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View Full Version : Explain to me again what emo is?


BigGameHunter
28-06-2004, 19:04:41
I want definitions, examples, timelines, etc.

Can anything that might be emo be good?
Or, conversely, is there anything good that is emo?

Or if something is emo, is it automatically crap?

Gramercy Riffs
28-06-2004, 19:06:19
No
No

Yes

Immortal Wombat
28-06-2004, 19:50:26
Originally posted by Gramercy Riffs
No
No

Yes
No

Asher
28-06-2004, 19:51:11
Yes
Yes, Something Corporate & Dashboard Confessional
No.

Emo is simply emotionally charged music. Poetic in a way, a lot of them tell a story kinda like folk, but not.

It started off as a mix of punk & hardcore and sorta progressed from there.

eg, Konstantine by Something Corporate
I can't imagine all the people that you know
and the places that you go
when the lights are turned down low
and I don't understand all the things you've seen
but i'm slipping inbetween
you and your big dreams
it's always you
in my big dreams

and you tell me that it's over
wake up lying in a patch of four leaf clovers
and your restless, and i'm naked
you've gotta get out
you can't stand to see me shaking
no
could you let me go?
I didn't think so

and you don't wanna be here in the future
so you say the present's just a pleasent interruption to the past
and you don't wanna look much closer
cuz your afraid to find out all this hope
you had sent into the sky by now had crashed
and it did
because of me

and then you bring me home
afraid to find out that you're alone
and i'm sleeping in your living room
but we don't have much room to live

I had these dreams that i learned to play guitar
maybe cross the country
become a rock star
and there was hope in me that i could take you there
but dammit you're so young
well i don't think i care
and if i hurt you
then i'm sorry
please don't think that this was easy

then you bring me home
cuz we both know what it's like to be alone
and i'm dreaming in your living room
but we don't have much room to live

and konstantine is walking down the stairs
doesn't she look good
standing in her underwear
and i was thinking
what i was thinking
we've been drinking and it doesn't get me anywhere

my Konstantine came walking down the stairs
and all that i could do is touch her long blonde hair
and i've been thinking
it hurts me thinking that these nights
when we were drinking no they never got us anywhere
no

this is because i can spell konfusion with a k
and i like it
it's to dying in another's arms and why I had to try it
it's to jimmy eat world and those nights in my car
when the first star you see may not be a star
I'm not your star
isn't that what you said
what you thought this song meant

and if this is what it takes
just to lie in my mistakes
and live with what i did to you
and all the hell I put you through
I always catch the clock
it's 11:11
and now you want to talk
it's not hard to dream
you'll always be my konstantine

konstantine, they'll never hurt you like i do
no they'll never hurt you like i do
no, no, no no no no no no

this is to a girl who got into my head
with all the pretty things she did
hey
you know
you keep me up in bed
this is to a girl who got into my head
with all the fucked up things i did
hey
maybe
baby
you could keep me up in bed
my Konstantine
spin around me like a dream we played out on this movie screen
and i said
did you know i missed you? [x7]
oh god i miss you

and then you bring me home
and we'll go to sleep, but this time, not alone, no no
and you'll kiss me in your living room
i know
you'll miss me in your living room
cuz these nights i think maybe that i'll miss you in my living room
we don't have much room
i said does anybody need that room?
because we all need a little more room
to live

my Konstantine

and Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional:
Breathe in for luck, breathe in so deep
This air is blessed, you share with me
This night is wild, so calm and dull
These hearts they race from self-control
Your legs are smooth as they graze mine
We're doing fine, we're doing nothing at all.

My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me
So won't you kill me, so I die happy
My heart is yours, to fill or burst
to break or bury, or wear as jewelry
Whichever you prefer

The words are hushed, let's not get busted,
Just lay entwined here undiscovered.
Safe in here from all the stupid questions..
"hey did you get some?"
Man, that is so dumb.
Stay quiet, stay near, stay close
they can't hear, so we can get some.

My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me
So won't you kill me, so I die happy
My heart is yours, to fill or burst
To break or bury, or wear as jewelry
Whichever you prefer

Hands down, this is the best day I can ever remember
I'll always remember the sound of the stereo,
The dim of the soft lights, the scent of your hair
That you twirled in your fingers
And the time on the clock when we realized it's so late
And this walk that we shared together
The streets were wet and the gate was locked
So I jumped it, and let you in
And you stood at your door with your hands on my waist
And you kissed me like you meant it
And I knew that you meant it
That you meant it, that you meant it
And I knew that you meant it, that you meant it.

King_Ghidra@home
28-06-2004, 22:10:56
Originally posted by Asher

Emo is simply emotionally charged music. Poetic in a way, a lot of them tell a story kinda like folk, but not.

