Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Saturday, August 20, 2005

What is EMO?

Please! Make them stop!!!

We live in a generation where music has been classified into 'genres'. Throughout history, music has grown so diverse that it is impossible to keep all the albums in one stackpile and arrange them alphabetically. During my parents' generation there were only a handful of musical genres which included folk, rock, jazz, classical, and disco. The 80's introduced New Wave, Punk, Rap and Heavy Metal. The 90's gave us Alternative, Grunge, House and Trance without asking our permission. The new millenium has had the decency of crapping on us more musical genres like Chillout and NuMetal. Then I heard about EMO.
Usually, it was I who gets to answer questions from my friends about which band or singer belongs to which genre. I could usually slot each artist into its genre like Miller on the three-point range. But now, Im stumped with this EMO thing.
I once asked a workmate what EMO really is. And what constitutes this musical genre. He said that it was a genre that dealt more with content rather than style. The lyrics and melodies and chords are more melancholy and sullen, in other words "emotional" therefore, EMO. I stared at him like a dog through a glass window in bioresearch. Though I laud his very thourough and articulate description and definition of this enigmatic musical genre, I was never more confused in my life.

I used to openly proclaim that I hated EMO. Because my initial understanding of what EMO was is found in

Punk music on estrogen. Often acoustic guitar with soft, high male vocals that dwell exessively on the singer's feelings, especially melancholy remembrances of past relationships/mistakes in life. A form of music that diverged from punk in the '80s, the name "emo" is derived from the emotive style of the lyrics and music. This genre has lately been marketed heavily by the music industry to teenagers with bands such as Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday, and has seen much commercial and mainstream success. The music has also spawned a subculture which conforms to certain conventions in dress such as tight sweatshirts, tight band T-shirts and horn-rim glasses. Adherents profess to exessively melancholy temperments.

These are the kind of bands I was referring to in one of my earlier blog entries, Our Generation. This refers to people with no 'real' problems and just hate everything for no reason. My mom and dad refer to this as noise (but they're into The Beatles and a lot of early rock). I later learned it as EMO.

Then again, if my friend was right, EMO would also include bands like Incubus, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, heck, even Simon and Garfunkel would be classified as EMO.

Another great definition:

"Like a Goth, only much less dark and much more Harry Potter".

My favorite definiton of EMO is this:

EMO = (e-mo); Emu spelled incorrectly.

i.e. "That emo sure is fast!"


Anonymous gogo_yubari said...

EMO = Emotional.
It's punk with a heart. :)

11:58 AM

Blogger pasahero said...

Music in itself is Emo(tional) or a process of making your emotion/s (read: message/s) heard, Punk music included. You see, you can feel an emotion just by stomping your feet, clapping, and even a simple tap on a table.

For me, the term is just meant for consumption (capitalist urge to rake in more profit) and in a way discrimating other types of music.

2:27 PM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

Gogo; Thanks Gogo. Punk with a heart? How about RnB with nihilism? Hehehe.

Pasahero; Its hard to pigeonhole a song or artist to a genre based on the lyrical, sometimes even the musdical content of the songs. I do agree with you that this EMO thing is a coinage brought about by MTV and similar influential music authorities with the intent of grouping a certain demographic market. In other words, Kalokohan yang pa EMO, EMO na yan!

6:14 AM

Anonymous pimpstar said...

i beg to differ. i have different tastes in (rock) music, from grunge, to punk, to nu & death metal, and yes, even to emo (or what they coin as emo).

i must admit though that emo has gone mainstream (thanks again mtv for ruining it). there was a time when greasy hair, tight tees and dirty sneakers wasn't "cool". but everyone seem to be sporting the look nowadays.

and no, i don't follow the good charlotte and simple plan type boyband, punk-wannabe's. i follow the high-pitched, incoherent-screaming type known as "screamo" (ha, more sub-genres for you! lol!)

1:46 AM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

pimpstar: Thanks. MTV has a way of ruining really good music. I just don't see the point of genre-lizing music based on what the artist feels in his songs. It's too general. e di naging EMO na lahat, pati si Barbra Streisand!

I'm sure Lost Prophets and Yellowcard hadn't thought of naming their music EMO.
Blame MTV, I guess for coining such a stupid word for a stupid genre.

6:39 AM

Blogger jowch said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:27 AM

Blogger jowch said...

I'm with you pol, I fucking hate EMO the first time i heard the term...

WTF?!?!?! punk with a heart??? any other punk group who claims themselves as punk after the 70's are just flamingly gay....

I think EMO is the root of all things BADUY.

5:28 AM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

jowch: Baduy as in! Nakakainis pa. Andaming sinasakop ng EMOng yan. One of my buds told me that Coldplay eas EMO. WTF?? Coldplay? They were around even before EMO came screwing us in the backside.

I hate the fact that they try to encompass the genre with all the actual cool stuff. Kanya-kanya na lang!

6:03 AM

Blogger jowch said...

yeah pare, buisit talaga ang music industry ngayon, di na tulad nung dati... panay gimmicks na lang para kumita ng pera... lahat ng mga legends nagsesellout na (like metallica)

12:45 AM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

jowch: Sinabi mo pa (about Metallica). They lost a lot of good fans because of that Napster thingy.

6:01 AM

Anonymous ~tin~ said...

i still don't get what emo is. hehehehehehehehe!

but one thing's for sure... coldplay, incubus, rhcp, pearl jam and nirvana are not emo... i repeat, they are not emo. i just can't say the same for simon & garfunkel! (hehehe. kidding.)

basta, lito pa rin ako. =) but i'm going with the 'goth with a little harry potter' definition of it.

7:17 PM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

tin: Hahaha. Loved the link! Might even post it one of these days!

Ya I'm sure RHCP, Nirvana and the rest are not EMO. I'm just proving a point that this EMO genre is just a s lost as a duck in a chicken fight.

5:29 AM


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