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What Is Emo?

So what is emo, well emo means ’emotional’.

But thats not the end of it, Emo is a slang term thats short for emotional but theres much more to it than that. No one who calls themselves emo claims they are emotional and thats all that is to them. Emo are pretty deep people and to use the term emo as emotional would be wrong.

Emo is actually a subculture of Punk which has changed and evolved over time and still continues to do so.

The emos of yesterday were the emotive hardcore, a form of punk developed out in D.C in the 80s. Emotive hardcore was shortened to emo after first of all being shortened to emocore, or emotional hardcore. The name was coined by hardcore punk rock bands who wanted to separate themselves from other punk bands who were popular at the time by adding an emotional element to their music. Most punk of the 70s and 80s focused on the government and the establishment, whilst the emocore wanted to go further.

Producing songs about sadness, love and angst that were delt with in their lyrics and characterised by the dramatic lead vocals that were felt by the audience. Emo today is often considered pretentious or whiny but emocore was the exact opposite, extremely tough and hard with a deal with it attitude.

The emo culture developed through the 90s and into the earl 2000s, kicking off in a big way around 2002 to 2003 and reaching its height of popularity around 2010. At the time of writing it is still extremely popular but is also changing again.

Emo by 2003 had taken a whole new generation of teenagers by storm who loved over melodramatic lyrics and a style of dress just as important as their music taste. Many teenagers will dress a certain emo way of which there are many sub-genres from the skinny jeans to bleach blond hair and anyone who does that without liking emo bands is deemed a faker or scene. They want to fit into the scene but for all the wrong reasons. Emo is very brand obsessed as well where as before being brand-less was the main thing.

Emo is now more than just the music, its culture, fashion, style, behaviour, perspective and attitude. Liking emo bands like My Chemical Romance does not make you emo, dressing in tight jeans and having black hair doesn’t make you emo. It is now everything combined. Emo music now covers a wide range of bands from My Chemical Romance who sing about death and love to Weezer who are a more upbeat band.

At the end of the day its hard to say what emo now is as it is constantly evolving. Guys who used to wear skinny jeans now wear shirts and ties. Girls who wore bright red lipstick now hide their faces behind long flowing hair.

One thing emo is though is the music. Filled with passionate angst filled lyrics, emo will always be about this type of music, no matter how people dress.

So check out our guide to being emo by first of all checking out the ten best emo bands out there.