Growing up I never imagined that some of my favorite bands as a teenager would be making me laugh on Twitter in my late 20s. But much to my delight, here we are.
It may come as a surprise, but some of the most beloved emo, alternative, and pop punk bands that ruled the airwaves in the early to mid 2000s absolutely rock at making memes nowadays.
Over the years, bands like Dashboard Confessional, The All-American Rejects, Blink-182, The Killers, Simple Plan, and more started using their social media accounts to connect with fans in new ways. Rather than simply sharing their music or posting album release dates and tour info, they decided to get in on trending jokes and start creating memes to highlight their own music and lyrics.
Band Twitter is a glorious corner of the hellsite we know as Twitter.com that’s highly underrated. Band memes not only give fans a lighthearted way to celebrate the music they love, but in many cases, they also deliver a comforting dose of nostalgia.
Me in Me, again
2001 in 2020
Wandering this house
like I’ve never wanted out
and this is about as
social as I get now.
— Dashboard Confessional (@dashboardmusic) April 18, 2020
Choosing the right moment to meme
One of the best things about Band Twitter is that it’s never in your face. These bands clearly aren’t spending every free moment calculating meme strategies, nor are the members narcissistically trying to plug their music and prove how witty they are on a regular basis. They post memes naturally — whenever their music fits in with whatever joke is trending. It doesn’t feel forced.
A perfect example is that hand-washing meme that made the rounds on social media back in March. When the coronavirus first started to spark major concern in the United States, everyone attempted to be extra diligent when washing their hands. The CDC recommended that people scrub their hands clean to time themselves. But since “Happy Birthday” is annoying as hell, people began creating parody hand washing tutorials that featured much better song choices.
The All-American Rejects, Blink-182, and The Killers quickly got in on the trend and suggested “Move Along,” “All The Small Things,” and “Mr. Brightside” as perfect tracks for washing. The Killers even tweeted a video of Brandon Flowers singing in front of his bathroom sink.
Similarly, when the “LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Tinder” meme, aka the Dolly Parton Challenge, became popular in January, bands like Panic! At The Disco and Simple Plan eagerly hopped on board.
Bands don’t limit themselves to solely partaking in already popular trends, though. Sometimes they make their own fun.
When Weezer frontman, Rivers Cuomo, was sort of trending on Twitter, the band couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a laugh. And when Simple Plan joined TikTok, band members Pierre Bouvier, Chuck Comeau, Jeff Stinco, Sébastien Lefebvre, and David Desrosiers each took part in the viral “I’m Just A Kid” challenge to celebrate their song from the early 2000s. They even went the extra mile and purchased green screens so they could record the challenge as a group.
Wading into politics
While some bands actively refrain from publicly sharing political opinions with fans — as The Killers did up until a few years ago — memes have offered them a way to gently wade into political conversations.
In July 2019, Papa Roach memorably quote-tweeted President Trump‘s unhinged “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, TOTAL EXONERATION. DEMOCRAT WITH HUNT!” tweet. The band replied with lyrics from their hit song “Last Resort,” and Twitter users applauded the unexpected troll.
In October 2019, The All-American Rejects were also praised for a witty Trump-related tweet. In response to photo of Trump and members of his administration that was tweeted alongside the caption, “Name this band,” AAR replied, “Ahem… don’t even think about it.” Iconic.
Though some bands like Smash Mouth have shown they’re not afraid to ruffle fans’ feather by bluntly talking politics online, others, like Nickelback, clearly aren’t ready to engage in political conversations on Twitter — even ones that use memes.
Nickelback passed up the perfect opportunity to make Band Twitter proud in 2019, after they failed to respond to President Trump’s meme, which featured a clip from their music video for the song “Photograph.”
The first inductee in the Band Twitter Hall of Fame
There are many talented members of Band Twitter, but Dashboard Confessional unequivocally belongs in the Hall of Fame, which I just now made up.
As a longtime fan, I’ll admit I never dreamed that this band whose songs I’ve brooded to and daydreamed over for years would go on to consistently craft some of the most hilariously self-aware music memes on Twitter. But whoever runs their social account (I like to think it’s Chris Carrabba himself, with the help of his fellow band members) has a perfect sense of humor and knows exactly how to engage fans and make them laugh.
Dashboard has cleverly taken part in everything from the handshake meme (shown at the top of the article) to the “canceling plans” meme and more. And their efforts are always genuinely impressive.
canceling plans is ok. laying entwined here, undiscovered is ok. staying quiet and near is ok. getting some is ok. dying happy is ok. kissing me like you meant it is ok. do what you need to do to cope.
— Dashboard Confessional (@dashboardmusic) January 7, 2020
Why Band Twitter is so charming
No matter how corny the memes are, they’re made by bands specifically for fans, which is why they land so well. It’s nice to see a band you love make the effort to connect and engage with you, and it’s not every day you get the opportunity to see a goofy side of the people behind your favorite music.
Band memes that incorporate lyrics or make throwback references to music you loved when you were younger also make you reminisce about the days before Twitter. The memes have the power to take you back to that time in your life when you listened to these bands on CDs, posted emo lyrics as your away message on AIM, or shopped unsupervised at Hot Topic while your parents waited for you in the mall food court.
Sometimes, when present-day feels especially hectic, it’s nice to find comfort in nostalgia. And if that comfort happens to come from a band meme, then that rocks.