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
Not all depressed, most just misunderstood.

EMO BOYS ARE HOT! *licks lips*
by ILuffEmoBoys April 30, 2007
Emo is something that Green Day has got nothing to do with....
F U C K THOSE WHO WROTE THAT GREEN DAY IS EMO
examples:
4) People who listen to the following: Fall-Out-Boy, My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, Greenday
by Meagan Eden Rogers
me: F U C K it is Green Day, not Greenday
...... ..... ...... ....... ......
Just because you dress like Green Day, doesn't mean you're emo! You guys frustrate me so much! AH!!!
by xoxo_stained_your_wrist
me: F U C K Green Day don't wear any emo clothes, you dumbass!!!
........ .......... ........ ........... ........
Green Day is the worst Punk/Emo band ever
by COOJ
........ ........ ............ ................ .........
Some One that slits their wrists or any part of the body, listens to crappy emo music like Simple Plan, GreenDay and The Used.
by CAMBO
......... .............. ............. ............ ......
ME: why the f u c k do you think that Green Day is emo? Do they dress like emos? NO!!!!!

Do they have emo lyrics? Well if you think that "when masturbation's lost its fun, you're fu c kin g lazy" is emo, then their lyrics are soooo emo =)))

Or this one is a "great" example of emo lyrics, it's from the song called "burnout"
" I THREW MY EMOTIONS IN THE GRAVE - HELL WHO NEEDS THEM ANYWAY "
..... ............. ............. .............. .........
F U C K, GREEN DAY IS NOT EMO!!! THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT EMO SHIT!!!
correctly: Green Day is the greatest rock band in the world right now.
incorrectly: Green Day is great emo band.
by Amida July 13, 2006
Emos wear makeup and cry lots. They claim that they aren't scared to be themselves. If this was true they would admit they are useless would stop acting depressed. Maybe then they would get a little more respect. When they aren't getting their asses kicked, they get drunk and have sex with dead animals. Emo guys will do anything to make themselves look like a faggot. Some of these dipshits even claim to be straight. Emo's think people give a shit about some stupidass emotional trauma they suffer from. They have greasy hair and they usualy suck.
Spliffy - Hey Emo Kid, makeup is for homo's!
Emo Kid - Lots of straight people wear makeup
Spliffy - No they don't
Emo Kid - You're right, I suck and you're better than me.
by Spliffy Jay April 18, 2006
Emo is a type of music not a person so dont fucking catergorize yourself or someone else for fucks sake get it right... also if we must use it as a label all it is is to label a guy/girl who likes to kiss other guys/girls and cry themselves to sleep... anybody who wants to fight me on this can go and get screwed or lets just become emo then we can cry because of a song... lol you crack me up you bunch of fuck heads who dont realise that emo is a music genre not a person
music plays in the back ground
boy: whats that playing now?
another boy: emo i think
boy: i am so emo
another boy: shut up lets kiss
boy: oh yeah i am definately emo now
girl: fuckheads emo is a music genre not a person nor something you can label yourself with
by you are all screwed up November 27, 2005
Hot as hell guys. tend to have on eye liner skinnie jeans band tees and tight shirts with hella nice abbs(most the time) very fuckable and hot emo guys are the kind of guys id get into bed with no time at all
Girl"o my fucking gosh look at him he is soo emo" Girls friend."hes totaly checking you out!" emo guy"hey wonna go upstairs?" girl"uh ive never had sex before...but if your ok with that?" guy "yea your to hot to pass up" girl "ok"
girls friend"omg i cant bealive the first guy your haveing sex with is emo!" girl" i know!!" both girls "eeeeek!"
by Emolover! January 08, 2008
Someone who;
- Wears vast amounts of eye-liner
- Writes really shitty poetry about how bleak and upsetting the world is
- Cuts their wrists in the completely wrong direction when attempting suicide
- Listens to Hawthorne Heights
- Writes on LiveJournal or some other blog site about how depressed they are and how much they wished they could just die
- Wears girl pants
- Claims to be bisexual to be cool
- (Almost exclusively male) Takes pictures of themself making out with a member of the same sex and posts them online... I for one consider this to be the only good thing about emo culture
- Wears lots of stripes and skulls
- Doesn't realize just how badly they're ripping off Goth
Suzie- The word is a sad, sad place... I tried to end my life last night, but I failed yet again...

Meg- Um... that's not the direction to slit your wrists in if you're seriously trying to kill yourself. Are you sure it wasn't just a cry for help?

Suzie- are you mocking my pain?

Meg- ... You can be so fucking emo at times.
by Lala-dono June 22, 2007
Any Hot Guy With Long Hair That Covers One Of Their Eyes.
Or A Girl That Takes Menstrating Too Far...
Emo boys are hot! Emo girls are... okay.
by Cole Bondage June 09, 2007

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