Emo is a term that is short for emotive hardcore. Most people these days think that emo is strictly short for emotional, but this is false. If emo just meant emotional, wouldn’t it encompass all musical genres, because all music has emotion in it? If you only pick one thing out of this article, be it that emo stands for emotive hardcore, not just emotional.

Many kids have the complete wrong sense of what emo is. Many earlier emo bands only released their songs on vinyl, and they were distributed minimally, so the origin of emo is lost among most people. This is my attempt at tracing it back to the start, in hopes to educate you. I’m sure there is going to be a lot of important bands and years missing, but hopefully it will give you a vague idea of how it all started out.

With that said, let’s move onto the history of emotive hardcore. Heres where the term emo came from: When Minor Threat broke up in 1983, the hardcore punk scene was getting pretty stale. In 1984, Husker Du released “Zen Arcade,” which somewhat set the blueprint for emo bands to follow. This album had the rough vocals, but it had more melody, and was a bit slower than their previous works. Many people give credit to this as the first emo album.

In the spring of 1984, a band called Rites of Spring was formed, containing members of previous hardcore bands The Untouchables/Faith and Deadline. This band kept the speed and stylings of hardcore punk rock, but the vocals were a lot more emotional, and at times even broke into a throaty moan. The lyrics also strayed from politics, and took a more emotional/profound look at life. Rites of Spring gets a lot of credit for being the first emotive hardcore band. Ian Mckaye, formerly of Minor Threat, got into a band called Embrace. Definitely different than Minor Threat, Embrace took a more emotional side to the lyrics as well, and were a lot more melodic. These bands, and much of the other bands on Dischord Records are now labeled as “The Classic DC Sound.” This was the first wave of emo bands.These bands focused more on emotion, than punk rock energy. Legend has it that while Rites of Spring, or Embrace, or Moss Icon were playing a show, someone from the crowd shouted “You’re emo!” and that’s how the term got started. The show where it happened, and which bands were playing always differ with whoever you talk to, so I have no idea how true it is. Don’t take my word on it.

From there, more and more emo bands started forming around North America. Moss Icon, which formed in 1986, started the loud/soft alternating twinkly guitar parts, and crashing distortion side of emo. Indian Summer and Native Nod, who were around 1995-96 are good examples of this, and focused more on the emotional part of the music, rather than the hardcore part, but were still hardcore. Emo was now a bit broader.
Bands like Heroin(1992), Angel Hair(1997?), and Antioch Arrow(1995?) on Gravity Records focused more on the hardcore part of the genre, but were still very emo. The music is pretty chaotic, with just enough melody to pullthings through, and the vocals are usually hoarsely screamed.

1997 marks the release of Saetias fist 7” record, and the debut of level-plane records. I highly recommend that you pink Saetias “A retrospective” cd. At any rate, Level-plane records is probably the most famous emo label out there, and is still going strong today. It has released many important and influential albums, and is a huge part of todays emo scene.

A lot of bands are getting called emo by the mainstream, when in fact they are not. The term emo has leaked into the mainstream, and a lot of emo kids see this as the end of the emo scene, somewhat like what happened with punk rock, and bands like simple plan. I used that example because mainstream bands i.e. Simple Plan get called punk, when really, they’re not punk at all.

Emo is completely distorted from it’s original meaning, and the media is calling many bands that have no relevance to emo whatsoever, emo. Take Dashboard Confessional for example. Chris Carraba just plays acoustic ballads. There is nothing hardcore about it. The music may be very “emotional” and heartfelt, but even so, it is not emo. The same goes for indie bands like Death Cab For Cutie, and Bright Eyes. Conor Oberst is a brilliant songwriter, and I love his work, but again, there is nothing hardcore about his music. Another common misconception about emo, is that bands like Taking Back Sunday, and My Chemical Romance are emo. To me, these bands are strictly pop punk, although their lyrics may seem very emotional at times, but emo doesn’t stand for emotional, now does it?

Another false interpretation of emo is the term “screamo.” I’m sure you’ve all heard this rant before, but I figured that I’d include it anyways. The media has used the term for bands like Thursday, and The Used. Because people call Dashboard Confessional emo, they interpret emo as “whiny watered down music for depressed kids who cut themselves.” With that as their idea of emo, it’s no wonder that people call The Used, or any other “whiny emotional band” that screams here and there “screamo.”

With emo standing for emotive hardcore, the way I see it, screamo would stand for:Emotive hardcore + screaming, right? Wrong. Emotive hardcore contains screamed and/or whispered vocals in it already. Screamo = Emo. Just leave it at that. Even so, bands like The Used that are being labeled as “screamo” by the media aren’t emotive hardcore, so the term “screamo” is completely misused. The term “screamo” can be used for a band like orchid, although emo works just as well, but not for something like The Used.

Screamo is made up by the media to sell bands like The Used, Poison The Well, and such, to people who don’t know any better. As I said before, with people calling Dashboard Confessional emo, it’s no wonder that they call any band that screams “screamo.” Alas, this is false.

