What the Heck is “Emo” Anyway?

Andy helped to explain some of these categories: “Emo-punk: emotional pop-punk. All these bands are on the radio; bands like New Found Glory and Saves The Day, they’re emotional pop-punk. They’re the ones with more of a poppy, happier sound to them. Emo core and screamo is the mixture of hardcore and emo with a lot of screaming and heavy riffs and everything, with really slow emotional breakdowns.”

So, the simple definition is that emo is a genre of independent rock that came from punk and hardcore, and was named for it’s semi-ironic emotional content through hard-hitting guitar and vocals. Weezer among others helped define the look (reluctantly…more on that in Part II), and the Get Up Kids among others helped define the sound.

Michael Verzella tries to make the distinction clear though: “Remember that Weezer is indie rock. [The Get Up Kids] had a softer sound, which was why everyone started calling it emo. It has a style that’s similar, yet different.” He calls their first EP, “All-Stars” (especially the song “Woodsen”), the defining moment of emo.

So while Weezer may not actually be emo, they somehow gave it the trendy look it has today, though they might kill me—or themselves—for saying it. And as for the Get Up Kids, says Andy: “[they] probably wouldn’t want to be called emo. In fact…their new album is more of this classicy-rock kind of feel. And I really don’t like it, it’s horrible, but I think they’re just realizing the same thing everybody else is: that emo’s becoming such a trend and they want to try and do something different.”

Part II

Part III

By Thea Cooke Posted in Features