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alt.punk.straight-edge sXe FAQ
Section - 2-3. What is emo?

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    On 1 May 1997 "DAVe B." <skapsr@ix!netcom!com> wrote:
    "emo is a type of music, which is derived from early 80's hardcore.  I 
    don t know the whole story, but emo combines hardcore with more melodic 
    and experimental music.  Fugazi is the easiest example of a band i can 
    name that is considered to be "emo"  also bands like promise ring and 
    texas is the reason play this vein of music."

    On 1 May 1997 Kevin Hirsch <hirschk@anet!net> wrote:
    "Emo is generally said to have started with DC bands like Embrace (Ian 
    MacKaye's band after Minor Threat and before Fugazi) and Rites of 
    Spring (Guy Picciotto's band also before Fugazi), but is in no way 
    limited to them, around '85. The sound was basically a slower more 
    emotional (hence the name "emo") post- version of hardcore. The vocals 
    are usually sung in  "whiny" (for lack of a better word) sort of way.

    "Emotional in this context generally connotes "vulnerability" and/or 
    "troubledness", which is different from the emotionality of the 
    screaming and thrashing generally associated with hardcore. This open 
    emphasis on "vulnerability" and/or "troubledness" represented a major 
    break in the hardcore/punk scene at that time, for it prided itself on 
    tough- and hardness, as it generally does today. Hence, the long 
    running feud between hardcore (sXe) and emo kids.

    "As for emo today, as most other sub-genres, it has spawned many 
    (sometimes extremely opposite and/or contradicting) hybrids that all 
    stake claim to the label, rendering it somewhat useless. Here are some 
    examples: there's political, scream-and-flail-on-the-floor, emo like 
    Frail, Swing Kids, Impetus Inter, and a slew of San Diego based bands;
    there's the really slow, discordant, artsy emo like Cap'n Jazz, Joan 
    d'Arc, Evergreen, etc.; then we have the more popular 
    melody/pop-oriented bands like Texas is the Reason, Sensefield, 
    Mineral, Promise Ring, Split Lip (now Chamberlain), etc.; and last but 
    not least we have the slow, stop-and-go, melody-thrash alternating 
    groups like Amber Inn, Still Life, and others I can't think of right 

    On 31 Aug 1997 <PolarityHC@aol!com> write:
    "I believe that Al Flipside called Embrace "emo" and Ian was like "huh",
    but for some reason the name stuck."

    On 03 Oct 1997 <> wrote:
    "i think the band verbal assult invented the word emo.  and embrace, as
    good as they were, weren't the first "emo" band.  dag nasty, 3, and
    7 seconds all had an emo sound before them."

    On 18 Nov 1997 .xmikex. <info@jameson!com> wrote:
    "EMO (E-mo) slang 1)A wimp 2)Anyone not tough enough to listen to your 
    friend's band. 3)Anyone/thing that refuses to floorpunch and hit 
    bystanders in a mosh pit (see mosh).

    "OK, for real, THIS is my understanding and how my friends and I use 
    this helpful term every day:
    1) EMO is an abbreviation of EMOTIONAL.
    2) As such, it can (& I think originally was used to) describe a style 
    of music. 
    3) A lot of bands from the Washington DC area punk scene are considered 
    "EMO" (Embrace being one of the 1st to have this label).
    4) The EMO "SOUND" of minimalist drums & guitars, quiet singing building 
    up to a loud screaming racket. There can be a major jazz influence.
    5) Anyone can be emo now. Morrissey, the cure, fugazi, endpoint, you 
    name it, they've been labeled "emo" (sinatra)

    "The people:
    Emo kids are considered wimps by most "tough guys". This may or may not 
    be true. Classic "emo stories" are of kids crying at shows. (something 
    I recently witnessed at a show...) I guess this public show of emotion
    is seen as weakness by most in the HC community. Whereas Emo music tends 
    to wrestle the inner demons of personal defeat, loveloss, heartache etc. 
    "Hardcore" tends to wrestle that big hairy smelly guy in the pit next to 
    you. No, seriously, HC tends to deal with taking action to change things 
    rather than ruminate on that might have been. I guess the main 
    difference is that Emo tends to be backward looking, and HC tends to be
    forward looking. (Yesyesyes, I know there's MASSIVE crossover in musical 
    styles and song subject matter- a lot of HC bands write "personal" 
    lyrics and a lot of emo bands write songs with a social message).I 
    dunno, I like some emo bands, but I prefer HC.

    Hair: often a bit crusty
    Glasses: Horn-rim ONLY (cat-eyes are also acceptable for the women)
    Facial Hair: Stubble
    Piercings: Optional
    Necklaces: Beads, etc. (mandatory)
    Shirt: Old t-shirts, dress shirts etc.
    Sweater: No!no!no! a sweaterVEST. (old)
    Jacket: Old, thrift shop gear as with all the above.
    Pants: Dress pants / corduroy. Floods are totally cool.
    Socks: White
    Shoes: Black dress shoes 

    "The color palate? Browns, blacks, dark blues etc.

    "Think "Nick at Night". The look is retro with an edge. Drew Carey if 
    he wore thrift store stuff.

    A brief list of "emo" bands I or my friends like:
    (i don't like all these bands. they will have an * by their name if I'm 
    not a big fan)
    PROMISE RING* (yeech)

    "Perhaps CRUCIAL YOUTH said it best in their glossary of terms when they 
    described it:
    EMO-CORE: "Mature" music made by cigarette-puffing ex-straightedgers. 
    Heavy on soul-searching, hard to mosh to."

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