"I love No Doubt - It was the first time I’d ever heard a woman in a rock band." The songs that changed my life, by Dying Wish's Emma Boster

Emma Boster
(Image credit: Press)

With their raucous brand of scything, Killswitch Engage-influenced noise, Dying Wish have loudly confirmed themselves as one of the most exciting young bands in modern metalcore, driven by their talismanic frontwoman, Emma Boster. We asked Emma to guide us through ten of the songs that changed her life. From a ska punk icon to some hardcore heroes and a truly game-changing rap superstar, her picks turned out to be as varied as they are excellent. Here's what she came up with.

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“I heard the band HAVE HEART, and it was a defining moment for me. The song Bostons inspired our song Fragments Of A Better Memory – especially the bridge and the hook into the end breakdown, and the ‘I despise the drinking father’ aspect [Bostons features the lyric, ‘just a broken old man broken by the whiskey’]. When I was a kid, that song resonated with me because of what I was going through [with my alcoholic stepfather].

“I love Rock Steady by NO DOUBT! I’ve listened to No Doubt since I was seven – my mom was a huge indie rock kid. When we drove to my grandparents’ house three hours away, Rock Steady was one of the CDs we would have on repeat. It was the first time I’d ever heard a woman in a rock band, and Gwen Stefani is such an icon.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE’s Rose Of Sharyn is kind of a memoir, and it was pretty unique for bands at that time to write the way they did about the topic of grief, Howard Jones singing his heart out the way he did. The first time I ever heard them, I was 13, and it was on Guitar Hero III, but I didn’t properly appreciate them until six or seven years ago.

“I had this roommate when I was 18 or 19; she disappeared completely, left half her belongings, and we never heard from her again. But she left TYPE O NEGATIVE’s October Rust on CD, and I kind of inherited it. I remember hearing the intro to Love You To Death, the piano lead into Peter Steele’s really sultry voice, and I had an out-of-body experience. It was one of the first times I realised metal can bend, and it can be whatever you want it to be.

100 DEMONS are one of Dying Wish’s biggest influences, and Dying In My Own Arms especially is really influential. I saw [former vocalist] Bruce LePage write on Twitter, ‘I’m not anyone special, just a junkie who wrote some songs you like.’ That’s so real. I’m no different to anyone else in the room, I firmly believe in that.

A Call For Blood is my favourite HATEBREED song. It’s about killing someone who caused a lot of bodily harm to a woman. Jamey [Jasta, vocals] has talked a lot about how he was brought up, it’s part of the puzzle you can put together, and I really like that. They have a formula, and this is a prime example of how that’s followed.

“I was struggling so much when I was younger, and it felt like SZA wrote songs specifically for me. Broken Clocks, specifically, has the line ‘nothin’ but love’, and that’s really challenged me. I grew up such an angry kid, and I feel like it had a lot to do with the downfall in areas of my life. Hearing how sad she was, how much she didn’t love herself, was pained by others... but at the end it’s nothing but love. That changed the way that I walk in life.

“It was hard to pick just one song by KENDRICK LAMAR, but the Good Kid, M.A.A.D City album changed my life. It’s the best concept record ever made, and he’s one of the best rappers alive. Money Trees especially does not miss any beats. I saw him in LA and it was just unreal.

“I love KACEY MUSGRAVES so much. I have a real thing for album closers, and Rainbow is such a happy and sad song together. She’s a massive queer icon; gay people don’t get a lot of representation in country music, and she’s at the forefront of changing that. I grew up listening to some country, and moving to Nashville helped me learn to love it so much.

ETHEL CAIN’s Thoroughfare tells an incredible story, and it’s one of the only songs on the album Preacher’s Daughter I can listen to without crying. I’m such a sucker for a coming- of-age story, and it’s about living in the moment more than anything, where she’s hitchhiking across the country and discovers that love is what she and this guy driving her had the whole time.”

Will Marshall

Will's been a metal obsessive ever since hearing Trivium’s Ascendancy way back in 2005, and it's been downhill ever since. Since joining the Metal Hammer team in 2021, he’s penned features with the likes of rising stars Lake Malice, Scowl and Drain, and symphonic legends Epica. He’s also had bylines in Stereoboard, covering everything from Avenged Sevenfold to Charli XCX.

With contributions from