1. The Emo (Or Emotive Hardcore) Modern Music Genre, a subdivision of Hardcore Punk.
2. The Emo (Or Emotive Hardcore) movement: a subculture of western, middle to upper-class young people.
Note: Not to be confused with Goth
The Term Emotive Hardcore began with the band Rites of Spring in 1985 who took a more personal approach to punk. Their songs were about personal problems and negativities they experienced in life and the term 'Emo' was coined as an insult to describe the followers of the band.
Modern Emo bands are difficult to pick because whether or not a band is emo is very subjective. Many people consider Pop-Punk bands such as Good Charlotte and Taking Back Sunday as Emo, others do not. Bands most widely excepted as emo include Dashboard Confessional, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco and Lost Prophets, though even these arguably fall under the genre. Emo music is often avoided by non-emos simply because it is emo, but not always. Just because someone listens to an emo band, does not mean they are emo.
The Emo subculture is a group comprising practicaly entirely of teenagers from a middle to upper-class society. Emos are generally people from well-off homes who consider themselves depressed and distraught. They disapprove with modern ways of thinking and seek not to conform to Pop-Culture. They dress usually in black and thier hair is almost always straight and dark, often covering part of the face. Emo's often have modified sexual preferences and are open to sexual experimentation whereby they consider themselves homosexual and bisexual however considering the young age of many such emos, the actual accuracy of their sexual status is often arguable as many believe such people are still growing and thus have not been able to make a proper decision as yet.
There are two types of Emo's
1: Try-hard Emo's: As named by true Emo's (see below), try-hard emos are people who believe themselves to be emo. They dress like emos and openly advertise thier self-proclaimed Emo status. These types of emos are unlikely to have been through any sort of emotional turmoil and simply dress as they do for social reasons in most cases.
2: True Emo's: Often an evolution of a try-hard emo, but not always, a true emo is a person who genuinly considers themselves depressed. True emo's will never call themselves emo but may use terms such as Scene Kid to describe each other and will often openly advertise their depression. The transition between the two types of emo is often the result of a relationship break-up whereby the emo considers themselves wrongly done by and depressed as a result.
Sadly, true emos will often hurt themselves either in self-pity or as a public display of thier depression. This stereotypically involves slitting of the wrists whereby an emo attempts sucide (though purposly does not follow through) but can often incude other forms of self-destruction. Emos rarely sucide without an outside force such as drugs or alcohol having an effect on them
The parody from the emo subculture is obvious and along with their somewhat anti-social behaviour almost always leads to their outcast from other social groups (which in turn they may consider to add to their depression).
The Emo Parody:
1. Emos disagree with modern pop-culture and wish to separate themselves from modern society – they seek to be individual, but in doing so they actually simply group themselves into another culture, and a negative one at that. They fail to be individual at all and instead are just another group of people.
2. Emos believe themselves depressed, though clinically almost all emos are perfectly healthy mentally and their self-proclaimed depression is an insult to truly depressed people. Emos are well off people who draw attention to themselves by, and perhaps even gain pleasure in, attempting to lead others to believe they are depressed by past experiences. They truth of the matter is, everyone experiences the issues they face, and many people to a greater and much more damaging degree. Emos are depressed about nothing and if they spent half the time they spend wallowing in self-pity as they did happy and fulfilled, the world and their world would be a considerably better place.
Try-Hard Emo: I am so depressed man. Nobody gets me. I wish i wasn't an emo.
True-Emo 1: Nobody gets me man. I am so depressed.
True Emo 2: Man, you cut your wrists. Why?
True Emo 1: The world just doesn't get me *sob*
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!
boyfriend: I'm too sad to have sex.
girlfriend: I'm sad too; lets have sex and cry.
boyfriend: I'm already crying.
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
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. Acts like Yaphet Kotto, I Hate Myself, Saetia, Hot Cross, A Day In Black And White, Funeral Diner, I Would Set Myself On Fire For You, You And I, and hosts of others came in the next decade. Most emo bands have since broken up, but there's still the occasional hold-out (again, the majority of Level-Plane Records' roster has been a procession of emo acts). Like most DIY hardcore/punk of the time, a majority found its way onto vinyl and not much else. Some people consider bands like Fugazi, and later Sunny Day Real Estate, a progression of emo, but personally, I don't quite follow that philosophy.
Often, more recently, this gets intertwined with post-hardcore, and understandably so - that's nothing to make an issue of, since well shit, at least it's close.
Since the late 90s, though, bands have been emerging in the vein of Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, and the thousands of their clones. As far as I can tell, some lazy journalist somewhere, writing an article about them, decided "Well, fuck, no one knows what emo is anyways, so I'll call these bands "emo" - sounds more appealing than bubblegum pop rock..." and the spiral continued downwards into the current amalgomation of bands MTV has told everyone is "emo."
Somehow, people decided that "emo" meant "emotional," which is obviously bullshit, as 99% of bands make music to illicit emotion, which would make "emotional" a completely all-encompassing genre from classical to opera to pop to rap.
Hope that helps.
Rites of Spring is emo.