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

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
A large subculture of mostly middle to high class(the poor can not afford the prices sadly) white teenagers that started in England,after the introduction to punk, when people started wearing black converse, thick rimmed glasses,long sweeping hair,and wrote songs with mostly melancholy lyrics.Today it basically describes anyone that does a broad mixture of these following things: wearing heavy amounts of eyeliner whether being girl or boy, wearing black nail polish, wearing black tight clothes that are usually bought either at hot topic, listening to what is labeled as emo music, being depressed, wearing converse, cutting themselves as a form of release, having hair that covers one eye, having a sad and anti social(accept in like groups of course) personlity, being obsessed with death and the thought of death, etc. Both genders are labeled as and are usually bi but i believe that this stage in many teenagers lives, including my own, where they become experimental and let their emotions take hold of them. Most of the time this is just that, a stage, and will probably pass before high school graduation. Most teens start this fad because they are socially outcast so they say and do things they wouldnt normally to try and fit in,much like any gang member. Sometimes these actions result from past traumas or any other countlessly possible things. Most emos are posers in the first place though,they do it to fit in,not because they actually like any of it or they just thought it was cool. Because of this and the fact that most of them are all too aware that they themselves are posers, the term has become an insult and can lead to confrontation in the group. If any other kids read this,than just remember that not all emos are posers in their little clicks where each of them is 'misunderstood'. Look for one that is willing to talk to all walks of life, you never know, you may actually like them.
Emoboy1: dude, your eyeliners smearing,let me fix it.
Emoboy2: thanks.......i love you *kiss*

Emogirl1: hey guys,look at all the cuts i made last night *shows the trophies for all to see*
Emogirl2: oh that is so bad ass,look at mine.

by EmoAndLovinIt February 06, 2009

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
A softer genre of rock music that is marked by its excessively melancholy trappings. This extends to the heavily overwrought song lyrics, the persistence of the "Emo Kids" to appear brooding, mysterious and tortured, and the bands' very names.

"Emo Kids" are, to put it bluntly, constantly in the pursuit of the complete self-obliteration of any sort of perspective. Evident from the idolized paragons of emo culture(songs, that is) Emo kids dwell incessantly upon their emotions, usually of love, regret, heartbreak, and/or internal torment. To be frank, it seems that they simply cannot concentrate on anything other than themselves, while failing to realize that their dilemmas are not, in fact, very unique, and that everyone else in the world learns to deal with life...without forcing themselves to conform to some sickening subculture that only breeds self-imposed misery.

Which leads us into the next aspect of the emo lifestyle--the cult of emotional angst. Emo Kids are known to be cutters, which, sadly, has cheapened such a dangerous habit. Before, shall we say, the Emo Era, cutting was not flung around as "street cred," of sorts, it was (and still is, to those who truly suffer from it) a psychological problem that needed addressing. However, the emo culture has warped this harmful practice into something rather glamourous, a sort of rite of passage. This, along with many other rituals, are self-inflicted, for the most part--that is, Emo Kids brainswash themselves into believing they are deep, dark, and mysterious because they cut themselves/write, for the most part, amateurish poetry/take trite, black-and-white photographs to put on myspace/etc.

Emo Kids are nearly always teenagers, and though they do not like to admit, fill the stereotype of self-possessed adolescents to a tee. Frankly, Emo is a phase--a highly annoying one, but a phase nonetheless.
Emo is marked by an highly aesthetic element as well--tight pants, band T-shirts, argyle, and black-rimmed glasses are commonplace.
by Keely Bell March 31, 2006

