March 30, 2001 5:43 AM   Subscribe

Emo. ...Metal. Grunge. Alt. Rock. Pop. Folk. Rap. Blues. Rhythm & Blues. Country & Western. Gaze & Veg. Goth. Trance. Edge. Old School. New School. East Coast. West Coast. Pre-Punk. Post-Punk. Punk. Indie. Core. Emocore. Hardcore Emo. Post-Emo Indie Rock. Post-Emocore Pre-Punk Apocolyptic Pop Jizz Softcore Jesusfreak Liquid Splatter Metal. Guitar-Driven Jazz-Infused Lite-Oasis Serial Death Addictive Jump Swing Rap Twang-Blues... [Insert a very long blood curdling scream here.]
posted by ZachsMind (28 comments total)
Oooh, I love it. I was at a show recently with my much cooler sister, and she made a comment about all the emo guys around. I asked her what that was but of course she just rolled her eyes.

Maybe a better link is to the main page.

Can't wait to get my first Assfactor 4 record.
posted by u.n. owen at 5:54 AM on March 30, 2001

I have gone, U.N. Owen, to the site you suggested and found a guy with a hair style like Pee Wee Herman's and the face of a Mick Jagger.
Do these groups play weddings and bar mitzvahs?
posted by Postroad at 6:03 AM on March 30, 2001

They might, you could ask them. But whatever you do, don't invite the webmaster.
posted by u.n. owen at 6:08 AM on March 30, 2001

Is emo still supposed to be cool?

Actually, if you peel back the layers of pretension, there are some nice people making good emo music around.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:09 AM on March 30, 2001

I had a game I played with some friends of mine where we would go to the MFA in Boston and look for the most emo portrait of Jesus.

(I dig Unwound, and I have no idea where that page is coming from saying that they're an emo band. Possibly they have some early records that I haven't head.)
posted by snarkout at 7:12 AM on March 30, 2001

They do, snarkout. Self-titled on Honeybear, and early 7"s, before they added Sara as drummer and "mellowed out" somewhat. The later stuff [New Plastic Ideas and forward, imho], around the time they embraced the decline of humanity, is much better..

This guy's website is a riot. It's quite Cali-centric [I live in DC, and there's a lot he missed]. But generally I agree with the analysis, if not so much the need for analysis. Anyway, I've long ago given up my pretentions, trying to explain the difference between "emo" when it meant kids in thick plastic glasses, rolling around on the floor in a tangle of guitar cords, screaming their guts out.. and whatever current pop-trend they've wrapped "emo" around today. But at least I'll always have my Indian Summer and Shotmaker records to remember this by.
posted by legibility at 7:23 AM on March 30, 2001

I don't get it. What's wrong with emo? Or is the complaint that nobody is allowed to develop a style/genre/identity that's not officially sanctioned by [insert oppressive cultural hegemony phrase here]*? Or is it one of those something-is-happening-here-but-you-don't-know-what-it-is-do-you-Mister-Jones things?

*I was gonna say Baby Boomers, but your villain may vary.
posted by rodii at 7:26 AM on March 30, 2001

A lot of the people who are into and perform emo are remarkably pretentious gits, Rodii, even by indie rock standards. Plus, making fun of angst is a time-honored tradition, dating back at least to Young Werther and probably to the Paleolithic. ("Woman of Og have left him. He chip flint and mutter about bleakness of life. Ha ha ha!")

But I'm listening to an Elephant 6 band right now, so I'm probably not a reliable source of information.
posted by snarkout at 7:53 AM on March 30, 2001

for the true chronicle of the rise of emo, check out http://www.skatepunk.net/articles/emo.html
posted by afx114 at 8:04 AM on March 30, 2001

Damn. Everyone remembers the Band-A-Minute website [a.k.a. the Single Greatest Indie Rock Meme Ever], right? Well, after a few minutes of searching, I've discovered:

a) The original page has been long-since removed.
b) There are apparently no mirrors.

For shame! Today was a perfect day to relive those five minutes of laughter. Anyone have some idea where I could find this?
posted by legibility at 8:20 AM on March 30, 2001

We aim to please: Band a Minute.

