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In Defense of Emo Music

#16 User is offline   Heccubus Icon

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 05:54 AM

Good point about Dashboard, although Carabba has turned that project into a shallow parody of itself over time.
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Posted 26 October 2008 - 08:21 PM

Maybe why I don't get your points fellas is that I have never understood how image affected the appreciation of music. Like, I like the White Stripes, but if I were to judge them on image alone, I never would have listened to them. Jack White looks like a Goth-wannabe poser.

If what you're saying is that by total coincidence there is not one so-called "Emo" band that happens to affect a goth look and that also happens to be good, well even then I wouldn't be able to meet you halfway and declare that goth-looking bands were ruining the sacred name of Emo.

For your example, Hecc, I didn't really see why the shirtless screamer in the first pic was preferable to the girly man in the second. This is because I couldn't hear either one of them, and I don't judge my appreciation of the music based on which performer looks more masculine. But I could be full of shit; guys who say they are about substance over style always inevitably prove themselves to be totally affected by style.

"I had a lot of different ideas. At one point, Luke, Leia and Ben were all going to be little people, and we did screen tests to see if we could do that." -George Lucas, in STAR WARS: the Annotated Screenplays (p197).
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#18 User is offline   Heccubus Icon

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 08:45 PM

Well examples (ruining my bonus points question here):

The first guy is from Hot Water Music. Chuck Ragan. Here's an example of one of their songs:
http://songza.com/z/vp0v9u

The second guy looks like he'd be right at home in a band like this:
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=PNn3ObYRpmg

To me it seems like bands like From First To Last spend more time worrying about their clothes and makeup than they do working on developing a unique sound. They sound exactly like the Used, Funeral For A Friend, and countless other bands from the current crop of cookie cutter emo bands that made it big. Flipside: I have never heard another band that sounds like Hot Water Music that wasn't completely dismissed by fans, and I have never seen any other group of people perform with that level of genuine passion for their music. The bands being dubbed "emo" today seem to be more concerned with making a moody music video to put on their blacker-than-the-blackest-black Myspace page than they are with the music.

I can understand not paying mind to image over music, but I guess with me it's more an issue of "I came up with a certain brand of music whose name was co-opted by a bunch of effeminate douche bags that dress like women". I also think Jack White is a total knob (face it, he is) but I've never let that stop me from enjoying the White Stripes (every album aside from "Get Behind Me Satan" has made it to the top of my yearly best-of lists so far). The same can be said, however, for bands I mentioned before. I fucking LOATHE Ian MacKaye, but I love Fugazi AND Minor Threat (his earlier hardcore band). I would very much like to punch every single member of the band in the back of the head, but I love At The Drive-In (though I'd like to punch them because of the bands they formed after the split: Sparta and the Mars Volta). Jeremy Egnik is kind of a douche, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying Sunny Day Real Estate, etc, etc, etc. That's because in those instances, image doesn't strike me as overshadowing the music. With bands doing the makeup / dyed black hair / ultra-skinny jeans / goth / asshole look, it really does detract from the music itself, which on top of that is bland, derivative, and wholly unoriginal.

This post has been edited by Heccubus: 26 October 2008 - 08:58 PM

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 03:12 AM

QUOTE (civilian_number_two @ Oct 27 2008, 02:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Like, I like the White Stripes, but if I were to judge them on image alone, I never would have listened to them. Jack White looks like a Goth-wannabe poser.

Oh boy, I remember when I made the mistake to actually read up on the Stripes...



Terrified I was, simply terrified. Like a car crash gone incest, you just couldn't look away. But I was relieved to find out that they're actually married, they looked more like siblings before.

... or wait, maybe they... no, let's not go there. mellow.gif

Okay, carry on then, sorry for intruding, just needed to deal with that trauma.

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#20 User is offline   civilian_number_two Icon

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 03:33 AM

So ... the second guy wasn't actually in a band, then. OK point well made ... I supose.

I remember liking The Cure in high school. I went to a couple of concerts, and saw them recently when they toured here. I think they're still a decent live band. Too bad about all that effeminate douchy makeup.

