By Sandi Bhutella
The term “Emo” is a word that can on occasion spark a bit of controversy. There are a lot of different opinions on what makes a band or a sound ‘emo’. When it comes to defining emo style or emo persona, same problem, same set of controversies. I’m going to try to put my own opinions aside and try to explain the history and the terminology of emo.
Emo can be seen as a part of hardcore punk music. It had its first incarnation in the mid 80’s in Washington, DC when a bunch of musicians decided to take punk music in a different direction to try and lighten the violent image. The name given to this moment was Emocore, basically short for “Emotional Hardcore”.
The music was given this name because of the emotions that the musicians often displayed during performance.
As time went on, the term has evolved and the label has been given to a wide range of bands, many of them outside the traditional ‘Emotional Hardcore’ label. The term is now generally referred to as Emo and can be used to label a band based strictly on their look or style. It’s fairly reminiscent of the grunge label that enveloped a number of bands in the early nineties. Once Grunge music became popular it also became a buzzword and bands that didn’t really fit into the genre at all started to become labelled “grunge” because the term was so popular.
Lately the term emo has gone from a style of music to a whole subculture dictating certain hairstyles, clothing and even demeanour. Emo’s have a very distinct look that can usually be characterized by wearing tight pants, small t-shirts and a certain type of hairstyle that hangs in front of their face. A lot of guys who dress this way (myself included) will wear make up, usually just eyeliner or eye shadow, to accentuate the look.
The truth is that the term emo is pretty controversial and nobody can really agree on what it is, where it came from or who the ones were who started it. All I know is that for once in my life I’ve found a style and type of music that I can relate to and feel comfortable with and that makes me feel good. It seems that for too long now I’ve been following in other people’s footsteps and trying to learn who I am by attaching myself to other people. With this new style I feel like for the first time I’m just being me, and that feels pretty good.