16. The Promise Ring, Nothing Feels Good
The Promise Ring became an indie favorite with 1996′s 30 Degrees Everywhere, but Nothing Feels Good secured the band’s status as the most important entry in emo’s second wave. Songs like "Is This Thing On?", "Why Did We Ever Meet," and "Forget Me" showed the Ring’s punk roots, but wrapped them in big pop hooks with sweet sentiment. The Promise Ring didn’t create a new aesthetic on Nothing Feels Good—other bands were doing something similar—but the album was its apotheosis. Even though the group never lived up to the "next big thing" status Nothing Feels Good conferred, the record remains one of the era’s defining albums. As such, it fomented thousands of crappy-sounding copycats, a curse that lingers a decade later.