1) For whatever reason, a highly controversial word in youth culture and popular culture circles. Probably the definition that can be the most agreed upon is that side of post-hardcore which is melodic and accessible enough for mainstream pop audiences to enjoy. It should be taken into account that most bands who play this type of music are divorced from the art punk tendencies of many of the pioneering post-hardcore bands from the 1980s and 1990s.
2) "Emo" can also refer to the youth subculture that is centered around this particular niche of post-hardcore described in definition 1, which, much like the punk, goth, and hippie subcultures that preceded it, is identifiable by a particular fashion sense (in this case often straight, dyed black hair combed to one side to the point of being asymmetrical in appearance, also horn-rimmed or rectangular eyewear). Unlike the punk and hippie subcultures, at least, there are really no identifiable political or ideological concerns of the Emo subculture, and it is primarily defined by music purchasing habits and outward appearance. However, many members of the Emo subculture, often referred to as emo kids, are often seen as suicidal or suffering from other psychological problems, regardless of whether or not they actually are.
3) Archaically at least to some degree, "emo" is sometimes used to describe nearly all post-hardcore, particularly that which derives stylistically from the sounds pioneered by a number of bands from Washington DC and Maryland in the mid-to-late 1980s. It should be noted, though, that "emo" (then "emocore") was a derogatory term applied to the earliest of these bands by their detractors.
1) It is disputed by few that Jimmy Eat World and Braid are emo bands.
2) In some regions, the emo subculture is cause for moral panic.
3) Guy Picciotto, of pioneering post-hardcore groups Rites of Spring and Fugazi fame primarily, finds it upsetting that he is considered one of emo's founding fathers.
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