What is ‘Emo’ Music?

845 WordsFeb 2, 20183 Pages
“Just because I wear black and keep a private journal, that doesn't mean I'm going to blow up the school. Or terrorize mindless cheerleaders, for that matter.” (Kelly Creagh, Nevermore) What is ‘emo’ music? What does ‘emo’ even mean? It’s a word that some people hear quite often, but it seems that no two people define the word the same way. So what does it mean when a person calls someone else ‘emo’? What does it mean when someone is said to listen to ‘emo’ music? How can one dress ‘emo’? Or act ‘emo’? The word ‘emo’ can have multiple definitions. One answer is that the word ‘emo’ is short for ‘emotional’. Another usage of the word could refer to rock music that resembles punk, but has more emotional lyrics and complex arrangements. ‘Emo’ can also describe a (usually teenaged) social type, however, there are no clearly set parameters as to what makes a person ‘emo’. Various people trace the beginning of ‘emo’ music to Rites of Spring, a post-hardcore band from Washington D.C. Though the band only lasted for two years - 1984-1986 - they are often referred to as the founders of emo. Formed in March 1984, Rites of Spring was “an emotionally charged brand of hardcore punk marked by introspective, personal lyrics and intense catharsis (Huey).” The lyrics were “by turns nostalgic, heartbroken, confused, and desperately searching, expanding hardcore's range of subject matter into territory rarely covered (Huey).” Continuing the trend of short-lived 80’s post-hardcore bands from

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