What does emo mean?

Welcome to our emo page. A long time ago we posed the question "what does emo mean?" to our users and below you will find a few of their reponses. In truth this discussion is very outdated, but some of the answers are kinda funny so we are keeping it them up for archival purposes.
Here you go... In the early to mid 90's a buch of hard core (mostly east coast and mid-atlantic...NY, DC, Philly) decided to stop screaming so much and start singing melodies over hard core music and added some more melodic guitar parts. Since hard core now had a melody and a little bit of "math rock" or "art rock" added to it, it was "emotional" or "emo". Nowdays it's usually referred to as emo-core or scream-o. But it is the origin of the genre. Here a short list of early bands: Jawbox (Holy crap! This band is quintessential post-hardcore emo. Every album is great!) Jawbreaker (Blake went on to form Jets To Brazil) Texas Is The Reason (VERY melodic) Sensefield (Jon Bunch is now singing for Further Seams Forever) Drive LIke Jehu (sort of. Scream-o that will rock your face off. John Reiss from RFTC.) Sunny Day Real Estate (sort of emo. they kind of ushered in the "mellow" emo movement) Mineral (goes with Sunny Day, but not as mellow) What it isn't... Emo isn't some whinny cry-baby wussy boy with an accoustic guitar and too many feelings (Chris Carraba, Pedro the Lion). People need to stop labling these neo-folkies as emo bands and call them what they really are...dirty hippies. Most of those skinny boys in tight t-shirts aren't tough enough to be in a REAL emo band. Does anyone remember the term "college rock"? Pavement? Sebedoh? That's right...sweater wearin', floor starin', self loathing indie rockers ("Look at me. I'm so smart because I hang out in coffee shops and talk about independent movies and bands you've never heard of.") Good Charlotte isn't a punk band and Dashboard Confessional isn't emo. Sounds like someone needs an a** kicking. Hope this helps, Shannon
My friends and I have also wondered exactly what EMO means, but I think I have somewhat of an idea. EMO music is somewhat like punk, but less of a grunge sound, if you know what I mean. The "emo" people have their own style, too and they usually hate it when others call them "punk." A lot of them wear semi-tight shirts with straight legged jeans or Dickies. They wear a lot of black and red, too. Basically, it's the new-aged punk style, more nerdy, and less dramatic.
Emo isn't some whinny cry-baby wussy boy with an accoustic guitar and too many feelings ... no, but it is whinny wussy boys with hard core bass lines and attempts at melodic guitar riffs, accompanied by either a completely out of synch and inadequet drummer or a guy that really knows his set and would be better off solo. and emo started when a hard core kid punched a punk rocker and then made out with his girlfriend. and she liked it. and he cried, many emo tears. these tears formed a sweater. and the now emo kid must wear protective eyewear (ie thick rimmed dark glasses)... to be continued. [hehe, hopefully ashley will send part 2 to this email someday] Ashley
I do believe emo comes from the word emotional...emotional music for emotional adolescents ..or something like that...but what do i know? Emo looks like this ....how to dress emo 2.0 www.dobi.nu/emo/ [this is definately worth checking out] thats all from me..bye bye BadWinkLennon
back when i was a punk rocka emo was that culture of people who wore buddy holly glasses and listened to whiny punk. stuff about how much the singer misses his girlfriend and all that bulls***. emo, i was taught, is short for emotional. but who knows if any of that is true.
