"Emo" is not short for "Emotional." "Emo" does not mean Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional, despite what MTV has lead you to believe in the last few years. "Emo" is not sidebangs, tight pants, and male vocalists who sing like little girls about their failed relationships. "Emo" is not the use of diluted, meaningless metaphors and similes such as "My arms are like pinecones," and most definitely is not the rampant use of words such as "autumn," "heart," "knife," "bleeding," "leaves," and "razorblade."

I just thought I'd clear that up after all of these "definitions" in which I have encountered an unbelievable amount of people who try to pass off their blatantly false pretenses as fact, and are slowly infecting others with their high-horse, holier-than-thou bullshit. Because honestly, with your ridiculous definitions, Beethoven, George Gershwin, and Britney Spears are/was "emo bands."

Now, onto the real definition.

In the early 90s there was a movement in the hardcore genre that came to be known as "Emotive Hardcore," spearheaded by Rites Of Spring. Harder-core-than-thou kids, who swore by Dischord Records a la Minor Threat, actually coined the term "Emo" as something of a put-down for the kids who really liked Rites Of Spring, Indian Summer and this new wave of "Emotive" Hardcore bands. That's right, "Emo" was once not something kids called themselves. The field exploded outwards from there - Level-Plane Records has always been the most famous Emo label. Acts like Yaphet Kotto, I Hate Myself, Saetia, Hot Cross, A Day In Black And White, Funeral Diner, I Would Set Myself On Fire For You, You And I, and hosts of others came in the next decade. Most emo bands have since broken up, but there's still the occasional hold-out (again, the majority of Level-Plane Records' roster has been a procession of emo acts). Like most DIY hardcore/punk of the time, a majority found its way onto vinyl and not much else. Some people consider bands like Fugazi, and later Sunny Day Real Estate, a progression of emo, but personally, I don't quite follow that philosophy.

Often, more recently, this gets intertwined with post-hardcore, and understandably so - that's nothing to make an issue of, since well shit, at least it's close.

Since the late 90s, though, bands have been emerging in the vein of Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, and the thousands of their clones. As far as I can tell, some lazy journalist somewhere, writing an article about them, decided "Well, fuck, no one knows what emo is anyways, so I'll call these bands "emo" - sounds more appealing than bubblegum pop rock..." and the spiral continued downwards into the current amalgomation of bands MTV has told everyone is "emo."

Somehow, people decided that "emo" meant "emotional," which is obviously bullshit, as 99% of bands make music to illicit emotion, which would make "emotional" a completely all-encompassing genre from classical to opera to pop to rap.


Hope that helps.
Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, and My Chemical Romance falls under the "horrible pop rock" genre, not the emo genre.

Rites of Spring is emo.
von Chelsea 2. März 2005
1.Most overused word in high school.
2.Word people always feel like they have to tell you the "true" meaning of.
1. Ah they are so emo and now chad is emo and i hate emos and we should go make fun of emos and...hey watch it queer emo, oh that dumb emo just bumped into me
2.People think emo stands for emotional but really it is.......
von Rorschsch 12. Februar 2009
The look a guy has when he catches his dick in his zipper.
No wonder Chet looked really emo last night, he had a zipper accident.
von benth 21. August 2008
I looked at the other definitions, and there seems to few people on here that actually know what they're talking about. So I thought I'd add mine, with a bit of history and background information...

1976 saw the birth of punk, bringing with it many sub-genres, sub-sub-genres, and sub-sub-sub-sub-genres. In the early 80s, punk had branched off into several different styles, and ways of taking the genre. In 1981 there was a large amount of "hardcore" bands emerging from the D.C. scene. One of these bands were called "Minor Threat", who had a very vibrant, and melodic sound.

Nearing the end of 1983, the band "Minor Threat" broke up, after the band seemed to "run out of steam", and their last 7" single "Salad Days" in 1984 finally killed the band, and the DC hardcore scene.

After that new bands emerged, taking the genre their own way. 1984 showed the release of "Zen Arcade", an album by minneapolis band "Husker Du". This interpretation showed much more powerful, intense vocals with slow, melancholy and more melodic song writing.

In Spring 1984, D.C. Hardcore band "Rites of Spring" emerged, taking inspiration from the earlier hardcore scene. The band brought a totally new vocal approach to Husker Du's original style.

Summer 1985 became known as the "revolution summer" when a whole wave of hardcore bands emerged from the D.C. scene such as Gray Matter, Soulside, Ignition and Dag Nasty. Few bands retained the original fast paced, hardcore style proposed by "Rites of Spring" and "Husker Du" but took a much more droney, melodic approach to the genre.

These bands were then labelled the "D.C. Sound" or "D.C. Hardcore", and some of them were labelled "emo".