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
emos are a group of people that are similar to goths, they wear alot of black, tight jeans and a tight uually black hooded zipped jumper. they listen to alot of pop punk and gothik music.the classic Emo fringe (which i have and love) covers alot of the face usually just to one side. converse one of the many types of foot where worn by emo's.
not all emos cut themselves, but alot do. i for one dont and i no all of my emo freinds dont. emo is short for Emotional, which does point out we are emotional people. yer we cry, what u gunna do about it. chavs usually hav fun shouting at emos stuf like "awww is little emo kid gunna go cry" this aint funni Emos leave them alone so why pick on us we didnt do anything to you.
emos :
emo= Emo-tional,
non emo "is the emo kid gunna go cry agen"
emo " why would you care"
by shel, Emo grl April 18, 2006

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
attention seeking whores.
Emo kid: Maybe if I dye my hair black, cut, write poetry, have sex with other emos and take a sick myspace pic of it, I will get the attention I crave.
by Jersey Kid January 26, 2008

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
In the late 1980's Goths & New Romantics would meet in nightclubs, have sex and produce babies. The resulting spawn of these two hideous fashion disasters would then grow up to become Emo's.

Combineing the worst possible aspects of it's parents emo's are lving proof that two wrongs not make a right.

Because of their love of Hitler-esque extreme side partings, sullen expressions and men wearing make-up crowds of emos generally resemble Neo-Nazis at a Motley Crue gig.

Emo is a shortened version of Emotional & used as a name becuase it is thought describe their sensitive, thoughful state of mind, although a moore accurate name would 'Twats'.
'Everyone hates emo's becuase they're sensitive & special people.'

'No. It's becuase you're a cunt'
by El B@stardo February 14, 2009

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
The emotional side of punk; the sad/dramatic side of punk rockers. People who wish to announce they are emo may cut hair so it covers (at least) one eye and wear eyeliner and layer their clothes note: this does NOT mean that all people who dress like this are "emo" Emos look at love and life through black-covered glasses and may occasionally smile if among other emos. Emos are known for hating "preps" group of people who hate black and pop their collars. Emo is also associated with cutting of wrists -- emos may do this and they may not, but if they do, they're just gay because that is something stupid to do.

BE WARNED OF EMO WANNABES -- people who cut their hair, wear the makeup, pretend to cut, and generally act like a-holes. They are not emo. They are WEMO - wannabe emo. Also be aware (but friendly) to the ELMOs - they dress emo but they are happy outgoing people and love to laugh and be normal with their friends -- they are ELMOs (they try to be Emo but come off more Tickle-me-Elmo)
**REAL EMOS**

Emo kid #1: So...yeah...that was sweet...
Emo kid #2: Yeah...it was really okay I guess...
Emo kid #1: I got a tatoo to express my feelings...
Emo kid #2: Wow...nice...

**WEMOS**

Wemo boy: OH MY GOD, LET ME GO CUT MY WRIST AND MAKE OUT WITH A GUY! AREN'T I SEXY WITH MY LONG BANGS?
Wemo girl: OH WOW, DID YOU SEE MY SNAKE BITE PIERCINGS? LATER I THINK I'LL DYE MY HAIR BLUE BECAUSE I'M AN INDIVIDUAL AND SARA DYED HER HAIR BLUE TOO!
Wemo boy: SHUT UP, I'M REFLECTING ON HOW FUCKED UP MY LIFE IS...

**ELMOS**

Elmo kid: OH MY GOD! I LOVE EGGS! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
by JENN.E.FURR. December 19, 2006

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt
An oversused clique.
the word "emo" is around because society made it.
today everything is "emo"...
we get called emo if we like the color black, or wear converse and skinny jeans. We get called emo if we arnt happy 24/7. we get called emo for having hair in front of our eyes. we get called emo for wearing eyeliner. the list can go on..
it is thrown around like no other lable.
most people are too ignorant to know that emo is just a genre of music.
we are all guilty of using the emo clique.
even those of us who bitch about it.
hippocrits..
by dinoxxlove February 23, 2008

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

Your favorite word on a white mug.

Create a mug

The Urban Dictionary Mug

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Buy the mug

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Buy the t-shirt

The Urban Dictionary T-Shirt

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Buy the t-shirt