What Is 'emo'?

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dazed410
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Postby dazed410 » Thu Oct 03, 2002 9:51 pm

Matthew Alch

Contributing writer

For the past couple of years, "tagging" or categorizing music has been a very difficult thing to do, especially when bands have unique sounds from all types of genres. A genre that today people still have trouble defining is the term "Emo," which is short for emotional.

Some think it stands for a genre of music, others think it is a false title for any type of emotional music in general. I think it is a state of being and feeling for passionate, emotionally charged rock.

"That tag 'Emo' is condescending to music in general, it sort of implies that music isn't emotional unless you're using the term to market your angst and emotions. It's a false genre," Thursday said.

This so-called genre's characteristics consist of ultra-soft vocal parts for the first couple of verses, gut wrenching vocals for chorus and sometime sobbing and crying over electrically maneuvered guitars made to roar at the right time. This gives "Emo" its urgency and texture.

Guitar parts consist of soft picking with odd chords made to sound abstract and unfortunate. The lyrics are thought of as hard set poetry or stories that either people can or cannot relate to.

This style of music originated in Washington D.C. back in 1978 with hardcore and post hardcore. Its inspired new and diverse sound made its way to major cities in California, Illinois, Canada, Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Now, it seems like people everywhere are using the term "Emo" to describe such bands as Jimmy Eat World and Weezer.

Please don't.

Categorizing music in any genre of rock is hard to do since everything is now being experimented with different kinds of sounds. Indie, Hard-core, Post Indie Hard-core, Emocore, and Screamo can describe other sounds that come from the same family of music. Bands that consist of these sounds are Bright Eyes, Christie Front Drive, Cursive, Elliot, Pedro the Lion, Sunday's Best, The Weakerthans, The Beautiful Mistake, The Gloria Record, Thrice, Thursday, etc.

Those who have been into this type of music for a while may start to feel betrayed by the artists who finally make it big. The music tends to become more produced with easy chord progressions and watered down lyrics. Commercialism is very much repressed in the so-called "Emo" scene because of the fans and bands stay focused on the continuance of fifteen dollar shows and 10 dollar t-shirts, which in fact, I think is great.


Just remember how it would feel to be in a band that finally gets recognized. Don't be that artificial, front running, ideal-centrist fan that starts talking crap on a band that you have liked for years until they made it big.

Bad mouthing and disliking groups that do have what it takes only threatens this small industry. This music will get more popular and move into different directions with time as it has in the past.

To listen to any of these musical types, turn on WSU's independent radio station KZUU 90.7 from 2 to 6 a.m. on Thursdays. DJ Mosheri and DJ Onis will only bring you the best of "Emo" rock here on campus.

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