"I had a lot of different ideas. At one point, Luke, Leia and Ben were all going to be little people, and we did screen tests to see if we could do that." -George Lucas, in STAR WARS: the Annotated Screenplays (p197).
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#21 User is offline   J m HofMarN Icon

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 04:14 AM

Actually, I did read what you said. It seems we're both defending completely different forms of music. You believe that only the non-popular bands who do not wear black (or shirts apparently) are emo, and defend them even though, as far as I've seen, no one has said much about them.

The bands that do take the brunt of the criticism are the ones which I enjoy, although I have to admit I managed to find Clarity by JEW... hmmm neat acronym for them, wonder if that's intentional... anyhow, it's a good song.

As for the whole style over substance deal, every band that gets big eventually tries to do something like that. There are a lot of reasons. First of all, when a band has a signature look/outfit, you know they're a band. They can afford to look like it, and I see nothing wrong with that. The frequent use of red and black is an MCR trademark, and I actually quite like the color combination. But the suggestion that the reason for the (perceived) deficiency in their music is due to obsessing over fashion, is absurd.

The thing is, emo as I see it is a fairly image conscious style. You'll see a lot of imagery evoked in the lyrics, and the bands may as well match up to that. They're singing about vampires and zombies and murder and such, so they're not going to wear a smiley face.

If you consider them an apostate form of music because 1 they're popular to some extent 2 they wear black clothes and 3 you don't appreciate their tunes, that's cool. But I don't think it's quite fair to completely discount my song suggestions and then decide immediately that not only are you the sole person who is mounting any sort of defense of emo music, but that what I listen to is not emo, despite being universallly recognized as such.

I haven't been exposed to a lot of the more underground songs out there, mainly because a 56 k connection doesnt allow me to download anything that catches my eye briefly. I think it's cool that you're into some of the lesser known forms of music, and yeah, they're probably just as good if not better as some of the more popular stuff. But I think which genre a group falls into should be based on lyrics, MUSICAL style, outlook, influences and maybe location. Not on popularity, what they wear, or whether Heccubus likes them.

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#22 User is offline   Heccubus Icon

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 06:05 AM

QUOTE (J m HofMarN @ Oct 27 2008, 05:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually, I did read what you said. It seems we're both defending completely different forms of music. You believe that only the non-popular bands who do not wear black (or shirts apparently) are emo, and defend them even though, as far as I've seen, no one has said much about them.

Your assumption that the bands I listed are all unpopular is unfounded, and inaccurate. Jimmy Eat World alone are a multi-platinum selling band signed to Capitol, Fugazi have a massive legion of die-hard fans, At The Drive-In were on the brink of becoming a huge success before they broke up, Hot Water Music are considered to be one of the most influencial and popular hardcore bands from the past decade or so... I could keep going. Instead of making base assumptions about these bands, why not look them up and learn about them first? My entire point is that emo is worth defending based on its rich history, not the obscurity of its artists.
QUOTE (J m HofMarN @ Oct 27 2008, 05:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The bands that do take the brunt of the criticism are the ones which I enjoy, although I have to admit I managed to find Clarity by JEW... hmmm neat acronym for them, wonder if that's intentional... anyhow, it's a good song.

And it's never struck you that there may be a reason for it? Why did so many people hate hair metal in the 80s? I've long believed that emo is going to be the new hair metal. Bands like Tokio Hotel reaffirm this theory for me. In 10 years, emo will be a reviled piece of music history, and then in 20 people will start wearing Underoath shirts ironically. Then all of these bands will reunite for no reason whatsoever and tour to massive sold out audiences that are there for a laugh, not to rock. I am absolutely positive that this is going to happen.
QUOTE (J m HofMarN @ Oct 27 2008, 05:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As for the whole style over substance deal, every band that gets big eventually tries to do something like that. There are a lot of reasons. First of all, when a band has a signature look/outfit, you know they're a band. They can afford to look like it, and I see nothing wrong with that. The frequent use of red and black is an MCR trademark, and I actually quite like the color combination. But the suggestion that the reason for the (perceived) deficiency in their music is due to obsessing over fashion, is absurd.

