wtf is emo?


29. Sep. 2006, 7:42

"" (or ) is short for "." Despite what the tags, or the misinformed scenester will lead you to believe, emo originally started as a sub-genre of music, tagged sometime in the mid-80's to describe a particular style of bands wanting to escape the traditional standard of (Minor Threat era) and the violent scene at the time, giving way to a new wave of experimentation that would influence many bands to come. The term emo was derived from the fact that, on occasion, members of a band would become spontaneously and strongly emotional during performances. This term wasn't taken too lightly by some bands at the time, however.

Rites of Spring are thought to be the first band labelled with this term, with their revolutionary End on End album. Hüsker Dü's 1984 album Zen Arcade is often cited as a major influence for the new sound. While many bands of this genre came to play seemingly different music altogether, their influences are always rooted to original emo - the Washington, style, and regional scenes that spawned from it []. Though describing the sound can't replace listening to the bands yourself, notable characteristics of emo music are: "loud-to-soft" (sometimes chaotic) dynamics, twinkly melodic breaks, frantic/abrasive shouting or screaming, angry/abstract/introspective lyrics, low-end production, and exceptionally energetic live shows.

The "" punk ethic refers to the idea of 'doing it yourself.' Essentially, making and promoting music without corporate backing, and without any great level of "selling out". This means that you're not going to hear the first wave style emo on the tv or radio. it was primarily released on vinyl, and sold in independent record stories.

"" was a term coined later to describe the transition of hardcore emo bands in the 1990's who started playing a louder, faster, more chaotic style, including constant screaming with fast, harmonized guitars. Orchid is sometimes noted for being the pinnacle of the sound.

"Emo" and "screamo" are essentially meant to describe the same style of music. While screamo is more reserved for modern bands, emo is often used in reference to original emo, or the entire genre at a whole. "Emo Violence," sometimes misinterpreted as synonymous with "screamo," was a joke term created by In/Humanity in an attempt to describe themselves and a sound formed during the emo-screamo transition (a play on the words emo & ). While similar to both chaotic emo and , emo violence is known to sound , with vocals pushed past the point of normal sound, with occasional spoken words or singing. Recently, due to the widespread misuse of the term by the media and other bodies, some followers of the genre refer to it in an almost lighthearted code-word way, as "" as well as the lesser used "kittencore" and "kitten violence".

Most emo bands broke up by the 90's, examples are:

Rites of Spring
Moss Icon
Gray Matter
Indian Summer
One Last Wish
Maximillian Colby
Sleepytime Trio
Amber Inn
Clikatat Ikatowi
Still Life
Policy of Three
1.6 Band
Native Nod
Portaits Of Past
Swing Kids

Modern screamo is constantly in revival, with examples including:

City of Caterpillar
Funeral Diner
Circle Takes the Square
La quiete
Reversal of Man
Usurp Synapse
The Spirit of Versailles
You and I
Jeromes Dream
Hassan I Sabbah
Welcome the Plague Year
Yaphet Kotto
Neil Perry
Stop It!!
Daniel Striped Tiger
Bravo Fucking Bravo
Wow, Owls!

After the first wave of original emo bands had nearly disappeared, emo's influence could be found amongst a slew of new indie bands (, Records), who were known to mix Fugazi (a highly influential band who'd come to feature Minor Threat/Embrace member Ian MacKaye and Rites of Spring member Guy Picciotto) along with elements. This is sometimes referred to as a "second wave" or "post-emo indie rock."

Examples of these / bands include:
Sunny Day Real Estate, Christie Front Drive, The Promise Ring, Mineral, Boys Life, Sideshow, The Get-Up Kids, Braid, Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Jets to Brazil, Texas Is the Reason, Death Cab for Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, At the Drive-In, Saves the Day, and Weezer.

Around and after 2000, the term "emo" came to be popularized as slang for a completely different niche of culture. Showcased was a new scene of goth-like "emo fashion," a culture of self-mutilation, and music that would otherwised be called standard , , or dumbed-down . Sometimes by those "in-the-know," none of these new bands beared resemblance to real emo/screamo bands, but because they sometimes drew influence from second wave bands, many will refer to this as a third wave of emo.

