Emo Revival

Emo Revival

The emo music scene is not only back, but better than ever

My whole life I have been drawn to music, which is fairly normal for anyone. However, my obsession never let up. It only became stronger. Now, my car is littered with CDs and I collect albums incessantly. I relish the day that new records are released and usually listen to them through so many times on repeat until it’s all memorized. It is a lifestyle that chose me. In my spare time, I read song lyrics and put on countless albums to play through. My idea of fun is driving around alone blasting music and singing my heart out, or staying at home listening to music for five hours straight.

One thing that has not changed is the misconception of the genre of music that I listen to.

I listen to emo music. It has become so difficult to explain to people that I have just start saying that I listen to Indie – which is true, but just not the entire picture.

Emo music has been mislabeled and thought of wrong for decades.

So, what is emo music?

Emo stands for emotional. It's that simple. Music that holds emotional, personal and often confessional lyrics can be considered emo. The semantics (meaning) of songs are held in the lyrics. Real emo music can be read like poetry. It is often deep, heartfelt, and even somber. The genre became increasingly popular in the 1990’s by bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Jets to Brazil, The Promise Ring, and many others.

As time went on, emo bands began to experiment with louder and softer dynamics. This is when the music began to adopt and implement more rhythmic and intricate melodies. One will often hear the lighter strings being played and there is more of that ‘twinkly’ guitar sound.

Indie vs. Pop

Emo music has always relied on a DIY (do it yourself) ethic, and more importantly, sincerity. Lyrics and rhythms of emo music are meant to be personal and from the heart – similar to poetry. In other words, the genre has always been indie (independent). Real emo music has never really been big or widespread, and they do not usually sign to big record labels that play music on the radio. Emo music has mostly been an underground scene.

It was not until the emergence of Midwest Emo music that the genre began to spread in popularity.

Midwest Emo is a style of indie rock that chose a less hardcore/punk route and went with an easier, gentler touch. It can be distinguished by its twinkly guitar sounds and its overall more upbeat rhythms. Bands such as Cap’n Jazz, American Football and Mineral are some pioneers in this category. They are also bands that began to move emo music more into popular culture. Emo started to become more popular. After Weezer’s album ‘Pinkerton’ in 1996 – which is considered one of the first and best emo albums of all time – other bands began to jump on the scene. The genre started to bloom in popularity. Big record labels took notice and a group of new bands stormed in with emo influences. Bands such as Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, etc. would be associated with the emo genre; however, they remain pop music. Pop music is meant to reach and appeal to the masses, so they create catchier songs that are simple enough to stick in your head after one listen. Do not confuse independent (indie) emo with pop (popular/radio) emo music.

Emo vs. Scene

After the genre started to really blow up in popularity around early-2000, the misconception only expanded. The emergence of radio emo music took over the whole scene and adopted the genre as its own. However, do not be confused with the ever-popular, mall-emo that took youth culture by storm and real, authentic emo music. The difference is actually quite simple. Popular/radio emo music can be known as ‘scene’. Bands such as Senses Fail, Silverstein, Underoath, A Day to Remember, Hawthorne Heights, etc. belong to this scene group. Later on, bands such as Asking Alexandria, Falling in Reverse, The Amity Affliction, and Bring Me The Horizon continued the scene tradition. These bands may be associated with and influenced by emo music, but they are not emo bands. If anything, they can be categorized as Post-Hardcore bands, as they scream/squeal, have breakdowns, and play ‘heavier’ guitar. Emo music does not do this.

Emo kids are the opposite of ‘Scene’ kids. Emo kids do not want to be seen. They are usually reserved, quiet, and keep to themselves. Scene is where kids dye their hair a number of colors and wear eye liner, etc. Put simply: Scene is to be seen. Emo, typically, is to not be seen. Emo bands do not look for attention, popularity, or money. It is about the music.

An analogy would be rap vs. hip hop. Rap is usually on the radio and is the popular one, while hip hop is the more underground, indie version that concentrates on lyrics as opposed to merely a ‘dope beat’.


After 2010 or so, scene music (radio emo/mall emo) and its popularity had started to die down. However, an underground emo revival would also be in the works. Many new bands were beginning to draw on the sounds and aesthetics of emo music in the 1990’s/early 2000’s. There has been a renewed interest in emo and especially Midwest emo. As a result, the genre is being revived. Bands such as Algernon Cadwallader, Glocca Morra, Snowing, Dikembe, Marietta, Foxing, Brave Bird, etc. have helped bring back a forgotten genre. Emo music has also broadened its sound again. Being independent (indie) bands allows for them to experiment with new sounds and sound original, and all while keeping that classic twinkly emo sound. Bands such as Modern Baseball, The Front Bottoms, Turnover, Warm Thoughts, Hotelier, Joyce Manor, Dowsing, Prawn, Kittyhawk, Tigers Jaw, Tiny Moving Parts, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, etc. have helped bring back the indie emo scene.

Even older emo bands have returned. Jimmy Eat World came out with a new album in October of 2016, and Midwest emo pioneers American Football have returned after over 15 years to put out their second self-titled album. Joan of Arc, a Chicago emo band formed in 1995, is also back together and put out a new record this week - which you can stream here. The emo revival is upon us.

Cover Image Credit: imgur

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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11 Superheroes I'm Most Nervous For In 'Avengers: Endgame'

Listen, Marvel, I didn't make it all this way for you to kill off all of my faves.


SPOILER WARNING: If you have not seen the movies up through Avengers: Infinity War, be warned, there will be spoilers ahead.

I love superhero movies. I have been watching the Marvel movies ever since the first "Iron Man" came out. Each time there's a new film, I love to see what the writers have come up with - at least until "Infinity War." It was devastating to watch all of the heroes fight Thanos only for him to snap half of the population into dust. Well, our wait for the next part in the saga won't be that much longer. "Avengers: Endgame" comes out in April, and we already have trailers! Based on how "Infinity War" ended and the trailers for Endgame, here are the heroes I worry about in the next movie.

1. Iron Man

The poor man had to watch Spiderman turn to dust, and now he's lost in space! I can't handle it if Tony Stark dies. Just let him live!

2. Captain America

I know he made it through the dusting, but Chris Evans made a post about saying goodbye to Steve Rogers, so I am WORRIED!

3. Thor

Thor has lost everything, so at this point, who knows what he is willing to do to save the world.

4. Loki

I know he died. I do. However, I am worried that he is ACTUALLY dead and not just pretending to be dead only to show up as his father again.

5. Groot

I was devastated when Groot died in Guardians of the Galaxy, so I DON'T want to go through that again.

6. Bucky Barnes

Bucky just can't catch a break. He was just minding his business in Wakanda and then he got dusted. Where is the justice?!

7. Sam Wilson aka Falcon

I love Sam's friendship with Captain America, so I would hate to see anything happen to him!

8. T'Challa aka Black Panther

Wakanda can't lose another king! Plus, who will Shuri make fun of?

9. Rocket

Rocket didn't deserve to watch his best friend get dusted! I just want him to be happy!

10. Gamora

She had such a sad death scene, but that can't be it right?? Please, don't tell me that's how her story ends!

11. Peter Quill aka Starlord

While I'm still mad at him for ruining the plan to take the gauntlet from Thanos, I still don't want anything to happen to him!

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