What is Emo?

Posted in: Rock by BluSphere on July 19th, 2009 | 24 Comments

This is the article for you who want to know where EMO came from and what it is today.

I’m going to tell you about Emo.

Emo originally a music style but it has become lifestyle and a way of dressing.


Emo or emocore is a sub genre of hardcore punk which originated in the early 1980s. Emo comes from the English word “emotional” and is about motions (of course).


The very first Emo-bands are considered to be either Rites of Spring and Embrace, both of which came from Washington DC and was released on Dis-chord record. These two bands were different from other hardcore punk bands at this time by letting their aggression and frustration to be expressed in a more emotional way, hence the name emocore. The term emocore was originally a pejorative term that was used to make fun of the hardcore punk bands that had an emotional expression. Embrace and Rites of Spring started the genre, and thus first-Emo-bands. Members from these two bands formed the later post-hardcore band Fugazi.

In the wake of these early Emo bands emerged new groups such as the Policy of Three, Julia, Moss Icon, and Inkwell. Their sound was further away from the original hardcore punk than Embrace and Rites of Spring. The music was more dynamic, and there were laid great emphasis on mood and atmosphere. Today it’s easy to hear the inspiration from these bands with names such as Sinaloa, End of a Year, Bullets In, Catena Collapse, many more. The lyrical element of Emo can be both very personal but also very political.

Despite the fact that Emo is a sub genre of hardcore punk, Emo has even given rise to various sub genres. The first is the more popped Emo / indie genre, we know from bands like Braid, Cap’n Jazz, Boys Life, Texas is the Reason, and the promise ring, but also the more aggressive genre called screamo (Saetia, You and I, Orchid, Heroin, Angel Hair, etc.) is a sub genre of emo.

Emo is often confused with post-hardcore genre, but it is a different genre. It is often that emo bands mixes elements from other sub genres into their music. For example, math rock and post rock.

Bands like My Chemical Romance and Panic! at the Disco is the mainstream press has been called emo-bands, despite the fact that their sounds and expressions largely unrelated to the original emo-genre.

Dilemma of significance

One major problem in the definition of emo is that emo stands for emotional hardcore, according to many people, and if one assumes that emo is a music genre, it is difficult to define, since all music is about feelings, and often strong feelings. The fact that a band has made a song about strong feelings, as a broken heart, is thus not an emo band, but if a band only makes songs about broken spine, tassels hearts, etc., it would certainly be described as emo.

Cultural influence

Scene style is often confused with “emo” which is not correct according to many. Emo has very black clothes, while the Scene with a mixture of emo and preppy clothes. Call it “emo,” it can happen to people, it is a sad “cutters,” who have no joy, pleasure or fun. And also swear to black clothes. But Scene People are often in color, mostly as screaming green, turquoise, pink and yellow, with possibly. black jeans and a pair of converse or vans. For scene people are an insult to be called emo, because they know that the mainstream does not know what this word really means, and mixes it with punk, goth, rock and alternative styles. And the scene which even calls itself the “emo” is often what we call “posers” – people who really are not scene, but just think it’s cool to look like and change in a short time, ie. people who are not themselves, but just playing a sort of comedy and likes attention as a scene.

Today there’s a huge difference between Emos and normal people. Many believe that Emo is stupid nonsense and just teenage children going through phases, and has got no other style to connect to, while many other argues that it is a lifestyle choice, and that they are born emotional and by Emos.

Here’s some links to pictures of Emos:

Girl & Boy






What do you think about Emos?

I would love to hear from the haters and the lovers… and the neutrals!

-Anders Hegelund

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