It was never suggested by Rites Of Spring that the term "emo" was short for anything. Although it has been proposed that emo was short for "emotive hardcore" or "emotionally charged hardcore punk" in a 1985 flipside interview with the band they claimed they were "not a punk rock band" and it was never mentioned in the text that they were "emotional" or "emotive" although the term "emo" was used several times.

Again, people took the genre several ways. Some people took an "Indie-rock" approach to the genre, while others retained a "post hardcore" style.

Many emo bands were poorly paid, underground, and rarely heard of, and few records were ever released around the genre. Which is probably why today it is so easily mistaken and misunderstood.

The "D.C. hardcore scene" grew, and with it, a stereotype fashion. People with a "Mop-top" haircut, skinny t-shirts and old trainers became a classic "D.C. hardcore scene" cliche. However, not all of these were "emo fans" nor were they in any way "emo's". It is suggested that this idea was taken, and progressed through the nineties to a much more "geeky" look nowadays.

However, emo is a genre of music, argue all you like, your still wrong. Saying "I am an emo" is like saying "I am a jazz", which is not possible. Emo has been heavily marketed by magazines (Kerrang etc.) and a totally wrong idea of the genre is now being spread across youths.

The early 90s saw a last breath for emo, with a much more softer, "Indie-rock" take on the genre. After that, the rest is history. It's a shame the genre was dragged through the gutter like that.
Emo - Rites Of Spring, Dag Nasty, SDRE, Drive Like Jehu, Fugazi...

What? - GUYS IN GIRL PANTS R HOT!!!11

Anything to do with 14 year old girls instantly becomes void of the possibility of it having anything to do with emo.
von Jorj 25. Mai 2006
1. Short for "emotive". Coined by Ian MacKaye, commonly known from Fugazi and Minor Threat.
2. Type of music characterized by heartfelt, although sometimes whiny lyrics.
3. Person who listens to afformentioned type of music. Stereotypically wears too-small sweaters and tight jeans, black horn-rimmed glasses, and straight black hair, although this is not always true. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes straight edge.
Look at that emo kid pouring his heart out on stage.
von Sapnotaja 5. März 2004
Emo was first a music genre, but now it is sometimes accepted as a social clique.
What most people think it is, is someone that wears mostly dark clothing, guys that where eyeliner, and they all cut themselves.
What I have found it to actually be is people who might not have the hardest of lives, but just enough problems to make them think they do. They are not as sad as people think though, they only want other people to think they are. It is just the same as someone who over uses jokes because they have a low self esteem, except sad instead of glad. They might write poetry, where make up, skinny jeans, and stuff, but most "emo" guys are straight. And emo's who are not faking it do not like to be called emo. they are just whoever they are, without labels. the conception that they cut themselves is wrong. some do, but I've met a few preps who take out a razor, to. emo's are just as conforming as all the rest, and the real ones will admit it. they aren't trying to be abnormal, they just like how they look.
-wanna be: hey look at me scars!!! im emo now!! :D
-real thing: no your not. your just a poser and your stupid.
von //ErikKastles// 21. Januar 2009
A strange breed of human that can be identified by stupid haircuts, suicidal tendencies, constant whining, the wearing of tight pants, and usually no mate. Because of this, scientists believe that most males in this species lack reproductive organs.
Stop whining, you emo.
von Melbirn 12. Januar 2005
Attention whores. Kids and young adults who really don't have any actual problems, and instead decide to use their creativity, or lack thereof, to craft false problems.

Emo kids are mostly seen with acoustic guitars and My Chemical Romance attire, as well as black hair that simply screams "kick me in the balls as hard as you can".

High-pitch nasally voice can often be heard uttering the words "You just don't understand", followed by the sound of slamming door, then muffled whimpering as the individual proceeds to scratch their wrist, hoping you'll take notice of their weak and futile efforts to portray suicide and/or self-mutilation.

But most notably, Emos keep records of thier so-called "problems" in diaries. These records mostly include pointless whiny rants:
"Dear Diary, those stupid jocks at school think I'm gay. Why can't they understand that heterosexual boys like me just like to kiss other heterosexual boys once in a while. They're so mean, and it depresses me... They say I'm Emo, even though I'm just misunderstood."
*sniff* *scratch*
"They just don't understand"
"And Karen dumped me today. She says I'm the perfect guy, and that I'm always there for her, just like when her Chimichangas were too cold, and she ended up cutting her wrist out of shear depression. She says it's not me, it's her. She says I'm too good for her. I love her so much... I think I'll express my undying love for her by throwing my pillows and crying... and perhaps I'll write a love song and sing it off-key..."
*sniff*

von 2phast 18. Juli 2006

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