For a GREAT idea of what emo is and how it started, read: *Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo* By Andy Greenwald * [never read it, never will, but you might get something out of it]
emo is just eno spelt wrong. he is the father of most interesting music anyway. he even mentioned sid vicious on taking tiger mountain in 1974 before anyone had heard of the sex pistols or punk. im glad we straitened that out. now stop arguing and get back to your study. ken
Emu: An emu is the largest bird inhabiting Australia. They can grow up to 5.7 feet tall and weigh about 110-120 pounds. They are normally brown in color, although after molting, new feathers may appear nearly black, fading to pale brown with age. The skin on the top of an emu's head and neck is often free of feathers and has a bluish tinge. That is my favorite part. They have three toes and make two main calls: a gutteral grunt and a throbbing drum. The gutteral grunt is nice. Melodic almost. The throbbing drum is rather pathetic. Or maybe apathetic is more the word I am looking for. If you would like to hear these sounds for yourself, an emu can regularly be found on the grassy plains and dry open forests of Australia. They're fast runners though. Up to 40 mph for short bursts. And they swim. Like experts. They also love caterpillars and have lived in Australia for 80 million years. Thank you. garyloveshisemu ps i love brian eno too
it is pretty sad how many people do not know what is up emo is (well, was) a term for EMOTIONAL HARDCORE, which really stated in DC with bands like RITES OF SPRING, EMBRACE and even THE FAITH. at first the music was usually no slower than hardcore, but thier lyrics were more personal and less about "f***ing the man" and whatever else dudes in studded jackets used to get mad about back then. thus even the bands like SDRE and MINERAL which you guys claim to be the godfathers of this scene are already bastardizing a name which has since been re-bastardized by dashboard etc etc etc. for reference of the whole scene that spawned the term 'emo' see the book DANCE OF DAYS... specifically the stuff on 'revolution summer' and the like. also everyone should own the rites of spring discography, entitled END ON END, available on dischord records. actually screw all of this the brian eno guy is right. [I can always appreciate a person that sounds smarter than me]
I think all emo's are chickens. They remind me of chickens. I love chickens and I love emos. ..Amber
Basically emo means you hold your nose when you sing, to produce a nasal twang that sounds like a little girl. Emo means you sit at home all day and whine about your ex-girlfriend that left you 3 years ago. You're all a bunch of pussies. What happened to real rock, Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Kiss? Those are real bands. I just think it's sad to see so many young people hopping on the bandwagon of gayness. STOP WHINING AND START ROCKING! Here is a brief list of real rock bands: 1. Steve Miller Band 2. Peter Frampton 3. Heart 4. Black Sabbath 5. Neil Young 6. The Datsuns Throw away your god-awful Newfound Glory and Coheed & Gonorhea cds and pick up some music that isn't absolutely absurd. Emo.......... what a crock of s***.
emo is awsome, and it doesnt have to be stupid depressed wrist cutting losers who want attention, emo people dress cool they have awsome glasses (i own a pair myself) and the guys are super hot....the only thing is their sometimes confused about their sexuality so they mostly gay-acting, the supposed "emo" girls are just fat chicks who you would normally see wearing weezer shirts standing outside shows trying to look cool and i usually make fun of them...well theres what i think -nena
Emo isn't... -A "kind of" person. -A style. -A fad. -A trend. -Fashion. -Clothes. -Negative. IT'S A F***ING MUSIC GENRE. THAT'S ALL. Emily.
everyone who said anything about emo being whiny pussy stuff needs to stfu. They need to listen to some saetia, circle takes the square, and kaospilot
emo is alot how you feel. thats what i think. & it's a mixture of punk/hardcore music, but toned down a bit.. low key. alot of people look the same...you go to an emo show, all the guys are wearing girls pants, & their hair is all long & goes over their face a little in the front. girls hair cut really short & spiked up in the back, with two long straightened peices in the front. keychains & bandanas are a big thing to...idk. i think everything is turning more into scene, then emo. but when it comes down to it, it's about music, & emotion. one time me & my friend were laying on her bed, spooning, listening to brand new. idk what song, but it was something really slow, & pretty, & we were like.. 'we're so emo' thats my defenetion [defenetion huh, if you ever find the definition of defenetion, let me know] thats what i think.
Emo is a gas station in Ireland.
THE DEFINATION [why is this such a hard word for people] OF EMO IS FALLEN AUGUST. see. www.grapefruitage.com/fallenaugust wow.
So half the people that have written e-mails are just making fun of emo kids and saying they are whiny pussies...I think the first e-mail is the MOST accurate...but who really can define it perfectly? I mean what draws the line between music classifications these days anyways? There are soooo many genres (i.e. post-hardcore, hardcore, metal-core, screamo, emo, emo-core, etc...) which makes an "emo kid" hard to define. Maybe they like wearing their sweaters and having their bangs in their face. You don't see them putting bandanas over their faces and throwing their limbs around all mimbly pimbly, or making fun at those who chose to do that. DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS, Ladies and Gentlemen...Let it rest... ~Carrie~ P.S. I am neither an emo kid, or a hardcore kid, I wouldn't classify myself as anything- just an unbiased opinion. LATER
As those of the emo-variety tend to find spirtual enlightenment and lifestyle guidance through song lyrics, I respectfully present to you the lyrics of a song that I feel speaks to this generation about what, exactly, "emo" is. Put your thick black-framed glasses back on, grab your little sister's sweater, tie up them Chuck Taylors, and turn down your Further Seems Forever CD while you read these lyrics. Don't think too hard -- just let them speak to you. Ready? Emo, emo Bo beemo, Banana fanna Fo feemo, Me my Mo meemo -- Emo!
