I just thought I'd clear that up after all of these "definitions" in which I have encountered an unbelievable amount of people who try to pass off their blatantly false pretenses as fact, and are slowly infecting others with their high-horse, holier-than-thou bullshit. Because honestly, with your ridiculous definitions, Beethoven, George Gershwin, and Britney Spears are/was "emo bands."
Now, onto the real definition.
In the early 90s there was a movement in the hardcore genre that came to be known as "Emotive Hardcore," spearheaded by Rites Of Spring. Harder-core-than-thou kids, who swore by Dischord Records a la Minor Threat, actually coined the term "Emo" as something of a put-down for the kids who really liked Rites Of Spring, Indian Summer and this new wave of "Emotive" Hardcore bands. That's right, "Emo" was once not something kids called themselves. The field exploded outwards from there - Level-Plane Records has always been the most famous Emo label. Acts like Yaphet Kotto, I Hate Myself, Saetia, Hot Cross, A Day In Black And White, Funeral Diner, I Would Set Myself On Fire For You, You And I, and hosts of others came in the next decade. Most emo bands have since broken up, but there's still the occasional hold-out (again, the majority of Level-Plane Records' roster has been a procession of emo acts). Like most DIY hardcore/punk of the time, a majority found its way onto vinyl and not much else. Some people consider bands like Fugazi, and later Sunny Day Real Estate, a progression of emo, but personally, I don't quite follow that philosophy.
Often, more recently, this gets intertwined with post-hardcore, and understandably so - that's nothing to make an issue of, since well shit, at least it's close.
Since the late 90s, though, bands have been emerging in the vein of Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, and the thousands of their clones. As far as I can tell, some lazy journalist somewhere, writing an article about them, decided "Well, fuck, no one knows what emo is anyways, so I'll call these bands "emo" - sounds more appealing than bubblegum pop rock..." and the spiral continued downwards into the current amalgomation of bands MTV has told everyone is "emo."
Somehow, people decided that "emo" meant "emotional," which is obviously bullshit, as 99% of bands make music to illicit emotion, which would make "emotional" a completely all-encompassing genre from classical to opera to pop to rap.
Hope that helps.
Rites of Spring is emo.
Many people claim to hate "emo's" meaning they hate people they stereotype as emo. This makes very little sense, as it means they hate someone for the way they look and the music they like. This does not reflect their personality. Basically, if used seriously emo is a term used by pathetic narrow-minded losers who just have no respect for other peoples tastes and seem to think they know what everyone is like by how they are dressed. They are also stupid enough to think a fashion trend will make someone self-harm.
Most people who use the term emo negatively and seriously are people who can only see the surface of anything as if they actually thought about it they would realise that maybe emo kids are teenagers who were originally generally more emotional/thoughtful/sensitive than most and found the emo fashion and music to fit their taste.
If thats what they like wearing and thats what they like listening to then let them and bugger off!!! They wear it because they like it. Same reason you wear what you wear and you listen to what you listen to, you emo haters are not supreme beings who can decide what is and isn't good taste so get lost you socially conforming arseholes!!
Boy 2: What makes you say he's a fag?
Boy 1: He's wearing makeup, how gay is that?
Boy 2: He's allowed to wear makeup isn't he? Doesn't make him gay, just means he doesn't conform to his gender stereotype.
Boy 1: Duuuh, what? Your gay... uuur i'm cleffer
Boy 2: Yeah... ok mate, bye!
Contrary to popular belief,
Emo is not about being depressed or cutting,
it's not short for emotional,
it has nothing to do with teenage posers who follow the trend of pretending to be bisexual, depressed, and wearing all black.
It's not a fashion.
The fashion that's commonly referred to as "emo fashion",
is actually called "scene".
And MCR and Fallout Boy are NOT emo.
In actuality, It's a branch off of hardcore punk that started in the mid 80s with the punk band, Rites of Spring.
They hated the glorified violence and restrained music that infected the D.C. hardcore scene,
and took hardcore to a greater level of experimentation
with more emotional lyrics and more melodic instruments.
Soon after, a surge of new bands started forming and creating their own adaption of the style that Rites of Spring innovated.
The summer of 1985 became known as "revolution summer".
Good emo bands from "revolution summer" include:
Rites of Spring, Embrace, Moss Icon, Dag Nasty, Gray Matter,
Nation of Ulysses, and Fire Party.
After the disbanding of Rites of Spring,
Ian MacKaye (from Embrace) and Guy Picciotto (from Rites of Spring) formed the post-hardcore band Fugazi in the early 90s. who influenced bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Far, Braid, and Jimmy Eat World.
In my opinion, Sunny Day Real Estate are to mall emo, (the music that's commonly referred to as emo today)
as Rites of Spring are to emo.
They started the whole movement of mainstream "emo" bands.
Happening at the same time,
was the the unground movement of screamo.
Screamo sounded similar to emo,
but louder and with a lot more screaming and slightly different song structures.
Screamo started with bands such as Antioch Arrow, Palatka,
Portraits of the Past, and The Swing Kids.
The music comprised of brutal yet somewhat melodic guitars, loud, fast drums, song structures that switch from quiet to loud, and obviously, screaming vocals.
One thing that's not true is when people say real emo is a dead genre.
because, while mainstream "emo" has taken over MTV and the radio, an underground emo/screamo scene still exists.
Circle Takes the Square, Raein, Daitro, Haram, 1905, and ...Who Calls So Loud, City of Caterpillar are all examples of emo (and screamo) bands from the last eight years, most of them are still existing.
It's not a dead genre, you just have to look for the real deal.
Person1: Then what is emo?
Person2: *points to definition*
Emo's ARE NOT wrist cutters. Wrist cutters are wrist cutters.
Emo's can laugh and smile.
It's not a bad damn thing! Some of my best friends are emoish. I don't see why people like to make fun of them.
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE IS NOT EMO!
Not all emos where tight pants.
We dont go and cry every time we get made fun of. Some of us can beat your ass :]
And that is my definition of emo.
If you don't like it, then screw you :]
Emo: ...-Punches the prep right in the face- HA!