Emo

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Emo (pronounced /ˈiːmoʊ/) is a style of rock music typically characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics. It originated in the mid-1980s hardcore punk movement of Washington, D.C., where it was known as "emotional hardcore" or "emocore" and pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace. As the style was echoed by contemporary American punk rock bands, its sound and meaning shifted and changed, blending with pop punk and indie rock and encapsulated in the early 1990s by groups such as Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate. By the mid 1990s numerous emo acts emerged from the Midwestern and Central United States, and several independent record labels began to specialize in the style.

Emo broke into mainstream culture in the early 2000s with the platinum-selling success of Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional and the emergence of the subgenre "screamo". In recent years the term "emo" has been applied by critics and journalists to a variety of artists, including multiplatinum acts and groups with disparate styles and sounds.

In addition to music, "emo" is often used more generally to signify a particular relationship between fans and artists, and to describe related aspects of fashion, culture, and behavior.

Contents

History

Origins: 1980s

Emo emerged from the hardcore punk scene of early-1980s Washington, D.C., both as a reaction to the increased violence within the scene and as an extension of the personal politics espoused by Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, who had turned the focus of the music from the community back towards the individual.[1][2] Minor Threat fan Guy Picciotto formed Rites of Spring in 1984, breaking free of hardcore's self-imposed boundaries in favor of melodic guitars, varied rhythms, and deeply personal, impassioned lyrics.[3] Many of the band's themes would become familiar tropes in later generations of emo music, including nostalgia, romantic bitterness, and poetic desperation.[4] Their performances became public emotional purges where audience members would sometimes weep.[5] MacKaye became a huge Rites of Spring fan, recording their only album and serving as their roadie on tour, and soon formed a new band of his own called Embrace which explored similar themes of self-searching and emotional release.[6] Similar bands soon followed in connection with the "Revolution Summer" of 1985, a deliberate attempt by members of the Washington, D.C. scene to break from the rigid constraints of hardcore in favor of a renewed spirit of creativity.[2] Bands such as Gray Matter, Beefeater, Fire Party, Dag Nasty, Lunchmeat, and Kingface were connected to this movement.[2][6]

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