I don't know how I got sucked in to reading all these fifteen-year-olds' definition's, nor do I truly care how wrong they might be. But for the record, the term "emo" was first used to describe the softer sounding punk bands, (more "emotional" vocals) in the early eighties, mainly coming out of the D.C. scene. i.e. Blackflag is to punk as Fugazi is to emo. -Dirt speaks the truth-
Emotional. Duh.
so i just finished reading everything here about what EMO is, but what people haven't realized is.. it doesn't matter, who cares ? if you give yourself a lable, you're already a poser anyway, you are just like everyone else. i say- listen to the music you like, do the things you normally would do without a cult, & don't generalize and stereotype. make your own style, music whateverthehell.
Hello! Emo is short for emoticons, you know those stupid smiley thingys that are all over the whole wide world web. And we all know that emoticons are secret allies with the decepticons, and have sworn an oath to destroy all transformers and go-bots. And then some dude was watching sesame street and sang a sad song about how sad snuffeluffugus always looks. Well they were counting with the count, and started to bob their head to the beat, and sing along to the song, and the next thing you know sesame street is over and Bravestar is on (don't act like you don't know who bravestar is.) I know who you are, you spend all day at your computer watching television with the radio on, just so can zone out the world for real. And then your mother tells you it's time to turn it off and go outside. And then you tell your mom that she's not your boss as you storm outside into the bright lights of nature. And it makes you sick the way nature imitates art, and so you spray paint "the grim reaper is my keeper" on the cardboard wall of your fort, and sit inside thinking of ways to conquer the world one personality at a time. And by now you are wondering what is up with the angrey people in the world, it is like the world is coming unglued at the seams, and people are crying, and people are dying, and you don't know what it all means. So eventually you will end up in front of your tv/computer/radio, trying to find out what the real world is all about, but you have to wait because there is a star wars movie coming out, and you need to by a stormtrooper outfit, but you just spent your last buck at that star trek convention on the moon. By the way your girlfriend just called and she says it is still hard. So you know it is time for a change of pace, and... [and what? I don't think we got everything, but what we did get, we like]
Okay, some people have gotten this confused with emu (the bird) or eno spelled wrong. I am sorry but you are both wrong. Emo has been a musical evolution. People think you can "dress" emo. No, it is NOT a style. It may reflect your personality but, otherwise no not a style so many confuse that!! Emo is short for emotional. The kids with emotional feelings don't know what to do with their life (something like this) and rely on their music with hard core, indie type feeling and powerful lyrics. Taking Back Sunday is a band they rely on. I have much emo music i rely on. It's not easy, and don't assume what we are, cause in the end you end up the poser but "trying" to be "emo". Yea, now it's understood. ~hidden.for.time. [wow, this is powerful, I think we have a true EMOer right here]
Emo is just a modern "style craze" that is ever so popular and apparent. Like the hippies -or- beatniks during the Woodstock era, the nu wavers and punk rockers of the 80's, the grunge kids during Nirvana, or the more recent indie and hxc kids. Now, we have emo kids. It's another small revolution in life's big circle of trends and fads. It's another opportunity for companies (such as this website) to capitalize on the pop culture (or underground pop culture). I mean... nowadays, it's pop to be "anti-pop". Emo is just forcing all the "metal kids" to be more metal and hate emo to the fullest extreme. There are mass groups of metal kids ganging up all over the internet to wipe out "emo". Will it ever happen? Probably not, but it will in turn bring birth to a new fad... [this gives me an idea, we'll start our own fad here at GSS and we'll get people selling our shirts on ebay under the description "emo punk indie graphic squirrelly t's, but their designs won't really have anything to do with our fad or style. that would be sweet] -tony-
"Emo", short for "emotional", is a sub-genre of a sub-genre of a sub-genre of alternative/punk rock. Songs that take on "emo" characteristics are more than often performed in a cried-out and/or energetic matter accompanied by poetic words of sorrow and self-defeat, sayings inside the mind but never out of mouth. Tales of love lost, unrequited love and love in mourning are also common subjects of these post-teeny-bopper ballads. "Emo" can also be classified as a particular style, where one is prone to dress and express how he/she is feeling. Vintage clothing, which seems to be worn often by "emo kids", reflects a run-down and torn view of one's inner-self. Some of the more oustandish qualities of "emo" include black hair, pale skin, tattooes, black and red/pink clothes, Chuck Taylor's, pictures taken at obscure and crooked angles, and lots of eyeliner. An emo kid's innermost anthem?: "The truth is you could slit my throat. And with my one last gasping breath I'd apologize for bleeding on your shirt." [applause] Lauren
Funny how you bring up the subject of the classification of Emo.. Well not to many people actually understand it or get the point most emo bands are trying to prove... and the word OBVIOUSLY evolved from the word emotional.. if you dont think so... your retarded and know nothing about music... It all kind of started when most of the hardcore punks and screemos tried something new.. including kind of a "math rock" a more complex emotional and very complicated form of music.. most of them have now become known to be whiney bitches but... the word is emotional and its used to express the shit these people go through... most of it is their life on a cd... it just so happens none of them have good lifes.. but do you make songs when your happy bout something? other than love? and can you make an emo sounding song about somehting like that? you dont usually sing that way when your happy.. haha... and so in this long email.. i present you the reason emo music is what it is.. and now-a-days it fits quite nicely with most of the teenagers because its become common to have world war III at home.. and this is the way out... music...
