Emo is not dead…its BEEN dead.
I used to consider Rolling Stone one of the more respectable music magazines (lesson learned). Generally, they know what they are talking about. But in the latest issue, the “Best of the decade”, they got several things wrong. Let me begin with this; Rolling Stone has no idea what “emo” is.
2005 was not theÂ “Golden Era”. Not even close. Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, and anything else off Fueled By Ramen is not “emo”. Neither is My Chemical Romance. Apparently when looking up emo on Wikipedia, they missed the entire first paragraph (no really, look- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emo)
If anything, its probably Pop Punk (except maybe My Chemical Romance who had more of a goth rock vibe then went onto do the rock opera thing). Bands that are at home touring with Blink 182 are probably not emo. My Chemical Romance got their start opening up for bands like A Static Lullaby, Thrice and Taking Back Sunday, none of which I would classify as emo. Which brings me to the following questions: What IS emo and what bands fall into that genre?
Emo has always stood for “emotional” but you can argue all music is emotional. This is true, but I feel that emo is a subset of indie rock (then again, what is indie rock right?). Emo was could be happy music, often artists/bands in this genre would do a
70/30 split with some songs being upbeat and the rest with the artist or band letting it all out on the record. Th
ere might be a pretty metaphor here or there, but really the usual message is more than likely “you broke my heart”. Yeah, it’s a little weak, but then again, who was really all that badass in high school? I think that is the reason why most emo kids graduate onto hardcore to compensate.
Emo was glasses, it was mix tapes, it was LiveJournal, it was argyle sweaters and bangs in your face. It was not this Hot Topic bullshit, hairspray, neon colors, or “getting crunk”. Most emo kids were not cool. They were in band or theater, they were nerds. They went to shows for the music not because it was the cool place to be.
(That is me to the left circa 2002).
The final nail in the coffin was probably the creation of the character Seth Cohen on the OC, which debuted in 2003. But even so, that was a fairly realistic portrayal of an emo kid, minus the rich family and getting the popular girl of his dreams. But hey, that’s TV.
And in the history of words used to describe people who are just slightly outside of the mainstream, emo comes before the term scene and scene predates the term hipster.
Even the term emo has been dead for years. My emo kid days were in the late 90s/early 2000s and I was late to the party. According to The Juliana Theory, emotion was dead by 2000. Bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker had been laying the foundation when I still liked Smashing Pumpkins and 90s alternative. The first band that really gets attached to the term is Rites of Spring but I would even go as far as to say bands like The Cure and The Smiths had an influence on the genre. That’s right, I said it. Morrissey is partly responsible for emo.
If you were into emo, there is a pretty good chance your favorite band was on Equalvision, Vagrant, Doghouse, or Saddle Creek records. You probably knew all the words to Age Six Racer by Dashboard Confessional and “Take Out Cars Now!” by Saves the Day, you listened to all 9 Â½ minutes of both “Konstantine” by Something Corporate and “Short Stories with Tragic Endings” by From Autumn to Ashes. You probably saw The Anniversary open for The Get Up Kids. You knew Jolie from The Rocking Horse Winner was the go to girl for guest vocals. You probably listened to Mineral, Bright Eyes (before he got a little bit country), Brandston, The Promise Ring, and Elliot and you sure all hell knew how to make the perfect mix tape. Stop me before I say too much…
Rolling Stone should go back and read Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad and Nothing Feels Good by Andy Greenwald if they really want to know what emo is and where it came from.
I mean at the very least, if you really want a fun crash course, go to emogame.com and play the first version, which came out in 2002.
Here are my top 5 albums (which are probably also in my top albums of all time)
My Top 5 Emo Albums:
- The Places You Have Come To Fear the Most- Dashboard Confessional
- Emotion is Dead- The Juliana Theory
- The Get Up Kids- Something to Write Home About
- I’m Sorry, I’m Leaving- Saves the Day
- All the Emo Diaries Compilations
And Clarity- Jimmy Eat World which is not listed because I think it transcends emo and is timeless.