Okay, so there are two very different definitions for the label 'emo'.

First version (usually used by non-emos): Emos are attention seekers who live regular lives like every other teenager in Britain but cannot handle the strain as well as everyone else. They say that they are individuals, yet listen to ‘emo music’, hang out in ‘emo groups’ and buy ‘emo clothes’ with their pocket money. They hang out in dark rooms generally ignoring the happy things in life and talk about how depressed they are all the time. Most lie about cutting themselves in order for people to feel sorry for them without actually experiencing any pain at all. Others do it as an ‘initiation’ ceremony in order to become fully emo. ‘Cutting’ is a fad – what on earth does it help? You feel sad, so you cut yourself to make you feel… better? They don’t appreciate what they have, and do not realise how bad other peoples' lives are in comparison to their own. Emo is just an ever-increasingly popular ‘group’ which people want to be part of. It is a group for kids without an identity, looking for a bit of melodrama and ‘deeper levels of understanding’. To be honest, the kids who REALLY have a life not worth living aren’t even in the emo club – they just try to get through each day until it gets better.

Second version (usually used by TRUE emos – i.e. those who actually have a reason to be depressed): Kids who have had the misfortune to go through circumstances which are incredibly depressing. For example, parental divorce, death of a loved one, and loneliness. They listen to music which explains how they feel, enjoy hanging around with people who understand how they feel, and buy clothes that express to the world about how they feel. Only some kids cut themselves. Cutting can become addictive, and it distracts from the inner pain. It can be hard when youre labelled in the street because of what you wear, and can sometimes make depression worse. Being a ‘half-emo’ can also mean that you just like black and emo clothes and haircuts, and enjoy gigs and mosh pits. Some people that you like because theyre genuinely nice people, could be emo, and fun to hang around with.

Nearly every single teenager has wanted some form of attention or feeling of belonging at some time or other, and being emo could be the solution to some. Don’t hate people because of what they are labelled. Get to know them – they may be more like you than you think.
Person: 'Hey dude, look over there, some damn emos with their black hoodies and weird hair... jeez man theyre such attention seekers'
Friend: 'Err... you own a black hoodie, and all they've done is grown their hair long, man.'
Person:'Umm... oh be quiet, fool'

Cheerleader:'Oh my god, that girl is like, SOO weird - she is like, always DEPRESSED and shit!'
Friend:'Weren't you crying on the phone to me the other night because your boyfriend dumped you? You seemed pretty depressed then...'
Cheerleader:'Oh shuttup'
by abi_yeah April 14, 2007
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
There are too many stereotypical definitions for an emo on Urban Dictionary, so I'm going to try to clear this up for those who don't know what they're talking about. Emo stands for "emotionally challenged", yes, but that's not a synonym for "melodramatic, cutting, freaks who over dramatize everything", because not every single emo on the planet is like that. Usually, the over dramatic ones are the fake ones trying to get attention from everyone.

Emo people are usually those who have very difficult lives at home or in general, constantly facing problems that effect them emotionally, and drive them into a self panic. They usually think there's nothing really anyone can do for them, they feel very alone in the world. Its true, nobody knows just how much they go through in a day, with people criticizing, bashing, and labeling them alone. Most people are too dim or self absored to see through their thick skull and realize the pain these people go through everyday.

When people start shooting off their mouth about how emos are black dressing, cutting, eye-liner wearing, melodramatic, freaks, that's only because it's what society has labeled them as. And maybe, they do wear eyeliner or dress in all black, but does that give you the right to bash them? Does that make them any less of a person? All they need is for you to walk up to them and give them a compliment and maybe even become friends. Because, if you do that, you could really really realllly make that persons day. Emos are NOT a frkn subculture, so STOP saying that, they're humans like you and me.
Random Dumbass: "Hey, look at the freakish emo over there, bet he just finished cutting himself, the dumb shit!"

Random Guy: "DUDE! Wtf is your problem? He actually looks like a pretty nice guy. I think we all know who the REAL dumbass is..."

*random Guy #2 proceeds to go over and talk to Random Emo*
by DepressionHurts August 30, 2009
a kid who dresses a certain way (tighter clothing) and is usually happy and fun to be around. this is the real emo. the fake emo is the one who is the child of loaded parents and then cuts the hell out of themselves thinkin their life is so bad while listening to the pink spiders on their 30 gig Ipod and looking at the credit card their daddy just bought them.
FAKE: Im so emo. Let me grab my razor and my credit card and ill go buy myself an ipod.

REAL: *turns on the radio* hey its MCR!! *turns to friend and says* hey lets dance and have some fun, eh? *they proceed to dance and have ALOT of fun*
by teddy bear of doom June 09, 2007
A terribly misconstrued and misused word. In contemporary culture it is utilized as a broad term to describe a multitude of children and teenagers who straighten their hair, have their hair in their face, perhaps dye it black, and wear tight clothing. Unfortunately this is completely inaccurate. Actual "emo" music existed in the late 80's and was a subgenre of hardcore punk rock, after all, "emo" is a shortening of "Emotional hardcore punk rock". The people in early emo bands dressed like regular people, everyday guys/girls who just played music that they enjoyed. Sadly, since the formulation and ongoing existence of Hot Topic, the term emo has been incorrectly characterized for a little more than a decade. You have to wonder how the original bands feel about the slandering and mass misunderstanding and misuse of their originality with those of the unoriginal.
Just search Cap'n Jazz to listen to actual emo music.
by TheUbermensch February 10, 2013
The most overused word in the english language.
Person 1: You don't listen to pop? Ewwwww, you're so emo
Person 2: I know dude, c'mon, who DOESN'T want to listen to songs about sex, drugs, smoking, and being violent?
Me: You two need to be put behind bars.
by Lucio Soph August 18, 2010
The name for an Irish oil company based in the Republic of Ireland mostly dealing with distribution of oil to end user needs such as heating oil or industrial purposes throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. Operates a large chain of petrol (gasoline) stations as well.
Hey, my car is low on fuel, you mind if we stop at that Emo to fill up?
by petra oleum April 15, 2009
Most emos are fake, poseur losers. Often hang out with groups of other 'emos'. May or may not be homosexual. Wear skinny jeans and guyliner. Whine about life, write dark poems on LiveJournal, and cut themselves. It is scarce you will ever see a real emo. Youtube search 'The Emo Song', to learn more about stereotypical/poser emos.
I'm an emo kid, non-comforming as can be. You'd be non-conforming too if you looked just like me. I have dye in my hair and makeup on my face, I'm almost emo enough to start shaving my legs.


...Cause our dudes look like chicks, our chicks look like dykes, because emo. Is one step. Below transvestite!
by Aspirations January 10, 2009

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