Not really true. The bit you mention later about being a mix of punk and hardcore or something is important, because if it was just being emotionally charged then emo would encompass like 50% of all music ever made, whereas in fact emo specifically refers to a sub genre of guitar music.

And BGH, as far as i'm concerned, for 'emotionally charged' you can normally read 'emotionally immmature'. But as Asher kindly provided the Dawson's-creekesque lyrics already, you can probably work that out for yourself.

BigGameHunter
28-06-2004, 22:25:26
Hmmm...emotionally immature sure seems like a very subjective term.

King_Ghidra@home
28-06-2004, 22:27:17
no shit

BigGameHunter
28-06-2004, 22:34:30
See, now that's not helpful at all.

Someone please list pure crap emo bands; bands on the edge of emo and good; bands that "should" be emo but are too good to brand that way.

I.E. what column do the following fall in:
Wilco
Built to Spill
Fugazi
eerrr...Coldplay?
Belle and Sebastian
etc...

Asher
29-06-2004, 01:57:17
Originally posted by King_Ghidra@home
And BGH, as far as i'm concerned, for 'emotionally charged' you can normally read 'emotionally immmature'. But as Asher kindly provided the Dawson's-creekesque lyrics already, you can probably work that out for yourself.
Emotionally immature meaning people who actually think about relationships rather than bagging the nearest chick?

King_Ghidra@home
29-06-2004, 06:53:53
if that's what you think the only two options are i can understand why you think those lyrics are so good

King_Ghidra@home
29-06-2004, 07:01:42
Originally posted by BigGameHunter

Wilco
Built to Spill
Fugazi
eerrr...Coldplay?
Belle and Sebastian
etc...

never heard of the first two

but none of fugazi onwards would be called emo as i understand it. Emo only arrived on the scene a few years back. I don't think bands are being retrospectively labelled as emo (although i wouldn't put it past journalists).

i think you are overestimating the range and number of these emo bands. As i said, it is basically a new sub-genre of guitar music, and one that is somewhat over-represented in it's fan base by posters on this board.

Debaser
29-06-2004, 09:45:38
I quite like most of what I've heard by Rival Schools, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Juliana Theory, Hundred Reasons, The Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World (Some bands I've heard more by than others).

Like KG said, emo is basically a sub-genre of guitar music. Emo bands are basically not too far removed from Dookie era Green Day or the first Foo Fighters album, but with the band members pretending to read Catcher in the Rye all day and never having sex.

This should help you decide if your emo or not... Am I Emo? (http://www.rundevilrun.com/ezine/emo.gif)

Try listening to The Mars Volta, At The Drive In or Explosions in the Sky. They are all a bit like emo, but better.

Scabrous Birdseed
29-06-2004, 09:50:31
Wilco no. Built to Spill would possibly border on but don't come from the right environment. Fugazi no, Coldplay no, BS no.

"Emo" is a community description mostly it's a subgenre based on a subculture, that of "emotional melodious hardcore" or whatever it was called originally. Emo kids are pretty much all teens, dress a certain way, act a certain way, evaluate music in a certain way. The most obvious analogy is "Goth" a musical genre encompassing everything from power ballads to synth-pop but with a common attitude. In case of Emo, this attitude is "I'm a snotty, spoilt and angsty teenager from the middle-class suburbs, I think I'm clever, yet I idolise languid and moronic mid-nineties pop-punk."

protein
29-06-2004, 11:55:59
Somebody please kill me. That's twice I've agreed with Scabby now.

As far as I can tell Emo is when some kids get guitars and try to make music as formulaic and unoriginal as possible in a distorted screamy way. The sort of thing you'd like as a young teenager and then strongly deny ever liking whan your musical tastes grew up.

Debaser
29-06-2004, 11:58:15
Like songs about monkeys?

Nav@work
29-06-2004, 12:13:56
it takes emotional maturity to write songs about immature subjects..

Mr. Bas
29-06-2004, 12:19:37
As this thread nicely illustrates, a lot of people have different ideas of what is emo... I also think that the meaning of emo has changed a lot in time. Originally, emo started as a hardcore/punk-related thing somewhere in the mid 80's, by bands that focused on personal issues instead of political or social commentary. Bands like Rites Of Spring, Husker Du and Fugazi are often cited as the first emo bands, but especially in the case of Fugazi I'd disagree... These are actually quite good bands, but unfortunately what's nowadays called emo is more derivative of pop-punk like Weezer and Green Day. I suppose in the original meaning, it can still encompass bands as different as Converge, Drive Like Jehu, Deftones and Jimmy Eat World, but I'd say only the last one would really be emo in the sense most people use it... And Scabby is spot on about emo in the current sense.

