Emo does not stand for "emotional" as many people think, nor is it a stereotype of whiny kids with stupid fringed hair.
EMO = EMOTIVE HARDCORE. IT'S A MUSICAL GENRE.
After Minor Threat broke up in late 1983, the vibrant DC hardcore-punk scene that exploded in 1981 seems to start to run out of steam and fresh ideas within the established DC hardcore sound. The wistful, posthumous Minor Threat 7" "Salad Days" comes out in 1984 and drives the final nail into the coffin of DC hardcore punk. Bands all over the country begin casting about for new things to do : DRI and Bad Brains start going cheeze-metal, New York bands start doing tough-guy mosh, 7Seconds goes jangly U2 alternative, etc. The prevailing change in D.C. is toward melodic rock with punk sensibilities.
1984 marks the release of Zen Arcade by Minneapolis band Hüsker Dü, documenting their new mature sound combining furious, intense vocal delivery and driving guitars with slowed-down rockish tempos and more-complex, melodic songwriting.
In spring 1984, a new band called Rites Of Spring forms from members of The Untouchables/Faith and Deadline. This band retains a punk speed and frenzy, but brings a totally new vocal approach to the mix. Singer Guy Picciotto keeps an out-of-breath punk style most of the time, at times delving into intensely personal lyrics dripping with emotion and sweat. His voice breaks down at climactic moments into a throaty, gravelly, passionate moan.
The summer of 1985 becomes known as "Revolution Summer" when a new wave of rock-tempo, melody based, sung-vocal bands forms out of the DC punk musician pool with diverse rock sounds - Three, Gray Matter, Soulside, Ignition, Marginal Man, Fire Party, Rain, Shudder to Think, etc. Few bands retain the fast hardcore punk-based sound with the new vocal approach, Dag Nasty being the notable exception.
Minor Threat's singer, Ian MacKaye's, sings for a band called Embrace (compare the band name to earlier DC bands Minor Threat, Void, and State Of Alert) whose lyrics are emotional and deeply self-questioning, but still clear and unambiguous. Musically, the group (formed mostly of ex-Faith members) writes midtempo, somewhat jangly music with a lot of pop guitar hooks. MacKaye's vocals retain his trademark bold enunciation, with only occasional sparks of emotive delivery.
These bands' sound eventually becomes known as the classic "D.C. sound." Some of it is derisively labeled "emo," as shorthand for "emotional." One account has this term first appearing in a Flipside interview with Ian MacKaye. Shortly thereafter DC bands aquire the tag "emo-core."
Slightly later (1986), some bands begin to focus on the "emo" element itself. The Hated in Annapolis (near D.C.) seem to be the first post-Rites of Spring to do this. Shortly thereafter, Moss Icon appears in in the same town. Moss Icon strips the "emo" element down to the core, and adds a great deal of intricate, arpeggiated guitar melody (by Tonie Joy, later of Born Against, Lava, Universal Order of Armageddon, etc.) with a strong focus on loud/soft dynamics. The vocals, too, break new ground by building up to actual top-of-the-lungs screaming at songs' climaxes.
Moss Icon, as a relatively well-known band that toured some, introduces the punk scene to music that has core emphasis on emotion instead of punk energy. As such, I consider them the starting point for the emo movement, not Rites of Spring as is more commonly asserted. Later emo bands draw heavily from the Moss Icon dynamics, guitar style, and vocal delivery.
Rites of Spring, Embrace, Gray Matter, Ignition, Dag Nasty, Monsula, Fugazi kind of, Fuel, Samiam, Jawbreaker, Hot Water Music, Elliot, Friction, Soulside, early Lifetime, Split Lip/Chamberlain, Kerosene 454
Post-emo indie rock the kind most people mistake to be true emocore:
Sunny Day Real Estate, Christie Front Drive, Promise Ring, Mineral, Boys Life, Sideshow, Get-Up Kids, Braid, Cap'n Jazz, then later Joan of Arc, Jets To Brazil, etc. Lots of Caulfield and Crank! Records bands, more lately a lot of stuff on Jade Tree for instance.
Genre of softcore punk music that integrates unenthusiastic melodramatic 17 year olds who dont smile, high pitched overwrought lyrics and inaudible guitar rifts with tight wool sweaters, tighter jeans, itchy scarfs (even in the summer), ripped chucks with favorite bands signature, black square rimmed glasses, and ebony greasy unwashed hair that is required to cover at least 3/5 ths of the face at an angle.
