What is Emo?
The term "Emo" applies to a music and fashion genre that is
based on a music culture that formed in the 1980's and 1990's. The
original roots were punk rock bands, but the term is now loosely
applied to a range of alternative music styles. The fashion and
behavioral aspects mirror some of the original trends, and have
been described as dark, emotional, depressed, or moody. (These
concepts are all quite familiar to many modern teenagers.)
The Original Emo
Emo was a kind of hardcore punk music that originated in
the 80s. It was pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring, and
spread to include many different sounds ranging from aggressive and
discordant to mellow and melancholy. Examples of bands are Amanda
Woodward, Christie Front Drive and Julia. There still are "emo"
bands around, who fly the flag for the original sound.
The term fell from popularity, and was then taken up by the MTV
crowd. It was first used to describe more emotional bands such as
Dashboard Confessional and "Thursday", and then because used as a
catch-all term for any band that plays dark, alternative, emotional
music. Anything from My Chemical Romance to Jack's Mannequin has
been described as emo.
People started using it to describe themselves. Nearly everyone
knows or knows of an "emo kid"; they probably wear dark clothes,
skinny jeans, have a haircut which covers at least part of their
face, and follow the "alternative" lifestyle. Whether you respect,
hate, or simply don't give a damn about "emo kids", at least have
some respect for the genre, back when it was simply about making
passionate, experimental music.
More on Emo
Emo is a genre of music, and a quickly emerging sub-culture.
There are many stereotypes associated with this new sub-culture,
including the stereotype that all emo kids are depressed, cut
themselves, and are over-privileged kids who are acting out. Emo
music, whether your emo or not, is very enjoyable. "Boys Like
Girls" and "My Chemical Romance" are examples of bands that fit
within the genre.
Emo History and Revolution Summer
Emo, or 'emotionally charged hardcore punk', is a genre of music
pioneered by the '80s D.C. hardcore band "Rites of Spring". Their
music was a mid-tempo version of hardcore punk that focused less on
social/political issues and more on self-introspection. Alongside
Rites of Spring, many other pioneering bands attempted to shift the
D.C. hardcore scene from the more violent antics to the artistic
values of the music they were putting forth. This phenomenon was
known as "Revolution Summer". During the early 1990's a second wave
of bands would emerge predominantly from what is now known as the
Mid-west scene. Prominent bands include such as "Cap'n Jazz" and
"Bells on Trike". This style of emo was based less on the
progressive hardcore put forth by the first wavers and more on
emo/pop, what one might refer to as 'indie emo'. Other important
bands during this era were "Sunny Day Real Estate", "The Promise
Ring", and "Texas is the Reason". When emo hit the mainstream in
the late-90s, due to the success of such bands, the genre had
become more pop-oriented and less focused on its origins. The
contemporary form of emo is often dismissed by those who are fans
of the original versions. Today, Emo is more closely related to pop
rock or 'mall punk' than what was played in D.C. twenty years
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