As for the list, I'm not too familiar with the genre and it's a bit harsh to use emo and good as polar opposites, but I'll give it a try anyway...

Crap emo are, well, the whiny pop-punk bands that take themselves way too seriously, think Jimmy Eat World, the Ataris, etc.
Decent emo-ish bands: Weezer, Rival Schools, At The Drive-In
Great bands with some emo component: Husker Du, Drive Like Jehu, Converge, Fugazi

Gary
29-06-2004, 12:50:47
And I thought it made your whites whiter, with a new bluey whiteness you've never seen before.

BigGameHunter
29-06-2004, 15:55:17
Aaaaah...so, whereas Jazz is Jazz (with some bad types thrown in) and Blues is Blues and Rock is Rock, "emo" is pretty much a subjective title doled out to bands that can be loosely qualified as "alternative" but that are considered by the true hipster to be "gay, diluted, derivative, lame".
Let's use a Standardized Testing analogy, shall we?
Ratt is to Metal what Green Day is to Punk (glam & emo)
with the more accurate analogy being:
Black Sabbath is to Metal what Dead Kennedy's are to Punk .

zmama
29-06-2004, 16:19:25
Ya know they're taking the analogies out of the SATs!!!! They were my favorite part. Too many stupid people whining "but they're too hard! "

Gary
29-06-2004, 17:00:15
Really ? you think that's typical of the general population ? Probably explains why, when I use an analogy to get a simple concept over to someone who just doesn't seem to have a clue, it's still seems too hard for them to understand.

It's like trying to teach pork.

BigGameHunter
29-06-2004, 17:57:21
Exactly. Or, at the very least, pork loin.

Damn...good thing I took it way back when...that section was the only one I did well on. Unfortunately, there were no scholarships for analogists.

*End Is Forever*
29-06-2004, 18:54:05
I think Johan does have a point in that "emo" is as much a community - albeit a rather loose one - as it ever has been a genre of music. Perhaps it might help to compare it to the garage rock craze of a couple of years ago, where bands with nothing more than loose connections either musically or geographically were lumped together, but other bands with perhaps better links were "left out". As such, I'd never really consider bands like Green Day "emo" - probably as much a result of "timing" (when they made it big) as anything else - even though they've occupied pretty much the same territory on occasion.

If you look at "emo" as a community - that is, what something who'd unashamedly call themselves it would probably tell you! - then you do very much start with bands like Fugazi and the Descendents in the eighties. There's more than a nod to the Smiths, as well, though for some reason Morrissey and company get recognised as an influence without ever being dragged into the genre debate itself - possibly because it would otherwise annoy all the snobbish indie kids.

(As an aside, did anyone read the review of this album (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002CA2AE/ref=sr_aps_music_1_1/026-7440008-7248436) in Metro the other day? A good comparison of the "emo" view of the Smiths, contrasted with the indie-kid Smiths fans view of emo).

(cont...)

Debaser
29-06-2004, 19:01:19
Is that album any good? The prospect of Smiths songs (good) without Morrissey's voice (a bit annoying) sounds interesting.

*End Is Forever*
29-06-2004, 19:12:05
Part of the problem is that "emo" does actually genuinely genre-cross. I've always considered bands like Bright Eyes, Built To Spill and Death Cab For Cutie part of the "emo" community, but the indie-kids would probably claim them just the same. Likewise, you might drop bands like The*Ataris into the emo fold (I, personally, wouldn't actually), but not other pop-punk acts like Good Charlotte or Sum-41. At the end of the day, I don't think it fits any known logic at all.

If I was pushed to give a definition, there are probably two types of music you'd actually genre-class as "emo" - one, the pop-punk/indie-rock hybrid that Jimmy Eat World perfectly before Bleed American, and two, the remnants of screamy post-hardcore, largely personified in Britain in the shape of Funeral For A Friend.

Lazarus and the Gimp
29-06-2004, 19:13:12
Originally posted by BigGameHunter

I.E. what column do the following fall in:
Wilco
Built to Spill
Fugazi
eerrr...Coldplay?
Belle and Sebastian
etc...

Wilco = alt-country, but lately more like left-field rock.

Built to spill- Never heard them.

Fugazi- Hardcore.

Coldplay- Nicerock. A label I made up myself, and I doubt it's used much, but it fits.

Belle and Sebastian- Twee Indie.

*End Is Forever*
29-06-2004, 19:14:13
Originally posted by Debaser
Is that album any good? The prospect of Smiths songs (good) without Morrissey's voice (a bit annoying) sounds interesting.