In summary, Emo stands for emotive hardcore, not emotional. Emotional lyrics do not make a band emo. Dashboard confessional, Bright Eyes, My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, From Autumn To Ashes, and Atreyu are NOT emo. Screamo does not exist.
Some real emo bands are:
Rites of Spring
Indian Summer
Native Nod
Heroin
Antioch Arrow
Saetia
Orchid
Hot Cross
Transistor Transistor
City of Caterpillar
Wolfsheim
A Textbook Tragedy
Takaru
Louise Cyphre
Boa Narrow
The Mock Heroic
What Price Wonderland
Utarid
Danse Macabre
Zann
Am I Dead Yet
Dasein
Cease Upon the Capitol
June Paik
A Fine Boat That Coffin
SL-27
La Quiete
Shikari
Daitro
Yossarian Is Drowning
Raein

by Tash (by:Evan) January 08, 2006
See flagrant homosexual.
Those emo kids and that emo music are pissing me off.
by CBUS May 25, 2008
a person who wants to die and is totally emotionlly unstable
it can also be a version of crap punk rock or metal and sounds cool but the lyrics normally contain words that are made up.
A Goth is like a wannaby emo but wont kill them selfs
by EMO MAGGOT October 19, 2007
emo is just a cruel label. im considered to be an emo but my mates (yes, emos can have friends) dont care. they accept me for who i am not what other people call me. one of my friends is blonde but we're awesome mates. anyways its better than being a stuck up robot that cant trust their so-called friends. and you can listen to screamo without people thinking your weird. its actually quite relaxing.
barbie- gosh your so emo
me- well at least im not a complete freak
barbie- matter of opinion. go slit your wrists
me- *turning up slipknot song* huh cant hear ya
by xo-escape the fate-ox October 13, 2007
People that think jumping off a cliff is a hobby.
Question: Would you rather kill yourself or be an emo? If you said emo, then you'll want to kill yourself. If you said kill yourself, then you already ARE one.
by Cydney September 08, 2007
OK Now every Chav,Townie etc thinks emo is a person who cries all the time then cuts themselves and lives in self pity well sorry to tell you 89% of the teenage population(this is just a rough estimate it is probably higher) you are wrong!Emo's do not cut themselves a few do but then again so do chavs and goths and skaters and grebs and townies now just because emo's listen to heavier music than r & b(puke) or rap(even worse) etc it doesn't mean they cut themselves and wallow in self pity no the thing most people have failed to realize is that emo is just a music genre and fashion style.

The emo bands that are still going include: Funeral for a friend, Clash of the sirens and the haunts (there are a lot more) also i recommed going to see all of those bands they are all awesome I saw them in May.

So I leave you with this emo is a subculture of the more widely known goth it is only a fashion statement and genre of music.
chav: Go cut yourself you goddamn Emo go slit your wrists
*emo is thinking* All these chavs are telling me to slit my wrists I would say something but theres too many
by emo_hunter_of_chavs June 11, 2007
its over. way over. but something else is bound to come a long to fill that gap
emo dude. *sighs* im sooooooo emo
normal person. dude its over
by little miss sunshine.... May 18, 2007

Emo is often confused with Emotional Sensitivity, and is more often linked to boys then girls, because of the so very 'unmanly' manner in which an emo boy acts.
Male emotional senstivity is a guy who does not feel the urge to be a macho pea-brained asshole whos only emotion is arrogance and violent anger. A sensitive male realizes that guys can cry, and say the word 'beautiful'. They can also like flowers and admit that there are other guys out there that are hot, and do lots of other 'gay' things while completely content with their heterosexuality.
(an interesting thing about this is that it is quite ok for girls to sit on each other's lap and hug and go to the washroom together etc etc and not be considered homosexual, but if a guy strikes up a random conversation on the bus with another guy, he's a faggot.)

This being said, an EMO (short for emotional) is someone (guy or girl) who has taken the dark, evil, brooding, shadowy and mysterious genre that goes by the name of goth, and mutilated it into a subculture of whiney sniveling teenagers. An emo is someone who dresses very similar to a goth, wearing makeup and black clothes, but is easily defined often by the lopsided swooping haircut that causes them to be half blind all the time.
A goth makes you uncomfortable standing next to them on a long bus ride, and if done right are dark and creepy and cool looking. Take the band Type O Negative, for example.

View Pic: (urbandic seems to add random spaces so check before pasting into browser and remove any you see)
www.geneticdisorder.net/Rock%20On %20Web%20Photos/typeonegative.jpg

Emos most of the time have a look of eternal sorrow pasted on their face, and spend their time whining because life is so tragically devestating and heartwrenching. They cry and snivel and cut themselves to gain attention, as opposed to the noble masochistic origin of the hobby. When you see an emo you will want to puke because of how synthetically pretty and childish they look, and then drop kick them.

Emos have ruined the very normal practice that is talking about emotionally hard times to someone close.

"How are you today?"
'Well, to be honest, I feel really lonely. I sit at home more than I'd like and don't really have
(m)any friends. *shrugs apathetically*'
"zOMG... Don't be so emo..."
'...You asked how I was. I am telling you honestly how I am feeling.'
"EMO. Cry me a river... *emo tear*"

This video will familiarize you instantly to what an emo is, if you are still confused in any way: (again, remove any spaces)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=JMvMzQ4Vu-8
I'm gonna kick the shit out of those whiney emo faggots.
by BioMenace May 12, 2007

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