yeah, i don't think emo is whinney or sissy rock, but it does have a certain element to it. i agree that it is a style and a genre of music. i'm not so sure about the girl emo though, i thought they tended to wear flat shoes (low to the ground), jackets, band shirts, and have their hair dyed and layered funky- with off-cut bangs and such. but yeah, the guys seem to be nerd-like, with black rimmed glasses, straight legged pants, and tight shirts. but then what is indie? for a while i thought that the two went hand in hand. but then isn't emo a harder sound like coheed and cambria, and indie is more like belle & sebastian? i know that indie guys wear girl pants, but that's the only difference in style. indie girls wear skirts and more girly clothes with bright colors. but the style is rather alike in both.. -ad
emo is NOT wearing tight clothes, emo is NOT black horn rims, emo is NOT black hair... emo is NOT Dashboard Cofessional, emo is NOT Taking Back Sunday, emo is NOT The Used... i`ll give you an example of some REAL emo bands today: Transistor/Transistor A Day In Black And White City Of Caterpillar Bright Calm Blue Hot Cross oh btw... most of them look like they belong in the hardcore scene, and some of them are just normal people :-)
I think emo is something that people make way too big a deal out of... [yeah, like the time when puzzle fighter 2 was, like, my life, I'd close my eyes and see those freakin cubes everywhere]
emo is just emotional punk. its not whiny and its not pussy either. its just a toned down version of punk music. its just made by people who want to use their voice to sing instead of ruin it by screaming. its just for people who want to relax or to help them think not cut themselves and cry all the time. i dont know where the hell you get that idea but the cutting part comes with death metal. along with cutting other people. dorks dont sing emo btw so no thick framed glasses and no sisters' sweaters. its just slower and more melodic punk music and so what if its all about problems. some hardcore songs are about a problem but nobody classifies them as pussies or dorks. there isnt a damn thing wrong with emo music and there's nothing wrong with the people that listen to it.
the same kids who were only seven years ago listening to a band consisting of five males crooning about life, love, bad spelling, and obscene amounts of hair gel (think n*sync), have not progressed to bands consisting of approximately five males that sound like they down laundry detergent on a regular basis as they scream/sing their life story, as seen on a hallmark card; while also wearing shirts similar to, if not the same, ones their fans wore while attending these n*sync concerts in the first place. a coincidence? i think not. there are some exceptions, but really, alot of emo band members possess 1/5 of musical talent, which meshed all together and pumped out crappy sound equipment so that the static hides the horrendous vocals, equals the cooperative effort of 1 decently talented musician. hey, good job! want a cookie? no really, take it before i shove it down your throat. i find it sickening that you're wearing a two year old's t-shirt. please do us all a favor and start eating. another thing. now that emo is perpetually ridiculed, you shape-shifters got wise, and a sort of hybrid trend has surfaced that some consider "indie". this claim is counterfeit, of course. indie has become emo in denial. just because you listen to death cab for cutie (saw it on the O.C. didn't you?!) and watched garden state, it does not make you a person of significant social dissent. if you're going to be emo, own it! quit raping my social label of choice! now, if you'll excuse me, i'll get back to my foreign film while i chain smoke and write beat poetry. [and excuse me while I laugh at your email and eat banana pudding] faith. p.s. (questions, comments, and caustic remarks may be submitted to my screen name: rocket ecstatic)