Examples please? As I stated, Jimmy Eat World DID get big, and they still look like the dorky kids that hung around the hallways in high school. And how is a red/black combination a trademark of My Chemical Romance? There are likely countless bands that have gone through massive phases of wearing simple colours, and black and red is a common choice for bands that want to evoke a darker image. I once read an interview with Marilyn Manson where he pointed out that while he liked My Chemical Romance, they were borrowing very heavily from his image during the latter part of his career. I agree wholeheartedly with that.
QUOTE (J m HofMarN @ Oct 27 2008, 05:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The thing is, emo as I see it is a fairly image conscious style. You'll see a lot of imagery evoked in the lyrics, and the bands may as well match up to that. They're singing about vampires and zombies and murder and such, so they're not going to wear a smiley face.

What you just described is goth rock, not emo. Emo = emotional. At no point does the word "emotional" become synonymous with "zombie". So I suppose, yes, we're defending entirely different types of music altogether, as you stated. You seem to be defending Goths, not emo kids.
QUOTE (J m HofMarN @ Oct 27 2008, 05:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you consider them an apostate form of music because 1 they're popular to some extent 2 they wear black clothes and 3 you don't appreciate their tunes, that's cool. But I don't think it's quite fair to completely discount my song suggestions and then decide immediately that not only are you the sole person who is mounting any sort of defense of emo music, but that what I listen to is not emo, despite being universallly recognized as such.

I'm not going to bother mentioning any of the bands I already mentioned because they're all popular in their own right, and I've never once been the sort of person to dislike a band based on popularity. Anyone who's had the displeasure of hearing me drone on about bands like Radiohead, Green Day, Queens Of The Stone Age, and hundreds of others already knows this.
QUOTE (J m HofMarN @ Oct 27 2008, 05:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I haven't been exposed to a lot of the more underground songs out there, mainly because a 56 k connection doesnt allow me to download anything that catches my eye briefly. I think it's cool that you're into some of the lesser known forms of music, and yeah, they're probably just as good if not better as some of the more popular stuff. But I think which genre a group falls into should be based on lyrics, MUSICAL style, outlook, influences and maybe location. Not on popularity, what they wear, or whether Heccubus likes them.

If you want, throw me an address and I'll send you a care package of CDRs.

You're also speaking as if I've just sat here and went "HARUMPH!" and crossed my arms and made a pouty face. But remember, I too once had the all-black, all-tight clothes, the shaggy hair (dyed black, of course), the whole deal. I listened to all those bands you're talking about, and with time I grew out of them. Looking back now, I feel like I was too old for it even then.

(Unfortunately this is the only image that exists from that period. I would also normally have black nail polish on, but I worked in a call centre at the time, and it was frowned upon; I never reduced myself to wearing makeup.)


(EDIT: Please imagine me saying all of this in a friendly, laughing tone, as I am generally just kind of palling around and being good-natured. Reading it now, though, it does read as though I am being kind of a dickhole. I assure you that I am not. smile.gif )

This post has been edited by Heccubus: 27 October 2008 - 06:09 AM

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#23 User is offline   Gobbler Icon

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 06:24 AM

QUOTE (Heccubus @ Oct 27 2008, 12:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Bands like Tokio Hotel reaffirm this theory for me.

WHOA WHOA WHOA - you mean people actually know Tokio Hotel outside of Germany!? I thought only Bill Kaulitz gained some questionable fame on some forums...
I think the saddest thing about this is the thought that people would actually take them seriously as a band.

Though I do have to say, their producers and marketers are extremely skilled.

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#24 User is offline   Heccubus Icon

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 06:30 AM

QUOTE (Gobbler @ Oct 27 2008, 07:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
WHOA WHOA WHOA - you mean people actually know Tokio Hotel outside of Germany!? I thought only Bill Kaulitz gained some questionable fame on some forums...
I think the saddest thing about this is the thought that people would actually take them seriously as a band.

