Music and Fashion

The Origin and Evolution Emo.

We have already seen how fashion and music have walked the same path in recent decades, influencing each other. The boundary between the two expressions has often been very blurred. Fashion is also very often a type of expression that we could define “artistic”, where the choice of clothes, accessories, haircut or tattoos are personal, objective, but which become a universal language.

In the case of Emo culture, the basis of personal expression is the sharing of one’s own emotions, the most intimate, sometimes often the most painful.
Being Emo does not only mean listening to a certain type of music, but also adopting looks that well define the emotion of a particular moment.

Emo and Punk-Rock

The term Emocore was used to indicate a musical subgenre that spread, at the turn of the 70s and 80s, in the United States, and represented the end point of the trajectory of punk-rock started in 1976.

Initially used to describe music of Washington DC and the bands associated with it, this name was then extended to further musical variations that followed. It seems that the use of the word emo was linked, originally, to the will of the bands to “arouse emotions” in the listener during concerts.

In the beginning punk-rock was nihilistic: it boasted of having no meaning, no interest in society. Then the indifference turned into a deep-rooted anger expressed and transferred with the power of music to the public with more defined and political messages. 

The Origin and Evolution of Emo

Twelve Hour Turn – Emocore

The Origin and Evolution of Emo

Emocore had a more private meaning, by going from the social sphere to the individual sphere and despite the similarity of tone, the emocore represented almost the exact opposite of what punk-rock wanted to be in 1976.

The Origin and Evolution of Emo Lil Peep

Lil Peep

The Origin and Evolution of Emo


This modern youth subculture of gothic-punk matrix is ​​characterized by a nihilistic, in some cases, self-harming philosophy of life. One aspect, this one, stigmatized a lot by the mainstream media who treat emo as poor people committed to suicide.

This peculiar feature, which identifies the Emo movement, made the members of this world look, by everyone, as “those who arm themselves”.

In a society that wants us all to be beautiful and happy, consumers and superficial, those who express strong emotions and the “pain of living” do not fit. In short, those who go beyond appearances can only be underdogs.

Most of the time, however, these are young teenagers with the need to look for their own dimension and space who, as can be easily understood from the word “emo”, are looking for emotions that express an increasingly widespread symptom of discomfort.

The frequent use of body mod is one of the recurring features while a noteworthy aspect is that who belong to this modern subculture apparently takes great care of the look, inspired by punk and Gothic, with influences dark style influences.

Look and fashion become vehicles of communication, explicitly discussing the link between appearance and identity to transmit – especially to adults – their own distance from the dominant social roles, in a continuous definition and redefinition of one’s condition as future adults.

  • The “emo kids” can be considered the “real emos”. These are young people who make depression and emotions a real lifestyle.
  • The “posers” are those of the first generation and refer to the original current of the 80s, born as an “alternative movement” to the sub-genre of punk music. They are considered “fundamentalists” and not “corrupt” by the recent developments of the phenomenon: in fact they listen only to music and do not follow fashion. The term poser was born as an epithet used, in their regard, in a derogatory sense;
  • The “emo darks” are the more “fundamentalist” variant than the previous ones. They have new musical interests and use to wear totally black or dark colours.
  • Scene queen” and “Scene king” are the latest news. These are web celebrities because they have at least one web page with numerous visitors and fans. It is a trend that goes beyond the
    way of dressing with a search for attention and celebrity through a maniacal image care.
My Chemical Romance

The Music

In the music field, the term emo has extended a lot compared to its origins and currently includes all those groups that are inspired by hardrock punk.

In the beginning there was “emocore”, the style invented in the late 80s by Rites Of Spring and the Embraces by the Washington contingent. Which introduced a new melodic component in the sound, so as to shape an innovative genre that from that moment was destined to have an ever greater consensus especially among the younger ones.

In the 90s, moreover, this sound was influenced considerably by another musical subgenre, indie rock, which distinguishes the current emo from the previous one.
Other emo groups include Him playing love metal, Panic At The Disco or My Chemical Romance whose lyrics deal almost exclusively with sad and gloomy themes. To continue this short list we can find Fall Out Boy, Finch, From Autumn To Ashes, From First to Last, The Juliana Theory and others with their “emotional” hardcore that alternates silent and furious musical parts, leverages on emotional song that whisper and shout within the same song, and is not limited to the short/fast format of hardcore.

The Origin and Evolution of Emo Panic at the Disco!

Panic at the Disco!

The Origin and Evolution of Emo

Modern Emo and Influences

Today the pioneers of the genre are Lil Peep, pseudonym of Gustav Elijah Åhr (Allentown, 1 November 1996 – Tucson, 15 November 2017), who was an American rapper, songwriter and model. He is known for being considered the pioneer of the post-emo genre revival based on hip hop and rock music.

My Chemical Romance‘s music has been labeled by the media as emo, pop punk, post-hardcore. The group itself describes their genre as “rock” on their official website and reject the term “emo” to describe their style. However, they have also been heavily influenced by horror films and comics, and their music, lyrics and images often feature elements taken from fantasy books, fiction, horror, and a certain theatricality.

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