The Tragic Trajectory of Emo

Feels like ages since I've posted here. School kept me busy through June and immediately after that I was filling my days with much needed time away from the city. Fall registration for school is creeping right around the corner but until September I'll have some free time to blog more about the music I enjoy so dearly. August, especially, should be a busy month for Scrapyard related activity.

I try to take note of, or at least occasionally observe, the world of the more accessible popular culture. You know, top 40, radio friendly, the stuff that producers will actually spend money on making a music video for. Most of the time, however, I try my best in simply turning off that world, as any small attempts of trying to filter in some of what I think might be the 'better of the crap' in the past, has always resulted in utter, utter, frustration and disappointment.

I recently tried out this experiment again. And the one word that kept getting thrown in my face: EMO.

I turn my back for a minute and the word emo gets used to represent every depressed, whiny, annoying little upper-middle class kid sporting sleeve tatoos, tight pants and eye shadow, writing songs about butterflies whilst burning old love letters of x-girlfriends and boyfriends. When did this happen. When did this happen? when did the internet become littered with ads for (emo)ticons, and when did all the porn sites start fetishizing 'emo' girls? How did this spiral so far out of control?

Those kids with their plush little minds will never know of the travesty in that word. That word used to mean something for me. It was about being in the moment and being emotionally charged when listening to the music, as if the music fueled one's existence. It set me apart from people, especially in high school. I felt as though I was part of an actual sub-culture. Emo meant taking long walks with head phones on, listening to The Get-Up Kids, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Appleseed Cast and Dismemberment Plan. These were bands that were fundamental in providing a solid musical foundation. A foundation that, if skipped over, or missed out on, would have severely derailed the trajectory of my musical discovery. Without this crucial musical sculpting of the mind, I'd surely be working a 9-5 cubical job and have had never listened to SUNNO))).

And even when I was in high school and the music was really starting to catch on, I would –although I never really listened to much of the older stuff – at least pay homage to the pioneers. My old roommate used to talk about the music scene in Kelowna, BC, back in the early 90's, where if you were emo it meant you wore a plain white t-shirt, a backpack, the occasional band pin and listened to bands like Rites of Spring, who paved the way for this new form of emotional rock, emerging out of the hardcore scene in Washington, DC in the mid 80's. Now the term gets slapped onto anything depressive, wussy, or goth-like. It's sad really, how skewed a term can become after it spreads through the media. Emo will never sound right to me when uttered on television by some MTV host. And I almost regret writing this because of all the spam I'm likely to receive as one usually receives after repeatedly using a tagged word. Emo word count: 7.

But hey, forgiddabouddit. Here's to summer and more blogging... for the less malleable minds.


Mark E. Rich said...

Yeah, same thing happened with Indie. Now any white guy with a guitar, a fuzz pedal and "oddball" lyrics is calling themselves indie. The term used to mean independent. Now we get major label bands like Metric or Broken Social Scene getting called indie. It's hardly an independent process anymore. Not saying these guys didn't have to work hard to get where they are (ie. a label they don't own or run puts out there record, and someone they hire books their shows across the globe), but the that term has become absolutely meaningless now. I can barely say it anymore.

Diana Simcea said...

This is so weird, spending all morning reading and searching the music from your blog, and then, surprise - this post! I'm a huge emo fan, almost obsessed considering the fact that I know every obscure and shitty emo band from the 90's. I really didn't expect to see this here, made my day. Cheers from Romania.

a d r i a n said...

Haha! I'm glad it could make your day. It's surely quite a divergent post from the majority of the blog but I guess I was overcome with the compulsion to write. Thanks for browsing and reading.