::sniff sniff:: "The Demise of the Siberian Traintracks of Our Rusty Forgotten Unblemished Love" sounds like it would make a great emo band name. ::cry::
An entire subculture of people (usually angsty teens) with a fake personality. The concept of Emo is actually a vicious cycle that never ends, to the utter failing of humanity, and it goes something like this:
1. Girls say they like "sensitive guys" (lie)
2. Guy finds out, so he listens to faggy emo music and dresses like a dork so chicks will see that he is sensitive and not afraid to express himself (lie). He dyes his hair black, wraps himself in a stupid looking scarf, develops an eating disorder, and rants about how "nobody understands".
3. Now an emo guy, he meets Emo chick and they start dating, talking about how their well-off suburban lifestyles are terrible and depressing (lie)
4. Emo guy is just too much of a pussy. His penis is too small, he's too depressed to bathe, and has more mood swings than emo chick, and he doesn't even have a menstrual cycle. Emo chick dumps him, saying "It's not you, it's me." (lie) as she drives off with Wayne, the school jock and captain of the football team.
5. Emo guy goes home and cries, proceeds to write a weak song and strum a single string on his acoustic guitar. Another emo chick sees how he is so in touch with his feelings, and the cycle continues.
This is the sad truth of the emo lifestyle/music, and now that I look at how pathetic it really is, maybe the emos DO have something to cry about!
When she sees how sensitive and emo I have become, she'll definately go out with me!
Like a Goth, only much less dark and much more Harry Potter.
My life sucks, I want to cry.
The Difference between Emo And Goth:
Emos Hate themselves
Goths hate Everyone
Emos Want to Kill themselves
Goths Want to kill Everyone
Punk music on estrogen. Often acoustic guitar with soft, high male vocals that dwell exessively on the singer's feelings, especially melancholy remembrances of past relationships/mistakes in life. A form of music that diverged from punk in the '80s, the name "emo" is derived from the emotive style of the lyrics and music. This genre has lately been marketed heavily by the music industry to teenagers with bands such as Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday, and has seen much commercial and mainstream success. The music has also spawned a subculture which conforms to certain conventions in dress such as tight sweatshirts, tight band T-shirts and horn-rim glasses. Adherents profess to exessively melancholy temperments. Males that adhere to the emo subculture are sometimes confused with metrosexuals; indeed the line between the two is somwhat blurred, though both groups claim to be intouch with their emotional side. The ephemeral and hackneyed nature of emo songwriting suggests that its audience will be restricted largely to teenagers. the genre suffers from a lack of credibility outside the aforementioned demographic group, much like current Nu Metal bands.
girlfriend: C'mon, lets have sex.
boyfriend: I'm too sad to have sex.
girlfriend: I'm sad too; lets have sex and cry.
boyfriend: I'm already crying.
A group of white, mostly middle-class well-off kids who find imperfections in there life and create a ridiculous, depressing melodrama around each one. They often take anti-depressants, even though the majority don't need them. They need to wake up and deal with life like everyone else instead of wallowing in their imaginary quagmire of torment.
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: omg my gf just left me
acidburnedsoul: that sux man
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: i blame myself only i'm such an ass *cries*
acidburnedsoul: dude come over to my house and we can cut ourselves together
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: okay *cries*
acidburnedsoul: omg dashboard confessional has a new cd, i preordered it already
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: dude they're my favorite band to self-mutilate to
acidburnedsoul: i prefer to cut myself while watching Napoleon Dynamite on my bigscreen
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: dude that movie is so deep. i cry every time i see it
acidburnedsoul: me too. i hate myself
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: yeah we're such tortured souls, nobody understands how hard life is for us
acidburnedsoul: yeah we got it tough dude. pass the tissues
"Emo" is not short for "Emotional." "Emo" does not mean Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional, despite what MTV has lead you to believe in the last few years. "Emo" is not sidebangs, tight pants, and male vocalists who sing like little girls about their failed relationships. "Emo" is not the use of diluted, meaningless metaphors and similes such as "My arms are like pinecones," and most definitely is not the rampant use of words such as "autumn," "heart," "knife," "bleeding," "leaves," and "razorblade."more...
I just thought I'd clear that up after all of these "definitions" in which I have encountered an unbelievable amount of people who try to pass off their blatantly false pretenses as fact, and are slowly infecting others with their high-horse, holier-than-thou bullshit. Because honestly, with your ridiculous definitions, Beethoven, George Gershwin, and Britney Spears are/was "emo bands."
Now, onto the real definition.
In the early 90s there was a movement in the hardcore genre that came to be known as "Emotive Hardcore," spearheaded by Rites Of Spring. Harder-core-than-thou kids, who swore by Dischord Records a la Minor Threat, actually coined the term "Emo" as something of a put-down for the kids who really liked Rites Of Spring, Indian Summer and this new wave of "Emotive" Hardcore bands. That's right, "Emo" was once not something kids called themselves. The field exploded outwards from there - Level-Plane Records has always been the most famous Emo label....