I'm now listening to Lowercase. Kill the lights, I'm almost dead.
posted by snarkout at 8:31 AM on March 30, 2001

(Actually, that's can't be the original list, because I remember thinking that both the Helium and Liz Phair entries on the original were funny, and they're not on that one. Hmm. A mystery.)
posted by snarkout at 8:34 AM on March 30, 2001

Is Karate emo? I don't care, it's just good music.
posted by waxpancake at 8:55 AM on March 30, 2001 [1 favorite]

Why have a quote-unquote genre that will be associated in many minds with a certain peculiar comedian. I saw him in the '80s, was unspeakably funny, but . . . Thank heavens it's not Bobcat Goldwaith Rock. Love the section about what to wear! Conformity in nonconformity -- it never goes out of style, or at least fashion.
posted by raysmj at 9:17 AM on March 30, 2001

[The following should be read as if it were one long blood curdling scream. Preferably filtered through amplifiers.]

I don't get it. I happily admit this is an example of something-is-happening-here-but-I-don't-know-what-it-is-do-you-Mister-Jones things. This has probably been happening since before the hippy movement, but that's the most memorable historical incident of it.

Different people come up with ideas that seemed like good ideas at the time. Bellbottoms for example. Or disco. Or snapping fingers instead of clapping. Or screaming obsenities so loud over guitars that sound like a thousand tortured cats that no one can understand what you're screaming anyway. I'm sure all these were good ideas at the time.

They just wanted to do what they wanted to do and then be accepted by society for them. Or something. Then they get what they wanted. Society accepts them by attempting to pigeonhole it into a movement or a revolution or a trend or whatever the proper term is at the moment. So people who claim to really be whatever the heck it is insist that no one understands them, and others seek understanding and try to explain it, and then all this dissection just further irritates both poseurs and the real whatevers alike. Until somebody somewhere decides the movement is dead.

Am I close? Do I care? I mean I do grunge cuz I hate to iron my clothes and find it a waste of time. It's no longer in style? That's news to me. These terms should be used to describe the music so people can communicate to one another and figure out whether or not it's what they want to listen to. Instead, it ends up a feeble attempt to define the very people into the music. I linked to the page I did to illustrate the absurdity of the argument. "No dude! You got emo all wrong! It's like this, not like that! You suck!" "No I don't suck! You suck!" ad infinitum. It's laughable.

Emo sounds like a word to use to lump all the most self-absorbed punk together in a new package. I'm not impressed. Give it a new name and it still makes white noise on channel fourteen sound like an improvement.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:52 AM on March 30, 2001

I don't get it either. People are always arguing about what defines a certain music genre and (to a lesser extent) what defines the people into that music. Emo has been around for awhile now - big whoop. Go make fun of goatcore instead.
posted by gluechunk at 11:46 AM on March 30, 2001

Well Zach, I give you credit for correctly assessing the social parameters of this entire topic. Emo is just another trend, and as trends go, it started with initial underground purveyors, branched into a more common appreciation and acceptance, and presently holds court as the dominant [and ultra-commodified] musical form for the "underground majority."

Hey, that's life. I don't begrudge anyone their right to listen to whatever they want. Like I said before, I've given up what small pretentions I once held about "my" emo versus "their" emo. If I've learned anything from the music I listen to, the completely intense passion that really phenomenal music curries in my heart [okay, stop laughing], it's that my musical influences and opinions are better left a personal issue. Luckily, I've been inspired to write and play music of my own, not to mention building a fabric of artwork and other creative outlets that satisfy my desire to externalize those influences.

The original incarnation of "emo" had the same fulfilling spirit, I think. Despite being six years old when Rites of Spring released their records [although I do claim to have first heard Fugazi when I was nine years old, since they practiced down the street from my best friend's house in Arlington, VA], their music, and others', resonated with me in high school, and my memories of those days are inextricably linked to who I am today. I expect the legions of suburban kids who play in SDRE-inspired bands during their high school years will feel the same way later in life, when they have hindsight about this era.