These third wavers include (popcore, emobop, mall emo, fake screamo,):
AFI, Alexisonfire, A Static Lullaby, Alkaline Trio, All-American Rejects, The Ataris, Brand New, Bright Eyes, Coheed and Cambria, The Early November, Emery, Fall Out Boy, Finch, From Autumn To Ashes, From First to Last, Funeral for a Friend, Hawthorne Heights, Matchbook Romance, My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco, Saosin, Senses Fail, Silverstein, Something Corporate, The Starting Line, Story of the Year, Taking Back Sunday, The Used, Thrice, or Yellowcard.

*Emo bands have been referred to as such since the mid-80's. "Screamo" is a term first used widely in publications such as Heartattack and Maximum Rock'n'Roll to describe bands from the late 90's such as Orchid, Reversal of Man, Jeromes Dream, etc. that were playing what could be called "chaotic emo/hardcore." Because the term "screamo" is a much better catchphrase for larger publications, it was easily adopted and widely misused by other publications such as Alternative Press, SPIN, etc. to describe any pretentious pop-punk band that happened to add a screaming element to their music. Despite all this, in 1998 Teen People declared "emo" the newest "hip" style of music. After 2000, many new groups incorporating screams and sappy songwriting appeared on the mainstream for a so-called "third-wave of emo." NME Magazine is sometimes regarded as coining "screamo" as the hot new sound for 2003, and to identify to such bands as The Blood Brothers, The Used, Poison the Well, Thrice, Finch and Glassjaw.

For Want Of
You And Me
Forty Three Seconds
Implications of a Sinkhole Per
Venus and Bacchus
Aesthetic Dialectic
I'm A New York Detective...
Fucking Hero
Chacun de Tes Pas
In Love With an Apparition
Same Shade as Concrete

react with protest
robotic empire
ape must not kill ape
electric human project

Feel free to link this article elsewhere, but don't just copy and paste.


  • IamFlood

    Thanks for clearing a few things up.

    29. Sep. 2006, 8:22
  • budgrl820

    I had no idea people actually classified Alkaline Trio as emo. They are actually quite far from it. Also, I've said it once and I'll say it again, bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and some of the other bands you mentioned in that section are essentially pop punk. Hopefully this entry will clear up a lot of things for people who've never been presented with this information.

    29. Sep. 2006, 11:40
  • Joeyyispro

    I fucking love you. This is what people need to read. Someone send this to MTV ASAP. ASAPPPPP plz. and personally deliver this to all fat scenester 12 year old girls too plz kthx ily

    29. Sep. 2006, 17:56
  • Alberick

    Awesome journal. Really thanks for that!

    29. Sep. 2006, 19:16
  • JTNV122

    i honestly didn't know a lot of that stuff. it's pretty cool though.

    29. Sep. 2006, 19:30
  • C26000

    good journal, I have 2 things to say: should we call the music of A Static lullaby, emery and Yesterday's Rising, if emocore and screamo is incorrect? 2.I don't know if you agree with me , but I can hear some indie emo (or how you call it post-emo indie rock)influences in taking back sunday ,they are not plain pop-punk, how should we call their music then?

    30. Sep. 2006, 2:33
  • xxfalsehalos

    Popcore? haha... None of those bands draw much influence or use elements from original emo. ASL, Emery, YR = post-hardcore/alternative Taking Back Sunday = pop-rock/alternative (they certainly aren't indie)

    30. Sep. 2006, 2:59
  • corganzero

    woohoo you rule. panic! at the disco, taking back sunday, my chemical romance, fall out boy, etc = pop-punk, boy band, whatever you want to call it, shite.

    30. Sep. 2006, 3:33
  • C26000

    @xxfalsehalos alternative? please don't use that.. taking back sunday = pop-rock? thanks for trying but I don't like it, there are a lot of pop-rock bands that don't sound like taking back sunday, I'm going to call their music emopop, just to ease the process of categorization of my music ASL, Emery, YR = post-hardcore mmmm maybe but in wikipedia says that post hardcore started in 80's and it's the father of emo and math-rock are you agree with that?, I think that is even a broader term than emo or emocore.