I don't know... I don't even know half of the bands on it. Try downloading something, or stump up the whole ten quid it costs? :)

BigGameHunter
29-06-2004, 19:21:43
No one here is making much of a case for "emo" as a quantifiable term.
Let's put it this way, IMO, in it's era, contrasted to other bands getting play, people like James Taylor and Cat Stevens would have been emo. Emo, it seems, really seems to indicate a type of music that, regardless of genre, is kind of wimpy and appeals more to the 12 yo girl or boy just warming up mom and dad's ATM card in Tower Records for the first time than the 20 to 30 something listeners that have formed hard opinions about good music and crap with the occasional somewhat excuseable guilty pleasure like old REM or the Cure.
It's a perjorative for mass produced, dumbed down fashion rock...?
Like most glam acts were ass sucking fruits (Ratt, Stryper, et. al) and yet you'd never acuse Bowie of that in his glam stage as he was a musician with staying power and was in the first wave of the movement, however much it may have sucked in retrospect.

*End Is Forever*
29-06-2004, 19:31:49
I wouldn't call Bright Eyes or Death Cab For Cutie "fashion rock"...

BigGameHunter
29-06-2004, 19:48:08
So emo is fringey enough not to be mainstream pop (i.e., vastly marketed) but poppy enough not to be alt-rock? And it has to be wimpy and kind of suck?

zmama
29-06-2004, 19:57:37
That sounds like a good description.

I basically don't give a shit and listen to whatever I like :D

Mr. Bas
30-06-2004, 12:07:26
Hmmm... Emo may very well be poppy, but it's not necessary at all. A common trait in most emo bands is the fact that they take themselves enormously serious, which is also one of the reasons IMO why Green Day is generally not considered emo.

protein
30-06-2004, 12:58:57
Nicerock! That's pretty good.

paiktis22
30-06-2004, 13:38:40
Originally posted by BigGameHunter
So emo is fringey enough not to be mainstream pop (i.e., vastly marketed) but poppy enough not to be alt-rock? And it has to be wimpy and kind of suck?

I think that's a good description.

Immortal Wombat
30-06-2004, 15:05:23
I agree. Pop-punk that isn't funny.

Lazarus and the Gimp
30-06-2004, 16:17:46
Emo has guitars.

Emo is sung by white males, probably with a decent education.

Emo is very, very earnest.

Emo does not crack knob gags.

Emo talks about feelings.

Emo is introspective.

Emo values the agonised scream over the poisonous riposte.

Emo is a wallow in someone else's angst.

Emo is not folky singer-songwriter.

When in a Holiday Inn, Emo does not throw the TV out of the window. Emo writes a poem about how empty the experience is, and leaves a tearful message on someone's answerphone.

Emo doesn't get much sex, because Emo spends too much time brooding about all those lost times and missed opportunities.

Emo has more melodies than Hardcore.

Lazarus and the Gimp
30-06-2004, 16:18:34
I think Husker Du may have been the ancestor of Emo.

BigGameHunter
30-06-2004, 18:43:25
Emo is not angry, but Emo is bitter.

Asher
30-06-2004, 18:54:38
Dashboard Confessional reminds me a lot of REM.

But maybe that's just because on the DVD I have, they're performing together and convering eachother's songs.

Lazarus and the Gimp
30-06-2004, 20:36:02
That makes sense. They both suck monstrously.

In fairness, REM did one song I liked. In a 20 year+ career.

Asher
30-06-2004, 20:36:43
Which song?

Lazarus and the Gimp
30-06-2004, 20:56:42
"Sweetness follows"

Funkodrom
03-07-2004, 12:12:14
History of Emo:

http://www.fourfa.com/history.htm

More modern context:

http://www.jimdero.com/OtherWritings/Other%20emo.htm

Everyone hates the name Emo though.

Provost Harrison
10-07-2004, 00:11:28
I wish people wouldn't sully the name of The Smiths with that emo moniker...

BigGameHunter
11-07-2004, 07:36:14
I tried to engage one of my more musically astute friends in the whole emo debate...he recounted a recent argument with another fellow that was based on this guy's assertation that Fugazi were the precursors of Emo (or one of them). If that's the kind of wrong thinking that's going on in the debate I guess it is still relatively raw and unformed.
Then he started talking about "math rock" and lost me completely.

Mr. Bas
11-07-2004, 13:43:58
I wouldn't say Fugazi were the precursors of emo, but some of its members were in Rites of Spring, which is commonly considered as the first emo band. Still, what's nowadays called emo often has more to do with Sunny Day Real Estate and Weezer than with Fugazi.

Math rock, eh? I suppose he was referring to stuff like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge and Today Is The Day, which is very loud, complex metal-oriented hardcore, at least those are the kind of bands I'd think of. Good stuff, although they occasionally tend to be a bit unlistenable.