Emo (an abbreviation of "emotional") is a term now broadly used to describe almost any form of guitar-driven alternative rock that expresses emotions beyond traditional rock's limited emotional palette of alienation and rage. It is also used to describe fans of this genre, most commonly teenagers. (e.g., emo kid). The actual term "emo" originated in the mid-1980s D.C. scene, with the band Rites of Spring. The term addressed both the way the band connected with its audience, as well as its tendency to deal more with topics of personal and relationship politics than with the standard themes of rock music.
The roots of the emo style can be traced to two seminal bands of the post-punk era. In 1983, Mission of Burma's album VS did much to expand rock beyond its original constraints while still retaining its raw emotional punch. There are still emo bands around today, but most of them take on a full-on screaming approach (hence the name Screamo) like Circle Takes The Square and Saetia. In 1984, Hüsker Dü's album Zen Arcade established what is widely considered to be the definitive blueprint for emo: simple, raw guitar-oriented music with intense vocals and deeply introspective songwriting.
As the style caught on, bands such as Moss Icon, Policy of Three, Navio Forge and Indian Summer evolved the form into what became known as simply "emo", a style which intensified the dramatic aspects of vocal performances in order to achieve a cathartic breakthrough with the audience. Done well, the result was powerful emotional release that often left emo bands and their audiences crying or screaming at the end of performances. While effective, such open displays of emotion made many traditional rock fans uncomfortable, and caused much friction between the two camps.
With the mass-market acceptance of alternative music in the early 1990s, a new derivative style variously called "chaotic emo", "screamo", and "Emo Violence" emerged featuring a blend of the more aggressive parts of bands like Rites of Spring, mixed chaotic rock music and with abrasive, emotional screaming vocals. The record label Gravity from San Diego, California was a major influence in releasing many defining records of the style in the early 1990s. Significant emo bands include Heroin, Angel Hair, Antioch Arrow, Swing Kids, and Mohinder. Many of these emo bands, such as Antioch Arrow, were significant to a blossoming scene on the west coast of the United States. After the decline of the significant bands in this movement, the focus on emo has shifted to the east coast instead. Focus on Screamo has shifted to Europe.
Later in the 90s, bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Elliott, Christie Front Drive, Get Up Kids, Cap'n Jazz, The Promise Ring and Mineral explored a more moderately paced form of emo that mixed the early emo sound of Rites of Spring with the post-hardcore innovation of Fugazi and Quicksand. This style is sometimes referred to as "midwestern emo", due to many of the bands coming from midwestern American cities like Chicago or Kansas City.
Today, the term "emo" is increasingly ambiguous. With the success of such power pop bands as The Get Up Kids, Jimmy Eat World and The Promise Ring, the music industry has eagerly appropriated the term "emo" as a marketing tool. Consequently, the emo label is now wrongly applied to a wide assortment of many diverse guitar-pop bands, such as Thursday, Senses Fail, Hawthorne Heights, the New Amsterdams, and more recently to quieter, acoustic-driven bands such as Dashboard Confessional. Bands such as Bright Eyes are often mistaken for emo but are not.
Recently, as emo has edged its way into the public consciousness, non-fans of the genre (and even some ironic fans) have taken to using the term as a condescending insult, representing the stereotype of the angst-filled and overly-dramatic teenager. Examples include "cheer up, emo kid" or "I hate emo-fags".
"Emo fashion" seems to be directly derived from pre-existing rock fashion and retains staples from it, including the tendency for dyed, flat matte black hair and multiple piercings; in particular, labrets and ear "plugs" are prominent. Rolled-up (and often times form-fitting) jeans and t-shirts displaying sarcastic slogans or images of old-time cartoons are popular as well. Also band t-shirts, buttons for bands, and converse all-stars tend to be worn. More recently, many aspects of emo fashion have become mainstream and are regularly sold at stores like Hot Topic. Emo fashion, according to its proponents, is deeply rooted in a "being proud of who you are", anti-consumer subculture. Critics of the fashion point out that it has become so mainstream that it has become shallow and antithetical to this notion. To this extent, various websites and magazines have taken to poking fun at "emo kids" and stereotypical emo fashion, some offering guides to "making yourself emo".
emo: The Hated, Native Nod, Indian Summer, Sleepytime Trio, Evergreen, Embassy, Moss Icon
emocore: Rites of Spring, Gray Matter, early Lifetime, Samiam, Hot Water Music, Ignition, Jawbreaker, Kerosene 454
post-emo indie: Sunny Day Real Estate, Promise Ring, Mineral, Getup Kids, Jets To Brazil, Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Braid
nu-emo: The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Hawthorne Heights, My Chemical Romance, Thursday, Finch, Thrice, Senses Fail, Machbook Romance
Genre of softcore punk music that integrates unenthusiastic melodramatic 17 year olds who dont smile, high pitched overwrought lyrics and inaudible guitar rifts with tight wool sweaters, tighter jeans, itchy scarfs (even in the summer), ripped chucks with favorite bands signature, black square rimmed glasses, and ebony greasy unwashed hair that is required to cover at least 3/5 ths of the face at an angle.
