk about women through their lyrics that really irked me. "Thankfully, violent fantasies such as these are prevalent but not dominant" ... Yikes
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely not a bitter pill.
Jan 19, 2013 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
Nov 09, 2010 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
May 08, 2013 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
David Brock
Nov 25, 2013 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 16, 2013 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
Jess Tebbets
Jul 01, 2008 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
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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. ...more

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