The History Of Emo

The History Of Emo

Emo bands through the ages.
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I won’t lie. For about five years now, emo has been my favorite music genre. I’m not sure what exactly makes it so fantastic. It could be the depressing lyrics that let you really wallow in self-pity, the shimmery, or just the simple guitar chords. Maybe for some, the best part of emo is the incorporation of Math-rock into the Twinkle-Daddy sub-genre. If you didn’t know what that last sentence meant, this article will explain it all.

'80s

The first wave of emo stemmed from the post-hardcore genre (which was in turn an offshoot of punk-rock) in the mid-'80s. The major difference between emo and punk is the content of the lyrics and the more melodic sound. Bands that fall into this category are Rites of Spring and Embrace. At this stage in emo’s life it sounds a lot like American punk-rock, with lyrics about “nostalgia, romantic bitterness, and poetic desperation.”

'90s

Second wave emo was a step back from the harshness of the '80s. In general, guitars were less distorted and chugged power-chords were replaced with arpeggiated major and suspended ones. Basically, what this means is it was even more melodic than the generation before it. The defining band of this period of time was Jawbreaker. They made the lyrics even more personal than first wave, or as haters of the genre say, even more whiney. “I kissed the bottle. I should’ve been kissing you,” Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker growls in his still grunge-obsessed voice.

On the flip-side of popular emo was the underground movement that was also occurring in the '90s. While pop-emo was happening on the west coast, the best underground emo was (and still is) coming from the Midwest. This is where bands even today define the emo genre. The most popular, and most synonymous with the emo sound, was American Football. They incorporated strange time signatures and pioneered the idea of using alternately tuned guitars for a very nostalgic sound, incorporating elements of math-rock and jazz (notoriously musically complex genres) which gave them an extremely unique sound that bands of the genre today still try to emulate.

'00s



From the late '90s to early 2000s emo rose into the mainstream. Today, most people refer to these bands as “punk” or “pop-punk,” but don't be fooled, they're emo. The first band to really popularize emo was Jimmy Eat World with their "Bleed American" album. Other popular bands from this time period were Taking Back Sunday, which the original bass player, Jesse Lacey, left to form Brand New. During the mid-2000s these two bands were the face of emo. Taking Back Sunday leading to more mainstream acts like All Time Low and Yellowcard. Brand New inspired heavier emo bands, harkening back to the '80s emo style, such as Manchester Orchestra and Basement.

Toward the end of the decade, emo shifted again, with vocals becoming increasingly more harmonious and complex. As a result, what used to be considered emo began to decrease in popularity, so emo-inspired, pop-punk bands like Paramore, Panic! at the Disco, and All Time Low began taking over the alt music scene, ushering in the end of emo’s reign. Cultural tastes began to change, and these bands moved away from the style of those who influenced them initially to forge new ground in the pop-punk scene.

'10s

Contemporary emo, also known as “emo-revival,” has gained some popularity lately. Since most of their influence is taken from the mid-west underground emo of the '90s glittery sound, some have called this sub-genre “Twinkle-Daddy” in reference to the older age of the artists and the sound. Examples include Into It. Over It. and Dads. While twinkle-daddy adds some elements of college-indie into its sound, new-wave emo adds more indie and shoegaze. Good examples include Dikembe, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (TWIABP&IANLATD), You Blew It! and Deer Leap. Some new-wave emo bands add hints of folk to their music; good examples include Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms, but these lean further from emo and closer to anti-folk, which is an article for a different day.

Hopefully this showed what a complex and old genre emo is. Emo is such a varied and important genre of music, but it’s never taken very seriously. It’s one of the most musically interesting and heartfelt genres out there. Sometimes I wonder if I learned more life lessons in school, or from Brand New.

Cover Image Credit: Kelly Magovern

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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