::sniff sniff:: "The Demise of the Siberian Traintracks of Our Rusty Forgotten Unblemished Love" sounds like it would make a great emo band name. ::cry::
An entire subculture of people (usually angsty teens) with a fake personality. The concept of Emo is actually a vicious cycle that never ends, to the utter failing of humanity, and it goes something like this:
1. Girls say they like "sensitive guys" (lie)
2. Guy finds out, so he listens to faggy emo music and dresses like a dork so chicks will see that he is sensitive and not afraid to express himself (lie). He dyes his hair black, wraps himself in a stupid looking scarf, develops an eating disorder, and rants about how "nobody understands".
3. Now an emo guy, he meets Emo chick and they start dating, talking about how their well-off suburban lifestyles are terrible and depressing (lie)
4. Emo guy is just too much of a pussy. His penis is too small, he's too depressed to bathe, and has more mood swings than emo chick, and he doesn't even have a menstrual cycle. Emo chick dumps him, saying "It's not you, it's me." (lie) as she drives off with Wayne, the school jock and captain of the football team.
5. Emo guy goes home and cries, proceeds to write a weak song and strum a single string on his acoustic guitar. Another emo chick sees how he is so in touch with his feelings, and the cycle continues.
This is the sad truth of the emo lifestyle/music, and now that I look at how pathetic it really is, maybe the emos DO have something to cry about!
When she sees how sensitive and emo I have become, she'll definately go out with me!
Like a Goth, only much less dark and much more Harry Potter.
My life sucks, I want to cry.
The Difference between Emo And Goth:
Emos Hate themselves
Goths hate Everyone
Emos Want to Kill themselves
Goths Want to kill Everyone
Punk music on estrogen. Often acoustic guitar with soft, high male vocals that dwell exessively on the singer's feelings, especially melancholy remembrances of past relationships/mistakes in life. A form of music that diverged from punk in the '80s, the name "emo" is derived from the emotive style of the lyrics and music. This genre has lately been marketed heavily by the music industry to teenagers with bands such as Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday, and has seen much commercial and mainstream success. The music has also spawned a subculture which conforms to certain conventions in dress such as tight sweatshirts, tight band T-shirts and horn-rim glasses. Adherents profess to exessively melancholy temperments. Males that adhere to the emo subculture are sometimes confused with metrosexuals; indeed the line between the two is somwhat blurred, though both groups claim to be intouch with their emotional side. The ephemeral and hackneyed nature of emo songwriting suggests that its audience will be restricted largely to teenagers. the genre suffers from a lack of credibility outside the aforementioned demographic group, much like current Nu Metal bands.
girlfriend: C'mon, lets have sex.
boyfriend: I'm too sad to have sex.
girlfriend: I'm sad too; lets have sex and cry.
boyfriend: I'm already crying.
A group of white, mostly middle-class well-off kids who find imperfections in there life and create a ridiculous, depressing melodrama around each one. They often take anti-depressants, even though the majority don't need them. They need to wake up and deal with life like everyone else instead of wallowing in their imaginary quagmire of torment.
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: omg my gf just left me
acidburnedsoul: that sux man
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: i blame myself only i'm such an ass *cries*
acidburnedsoul: dude come over to my house and we can cut ourselves together
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: okay *cries*
acidburnedsoul: omg dashboard confessional has a new cd, i preordered it already
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: dude they're my favorite band to self-mutilate to
acidburnedsoul: i prefer to cut myself while watching Napoleon Dynamite on my bigscreen
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: dude that movie is so deep. i cry every time i see it
acidburnedsoul: me too. i hate myself
XxSlavetoAnguishxX: yeah we're such tortured souls, nobody understands how hard life is for us
acidburnedsoul: yeah we got it tough dude. pass the tissues
"Emo" is not short for "Emotional." "Emo" does not mean Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional, despite what MTV has lead you to believe in the last few years. "Emo" is not sidebangs, tight pants, and male vocalists who sing like little girls about their failed relationships. "Emo" is not the use of diluted, meaningless metaphors and similes such as "My arms are like pinecones," and most definitely is not the rampant use of words such as "autumn," "heart," "knife," "bleeding," "leaves," and "razorblade."more...
I just thought I'd clear that up after all of these "definitions" in which I have encountered an unbelievable amount of people who try to pass off their blatantly false pretenses as fact, and are slowly infecting others with their high-horse, holier-than-thou bullshit. Because honestly, with your ridiculous definitions, Beethoven, George Gershwin, and Britney Spears are/was "emo bands."
Now, onto the real definition.
In the early 90s there was a movement in the hardcore genre that came to be known as "Emotive Hardcore," spearheaded by Rites Of Spring. Harder-core-than-thou kids, who swore by Dischord Records a la Minor Threat, actually coined the term "Emo" as something of a put-down for the kids who really liked Rites Of Spring, Indian Summer and this new wave of "Emotive" Hardcore bands. That's right, "Emo" was once not something kids called themselves. The field exploded outwards from there - Level-Plane Records has always been the most famous Emo label....