    30. Sep. 2006, 5:29
  • xxfalsehalos

    Firstly, alternative is a perfectly acceptable term used to describe a broad style of music. Post-hardcore is often used in a broad sense as well, usually described as music influenced by, but going outside the realm of traditional hardcore. Math rock is somewhat related and intertwined with earlier bands that contributed to the sound because of the constant use of complicated guitar riffs and such. If you use it in original diy definition, then those bands wouldn't fit it in the same sense, which is why I've tried to use a couple descriptors. The fact that they use kind of a poppy offshoot of hardcore with screams and breakdowns give them some credit to the name. You should be aware that emo is post-hardcore in itself. As for Taking Back Sunday, emopop sort of suggests that they're a pop band with emo influences. However, the influence is so indirect and secondary. They don't even use true emo elements, so once again you're bastardizing the word. Also, just because pop-rock doesn't fit your list of bands doesn't exclude other bands from the term - it's not even a definite genre. Pop rock is an extremely broad term used to describe music with pop and rock elements. If you read everything I wrote, you'd understand that emo isn't so broad.

    30. Sep. 2006, 6:14
  • C26000

    thanks for the post hardcore explanation, I liked it a lot ,but In my mind I still can not separate them (ASL,Emery,YR) from the emocore term , maybe in the future :) and about TBS, I use emopop for them, because TBS is what most people consider emo and I don't want to go so far away from it, even if I know that is probably not correct. thanks anyway I wont fill your journal more with my problems about how to sort my music collection with practical musical genres.

    30. Sep. 2006, 7:00
  • xxfalsehalos

    Again, calling a band emocore is no different from calling them emo. If you want to get technical, emocore was used to describe the original transition from hardcore punk to a more guitar-oriented, midtempo rock-based sound with emotional punk vocals. Rites of Spring, Embrace, and Hot Water Music were usually candidates for the term.

    30. Sep. 2006, 7:09
  • emo_bastard

    good effort, bonus points for linking collective-zine ;)

    30. Sep. 2006, 9:39
  • pinkalba

    Nice reading.

    30. Sep. 2006, 11:48
  • flying-homer

    nice text, but i shit on genres... i tag the music how i want, no matter if its a real genre or not...

    30. Sep. 2006, 16:45
  • C26000

    can you borrow me the term 'emocore' , I can't go around saying that I like 'post hardcore/alternative', it's so long! :p did you see this journal, it looks like your journal is the answer to all her questions and it was made only two days before yours, I have added a link to here in the comments :)

    30. Sep. 2006, 17:44
  • cover_up

    Unfortunately these types of journals don’t get through a lot of people. The saddest part is that in the future real emo/screamo will be associated with a bunch of hipster just like most music genres.

    30. Sep. 2006, 18:03
  • xxfalsehalos

    @C26000 You can use emocore all you want, but just know that you are misusing the word completely. What's wrong with saying that you're into modern post-hardcore bands? Besides, I can tell by a glance at your page that you listen to no emo whatsoever.

    30. Sep. 2006, 19:53
  • C26000

    I can't call them Modern Post-Hardcore because they wont be Modern in 10 years and I do listen to some real emo/screamo (Saetia, Envy, Rites of spring) and a lot of indie emo. you can see it in my Top500 and in my recent tracks :)

    30. Sep. 2006, 20:57
  • xxfalsehalos

    I guess my point is just that you're at least somewhat correct saying post-hardcore, rather than emocore which is just false.

    30. Sep. 2006, 21:17
  • heavyk

    I really enjoyed reading this, far too many people go around emo-hating without even know what it is, and this explains it perfectly.

    1. Okt. 2006, 16:16
  • KevinHoller

    there is more than enough of this same article.

    2. Okt. 2006, 1:32
  • xxfalsehalos

    Thanks for your input, but since this is compiled and written by myself then I don't see why you have to make useless posts to improve your 'net status.

    2. Okt. 2006, 2:08
  • KevinHoller

    because its annoying and we all get the picture.

    2. Okt. 2006, 2:50
  • xxfalsehalos

    Dude, you're 15-years-old. Just because you've been listening to the skram for what - a couple years (maybe), it doesn't say anything other than you needing to get over yourself. I think a quick look here proves that you are wrong, and that the majority [i]don't[/i] get the picture.

    2. Okt. 2006, 2:57
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