"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.
af Chelsea 2. marts 2005
The next generation of mass marketed personality. Like all those fads before it, the naive audience too swept up in temporary acceptance, beleive will last forever. No fad ever maintains its "identity" past the time it takes for one to grow up and look back on childhood pictures and see what a tool they were. Anyone who beleives emo is anything more than a marketing device is too ignorant to search for their real identity. As of late, the "technology generation" has subconciously accepted their place as a demographic, and willingly accept the exploitation and leadership by psuedo music artists and fasion designers.
Bobby: Me and my girlfriend broke up, i think im going to kill myself in a wild, dramatic car accident, if only my eyes weren't too fogged with tears.
Grown-up: You want something to cry about, try being $300 in debt, and $500 behind on cable/gas/electric bills. All the while being asked for dollars and ciggarettes by some urban trash on the way to your apartment.
af Sparky Dog 19. august 2005
How to be emo:

Wear only skinny jeans or old, crappy, tight, cut-up jeans. Wear tight shirts that you can barely get over your head. If after getting dressed you can't breathe and look like a hobo, you've done it right. No shoes but low-top Converse or slip-on Vans are acceptable. Anything out of Hot Topic will do.

Dye your hair with the cheapest, least-convincing black dye you can find. Nothing over 99 cents. Fix it so that you look like you just rolled out of bed then walked through a hurricane and lost a fight with a lawn mower.

Peirce everything you can reach, and put in the largest, ugliest rings you can find.

Dark, thick makeup is key in the emo world. Never leave the house without putting on globs and globs of badly-put-on black eyeliner. Extreme amounts of bright pink eyeshadow is optional.

Now that we've covered the emo look, it's time to teach you to act the part of an emo, so the others won't think of you as a poser.

Flip your hair vigorously every ten seconds. If your neck is broken at the end of the day, good job.

Whine about your pathetic life every chance you get, (twice as much if your parents are divorced) but never reveal that you live in saburbia. If asked where you reside, say something emo like, "The depths of living hell", "The home of sorrow", or some other pussy shit like that.

Always have your MySpace mood set to "apathetic," and make sure to have about 986730865734567349576 pictures of yourself with extremely emo captions that have plenty of X's. It is necessary to be a MySpace whore, and to beg for picture comments in a bulletin every ten minutes.

Only listen to emo bands such as Dashboard Confessional, My Chemical Romance, ect. If there is an extremely popular emo band at your school, say that you like them even if you don't.

Make it widely known that you cut yourself every night with a razorblade while listening to emo music. If ever asked why, say something stupid like, "I cut myself to stay ALIVE! You would NEVER understand!" Then run away crying, even if you are not upset.

Finally, always deny that you are emo. Claim to be scene, goth, or a "non-conformist." But always keep in mind that you are, and always will be, a pussy little emo fag.
Emo kid: My life is a big black whole of sorrow and nothingness. My razorblade is the only thing that lets me know I am still alive.

Normal kid: Fuck you, emo.

Emo kid: Oh em gee! I'm not emo! I'm SCENE!

Normal kid: What's the difference?

Emo kid: You don't UNDERSTAND! Why does nobody get me!?!?! *Runs away crying and cutting himself, preparing to post this event on his blog.*
af Disasterpiece 2. januar 2008
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.
af benth 21. august 2008
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.
af Sapnotaja 5. marts 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.
af //ErikKastles// 21. januar 2009
Emo is whatever you think it is, its different for everyone.
That emo is all depressed and stuff, while that emo is all happy, and that emo is just plain strange.
af HappyEmo 27. januar 2008
1. E-mos, commonly found reciprocating in livejournals, exclusive/uber-trendy chatrooms, myspace, or your local Starbucks with their wireless mac laptop
(Let it be noted that whether the E-mo uses myspace, they will have a vast quantity of pictures, mostly of themselves posing...somehow.)
1a. Aside from computer proficiency, they maintain the same characteristics of an emo or hipster
1. "id0pa: Hey, emo kid!
Auto response from Rachelle: how sad this is what your life has been reduced to, a single room apartment containing no more than a mattress. how sad the strings have been removed from the blinds and all the outlets have been painted over. the television screen is streaked with blood smeared from your knuckles as you were trying to punch it out but you underestimated its strength. or maybe you just weren't trying hard enough. startled by a knock at the door you rise for the first time in two days to answer, but you can only greet the visitor with one short statement. hello my first name is distance and i really don't care if i never wake up again. hello my name is distance and i really don't care if i never wake up again. hello i really don't care if i never wake up again. i really don't care if i never wake up again.
Id0pa: You don't say!"

2. "xiwishiwascoolx: lets mosh and hold hands at the same time"
af id0pa 13. december 2004

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