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

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a really bad imitation of goth.most "emo" people are posers who only wear pink and black(boys too),and the others cry all the time,not knowing how to deal with their problems.
-Hey guys,look at these new pink skull-shaped earrings!!!Am I emo or what!(poser)
by foursouls1 April 23, 2009

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Emo is a common word used to describe a group of nice, friendly people adhering to these standards (typically):

-Long, usually straightened hair, flipped to one side of the face.

-Tight skinny jeans, usually black, grey, reds, or certain neon colors.

-Black horn rimmed glasses

-Band shirts, striped clothes, checkered patters, all black shirts, etc all can be common apparel for emo kids.

-Slip on Vans are a favorite for emo kids shoes. Typically any kind of skater shoe may be worn as well.

In conclusion, I myself have been called "emo" and im your typical emo kid. i have cut before and do wear skinny jeans etc. i feel just the same as any other emo kid. i get picked on, made fun of, and called names because of who i am. Deep down inside ALL emo people are really friendly people. You dont even need to look deep down inside. Haters just need to stop judging us for who we are. I love EVERY emo person on the face of the planet. We are all here for each other, us emo's. Emo ppl RULE!!
Emo kids are dark, sensitive, and scary looking people but beneath all that there is a person who has a heart and truly cares.
by XxX|emo:heartbreak|XxX December 08, 2009

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Most recently, a term used to dismiss the feelings and emotions of others as not being as real or as important as your own.
Sandy: Stacy, you've been crying all day. Stop being so fucking Emo!

Stacy: My father died yesterday.

Sandy: What-ever, you Emo loser. Now let's talk about ME!
by Amilie July 19, 2006

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Emo is a lifestyle that is stereo typed by many people who truley don't understand. Emo the stereotype is people that are depressed and who cut themselves. Those people are called self harmers.

Emo means emotional so as an example if you are emo you aren't sad you are realy sad(where the stereo type comes from which is a lot of the emo people so you see where the stereotype comes from), You aren't happy you are realy happy (Many people dont notice this as emo), you aren't angry you are realy angry,Etc.. Emo means you feel your emotions to an extreme.

Most emo's wear all black and listen to rock music(usualy screamo). True emo people have real problems they sometimes look like normal everyday people without the hair styles, makeup, and all the hate. The fakes are middle class-upper middle class kids who think they have real problems when in reality they dont. They take and dye their hair, start wearing black, and listen to screamo or metal, and "hate" their lives.

Emo people use music, the way they dress, and look to express themselves.
Emo people are milder than goth.
Emos are usualy the opposite of preps.
by Synisterblades November 14, 2009

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we are just a bunch of people who are less hardcore goths we ARE NOT ALL BLUDDY GAY for gods sake stop sayin we are just cos a few of us are (i'm an emo boy and will never be queer in my life but hey who cares if someonen is it is up to them) oh and we are not whimpy people who just hang are heads when we get insulted (mainly buy the biggest fake hardmen CHAVS) i have never walked away from a fight ever.
chav:awwww gonna go cry emos
Emos:no i'lll just cry for you when i bugger you up

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Kids who often feel rejected or unaccepted in what most people would call the "normal" groups. Most of the time clothed in darker colors such as gray and black. They make friends just like everyone else but tend to only feel really comfortable around others like themselves. Contrary to popular belief, Emo kids do not ALWAYS want to kill themselves. The cutting is actually an action from form of depression and many non-emo people do it also.
Jack: "I'm Emo."
Jane: "Me too."
Jack: "Wanna be friends?"
Jane: "Sure."
Jack: "Kool."
by Court4282 January 16, 2008

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A group of kids/teens ranging from 13-their twenties (depends). Most often seen in skinny jeans, band tees, graphic tees, logo tees, ect. According to popular websites and shows emo kids are depressed low lifes who cut themselves and want to die, when in reality we/they are usually happy people who are in a music obsession and want to be unique. Though to some they all look the same there are vast diffrences. One main similarity though, is the long bangs. However the bangs are still all diffrent ranging from coppy and angular to strait across and smooth. **SCENE AND EMO ARE TOTALLY DIFFRENT! U WILL MOST LIKELY BE SMACKED IF YOU CALL A SCENE KID EMO OR AN EMO KID SCENE** **Most emos dont swear but improvise**
"emo" convo:
Emo1: **jumps on emo2's back** RAWR!
Emo2: elloz!!
Emo1: hey hun, **shows feet** i gotzded new converses!
Emo2: amazing!
**people walk by calling the emos fags and tell them to go cut themselves**
Emo2: stupid clones...
Emo1: just cause we're diffrent and don't buy the stuff from Areopostale...

this continues and ya....
by RAWRsaysAsherz March 20, 2009

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