Though I do have to say, their producers and marketers are extremely skilled.

Oh God, yeah...Brilliant execs behind those kids. But to answer your question, yes, they have, unfortunately, garnered a following in North America. Somehow.
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#25 User is offline   Gobbler Icon

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 08:35 AM

This is disturbing on so many levels. *shivers uncontrollably*

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 12:34 AM

I suspect Heccubus would be more a fan of Manowar than Poison. Seems he likes his artists beefcakey rather than effeminate. To each his own I suppose.

I was in high school during the hair metal era. Its downfall wasn't the imagery; it was the fact that all the decent bands were getting older and all the newer bands wrote bubble gum bullshit. Compare ACDC with say, Motley Crue and you should see what I mean.

"I had a lot of different ideas. At one point, Luke, Leia and Ben were all going to be little people, and we did screen tests to see if we could do that." -George Lucas, in STAR WARS: the Annotated Screenplays (p197).
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#27 User is offline   J m HofMarN Icon

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 02:20 AM

Hecc-

Ok, and some of my bands aren't terribly popular either. Thursday was actually the first one I got into after hearing one of their songs in a music video a friend had, and most people seem to know them largely as "those guys who are on the stage before MCR, and are not roadies"

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My entire point is that emo is worth defending based on its rich history


A history of obscurity. LULz

I wouldnt mind looking deeper into some of them, but I didnt really have time to wiki ten or fifteen bands last night. I'd never even heard most of them mentioned in passing, and I surely hadn't heard anyone poking fun at them. I will probably eventually look into some of their music just because most of your suggestions on that front tend to be worth while.

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And it's never struck you that there may be a reason for it? Why did so many people hate hair metal in the 80s? I've long believed that emo is going to be the new hair metal. Bands like Tokio Hotel reaffirm this theory for me. In 10 years, emo will be a reviled piece of music history, and then in 20 people will start wearing Underoath shirts ironically. Then all of these bands will reunite for no reason whatsoever and tour to massive sold out audiences that are there for a laugh, not to rock. I am absolutely positive that this is going to happen.


You and your distopian futures. The truth is any band that is popular will have detractors. I mean, a lot of people hated the Beatles, but they're not looked on as laughable now. Same for acid rock, grunge music and early punk. eighties glam rock may have been largely wretched, but it did influence some modern artists. Try listening to "Wake the Dead" by The Used. I think that the hair metal collapse had a lot more to do with the lifestyle those bands championed, so yes, maybe it is fair to judge a band by their style and ideals. But I think that this judgement is going to be largely positive when it comes to the emo scene. In twenty years people will probably be ironicall wearing Heccubus shirts, I think.

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Examples please? As I stated, Jimmy Eat World DID get big, and they still look like the dorky kids that hung around the hallways in high school.


First of all, where I came from we werent even cool enough to be in the halls. We hung out under the stair well.

Examples: I think I stated that pretty much every band that gets quite popular tries to eke out a signature look for themselves so they can be visually as well as audibly identifiable. I admit, MCR especially takes this to the extreme with the theatrics of their shows and videos, but theres nothing wrong with giving people a good show. Pink Floyd once built a wall on stage so they might blow it up during a live gig, but it'd be silly to suggest that building the wall detracted from their music that day.

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There are likely countless bands that have gone through massive phases of wearing simple colours, and black and red is a common choice for bands that want to evoke a darker image. I once read an interview with Marilyn Manson where he pointed out that while he liked My Chemical Romance, they were borrowing very heavily from his image during the latter part of his career. I agree wholeheartedly with that.


Yes, but the combination of black with bright red or other eye catching colors is a recognized staple of emo styles. And I suspect that any musician who saw MCR's quick rise in popularity would want to claim they borrowed from them. The black and red style is, for one thing, I think a product of comic books which the band are very much into. It's also just because they like blood, as shown by frequent references to vampires and its appearance in their promotional images.