The point is, I've matured. We're all maturing. And it would be a monumental step backwards for me to sit here and compare myself and my set of experiences to anyone else's, via the mere conduit of a damn name and its vast connotations. I can guarantee you that the majority of the original artists who are responsible for spawning this trend are too busy moving forward to spend much time looking backwards, too.

[Note: Because MetaFilter certainly exists for this kind of discourse, I entertain the concept. Fear not, I definitely don't spend time bullying, condescending, or engaging people I don't know in conversations about this in the outside world. Not saying you did these things, Zach, I found your amplified rage entirely appropriate.]
posted by legibility at 11:52 AM on March 30, 2001

I don't get it either, mostly because that hideous blue on black text strained my eyes so quickly that my eyes watered and the text blurred after the first paragraph.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:53 AM on March 30, 2001

rodii, a good band isn't bad if they're labeled emo. But the small armies of identical-looking people and their pretentious freshman-level irony games are unbelievably annoying. You try being surrounded by 50 guys with greasy Emo (no relation?) Phillips hairdos and too-short pants and tiny lunchboxes and hornrim glasses and (usually) two identical-looking female companions (identical to him and each other).

I heard one of these guys telling another that a local band was "melodious -- I'd say they're not melodic, they're melodious ... but basically they're totally ragin full-on emocore."

What freakin' little world do these people live in? What narrowly prescribed little rules about what's allowable and which bands are acceptable (not since they got a new drummer, etc.)? Indie music has been one big circular, pseudo-academic game over the past decade -- a haven for slot-minded little twerps.

posted by argybarg at 12:24 PM on March 30, 2001

p.s. My favorite quote from cited website, re: The Promise Ring: "Out of tune in the cutest devil-may-care way ... their later records were hi-fi and in tune, and that totally spoiled their uniqueness and made them a lame pop band."

Oh, those -- sniff sniff -- sellouts.
posted by argybarg at 12:29 PM on March 30, 2001

yo, legibility - Shotmaker... right on. Not to mention Ashes, Braid... Check out Spark Lights the Friction (the band, not the Shotmaker song). Not emo, more like post-hardcore-fugazi-injected-rock-and-or-roll.


Okay, that's enough out of me...
posted by J. R. Hughto at 1:27 PM on March 30, 2001

*grasping my Clash albums and crying in a fetal position in the corner*
posted by aaron at 4:19 PM on March 30, 2001

Hey! I've got a great idea! Why don't we all just, you know, listen to music that we like! Hooray! And then if other people don't like it why don't we just say "okay, that's they way the world is"? Yes! Cool! I rock the universe!
I'd point you all in the general direction of my list of made up band names and musical styles but all this thinking is making my feet turn into prunes!
posted by davidgentle at 9:09 PM on March 30, 2001

Actually the last time I heard the term emo used in a musical context it was a sort of chord. That was in an interview with the Chilli Peppers in 1992. Though it still stood for "emotional". Other than that I've never heard of this.
posted by davidgentle at 10:59 PM on March 30, 2001

I rock the universe.
posted by sudama at 1:23 AM on March 31, 2001

Since it's 25 posts down the list I'm going to self-link: Indie Kids. Recommended to argybarg, at least.
posted by freakytrigger at 3:27 AM on March 31, 2001

That's great, freakytrigger. It always makes me laugh when a "scene" gets so regimented. "Rebel! No, you're doing it all wrong! Now get a lunchbox and some plastic glasses like the rest of us, dammit!"

This article does a good job of tracing the roots of emo. For me, it was all about Fugazi, Rites of Spring, and Jawbox. All genres evolve, but I never would have predicted the way this one went.

I'm pretty sure that "emo chords" are basically just octaves. Fugazi uses sliding octaves on a lot of their stuff. The intro to the song Turnover, on the Repeater album (sound sample midpage), is a good example. A famous non-emo use of sliding octaves is Hendrix's Third Stone from the Sun.
posted by gimli at 9:50 AM on March 31, 2001

gimli: you're exactly right. I didn't go into vast technical detail because I didn't see much point.
posted by davidgentle at 1:21 PM on March 31, 2001

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