- NY Times: Sweet, Sentimental and Punk – a good story about the band Dashboard Confessional and Emo music in general. —- (Thanks to K for sending me this link.)
Here’s a couple of good excerpts that do a pretty decent job of defining “emo”:
- . . . He also happens to be a great songwriter, one of the brightest lights in the sentimental, punk-inspired genre often called emo. (Although no one’s happy with the term, and none of the bands themselves use it.) Emo songs tend to be passionate, skeptical and grandly romantic, and the best of these bands seem intent on reinventing that most hackneyed of pop music forms: the love song. . .
The history of emo — short for emotional — begins in the mid-1980’s, when hardcore punk bands from Washington started playing slower and stranger. Rites of Spring, the best of these bands, captured emo’s introspective ethos in a song called “Deeper Than Inside,” in which Guy Picciotto screamed, “You wonder just how close close-up can be?/ Can’t you see? Can’t you see?”
By the 1990’s, there was a thriving emo underground, full of bands that sounded nothing alike, from the tuneful melancholy of Jawbreaker to the exhilarating chaos of Heroin. For years, emo has hovered near the edge of the mainstream, and now some of the bands are showing up on MTV, and with Mr. Carrabba, emo has an icon — although not, to be sure, a willing one. “It’s a silly word,” he said.
The term is descriptive, not prescriptive: it’s not a rallying cry like punk or hip-hop, but an imprecise way to gesture at a broad sensibility. Even worse, the word itself is ridiculous — it sounds like a psychological condition or a flightless bird. . .