QUOTE
I'm not going to bother mentioning any of the bands I already mentioned because they're all popular in their own right, and I've never once been the sort of person to dislike a band based on popularity. Anyone who's had the displeasure of hearing me drone on about bands like Radiohead, Green Day, Queens Of The Stone Age, and hundreds of others already knows this.


Alright, so if it isnt popularity, why do the bands I mentioned get special treatment as opposed to the ones you mentioned? I know the thing about their style being evil, and their music having a different point, I'll address that.

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What you just described is goth rock, not emo. Emo = emotional. At no point does the word "emotional" become synonymous with "zombie". So I suppose, yes, we're defending entirely different types of music altogether, as you stated. You seem to be defending Goths, not emo kids.


Not all their songs are about that, just examples. Revenge, fear of loss, and so forth are more prominent themes, though undeath does pop up surprisingly often for MCR However I consider some of their music to be pretty romantic as well. Thursday seems to enjoy car crashes and fire a lot, but they still have time for rather existential pieces such as Even The Sand, and of course quite emotional ones like Dying In New Brunswick. The Used are into some undead action as well but still find time for songs about painful memories like Box of Sharp Objects. Hawthorne Heights I think is the most legitimately emo one of the bunch, Silver Bullet and In Your Eyes being examples. Still, all of their stuff does evoke an emotional response, even if occasionally its a creepy one.

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If you want, throw me an address and I'll send you a care package of CDRs.

You're also speaking as if I've just sat here and went "HARUMPH!" and crossed my arms and made a pouty face. But remember, I too once had the all-black, all-tight clothes, the shaggy hair (dyed black, of course), the whole deal. I listened to all those bands you're talking about, and with time I grew out of them. Looking back now, I feel like I was too old for it even then.


I'll have to PM you sometime for that, I really wouldnt mind hearing more of Jimmy Eats World and the others sound cool. And its cool that you're not into them anymore, but I really dont think that makes them an apostate form of emo. Regardless of what they're called, I do greatly enjoy their music though.

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(Unfortunately this is the only image that exists from that period. I would also normally have black nail polish on, but I worked in a call centre at the time, and it was frowned upon; I never reduced myself to wearing makeup.)


Now to call the Fully Ramblomatic Dumbtard Ridicule squad! BWAHAHAHA!

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(EDIT: Please imagine me saying all of this in a friendly, laughing tone, as I am generally just kind of palling around and being good-natured. Reading it now, though, it does read as though I am being kind of a dickhole. I assure you that I am not. )


Not to worry, I know you're cool. It's also a lot harder to get worked up over a totally subjective argument, since we're largely just throwing our own musical rules and opinions back and forth. I do have to say though that yours probably carry more weight than mine just because you've obviously been exposed to a lot more music than I have.

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#28 User is offline   Spann Icon

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 01:53 PM

I had a conversation in work today that reminded me of this topic. The girl I sit next to wanted to know whether her cousin was a Goth or an Emo. This prompted a whole deluge of opinions as to what 'Emo' is, including a guy a little older than myself reciting the history of Jimmy Eat World, ATD-I, Fugazi, Minor Threat, etc; somebody else saying something along the lines of 'Oh, they just wear black and cut themselves'; something was said about baggy jeans and backwards baseball caps, and so on and so on and so on.

The first time time I heard the term 'emo' was probably around 2000/2001, when emo meant listening to Jimmy Eat World, wearing thick rimmed glasses and lots of brown cords. In fact, I'm still trying to work out where the term 'emo kid' (someone who listens to emo) changed to 'emo' (using music to define one's self.

I'm not interested in really arguing with anyone, I'm just providing my view as someone who's followed (and enjoyed, I might add) punk, emo and hardcore amongst other varieties of slightly more obscure music for a good ten years or so now.
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Posted 22 November 2008 - 09:37 PM

Goth will generally be an all black style. Emo style generally involves wrist warmers, thick glasses, sometimes a brightly colored tie, and bright colored accents such as the glasses, wrist warmer, tie, or belt, which is generally studded or riveted. I have all of these but I lack the requisite emo haircut.

Also, Hecc, if I havent said so yet, Clarity rocks but I cant find Static Prevails anywhere.

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