Emo is a genre of music that originated from hardcore punk and later adopted pop punk influences when it became mainstream in the United States.
It has since come to describe several variations of music with common roots and associated fashion and stereotypes.
In the mid-1980s, the term emo described a subgenre of hardcore punk which stemmed from the Washington, D.C. music scene. In later years, the term emocore, short for "emotional hardcore", was also used to describe the emotional performances of bands in the Washington, D.C. scene and some of the offshoot regional scenes such as Rites of Spring, Embrace, One Last Wish, Beefeater, Gray Matter, Fire Party, and later, Moss Icon.
Today popular bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Panic at the Disco, and Paramore are rock bands that are identified as being in the emo music genre.
2003 saw the success of Chris Carrabba, the former singer of emo band Further Seems Forever, and his project Dashboard Confessional. Carrabba found himself part of the emerging "popular" emo scene. Carrabba's music featured lyrics founded in deep diary-like outpourings of emotion. While certainly emotional, the new "emo" had a far greater appeal amongst adolescents than its earlier bands.
At the same time, use of the term "emo" expanded beyond the musical genre, which added to the confusion surrounding the term. The word "emo" became associated with open displays of strong emotion. Common fashion styles and attitudes that were becoming idiomatic of fans of similar "emo" bands also began to be referred to as "emo." As a result, bands that were loosely associated with "emo" trends or simply demonstrated emotion began to be referred to as emo.
Screamo, a more aggressive sub-genre of emo that began in the early 90s, has found greater popularity in recent years through bands such as Glassjaw.
Fashion and stereotype
Today emo is commonly tied to both music and fashion as well as an inspiration toward the emo subculture, and the term "emo" is sometimes stereotyped with tight jeans on males and females alike, long fringe (bangs) brushed to one side of the face or over one or both eyes, dyed black, straight hair, tight t-shirts (usually short-sleeved) which often bear the names of emo bands (or other designer shirts), studded belts, belt buckles, canvas sneakers or skate shoes or other black shoes and thick, black horn-rimmed glasses. This fashion has at times been characterized as a fad. Early on, emo fashion was associated with a clean cut look but as the style spread to younger teenagers, the style has become darker, with emphasis on the colour black.
In recent years the popular media have associated emo with a stereotype that includes being emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden. It is also associated with depression, self-injury, and suicide.
Emo Music & Suicide
Emo music has been blamed for the suicide by hanging of Hannah Bond by both the coroner at the inquest into her death and her mother, Heather Bond, after it was claimed that emo music glamourized suicide and her apparent obsession with My Chemical Romance was said to be linked to her suicide. The inquest heard that she was part of an Internet "emo" cult and her Bebo page contained an image of an 'emo girl' with bloody wrists. It also heard that she had discussed the "glamour" of hanging online and had explained to her parents that her self harming was an "emo initiation ceremony".
Talented karate artist and "model pupil" Hannah Bond, 13, was found hanging from beneath her bunk bed with a tie in the early hours of September 23 at her family home in East Peckham.
On her Bebo page Hanna, who used the online name Living Disaster and had internet friends with names like Sam Suicide, said she was obsessed with the hugely popular My Chemical Romance band, whose hit number one with their last album The Black Parade. Her mother, Heather Bond, told the court how she learned The Black Parade is "where you go when you die" as she researched the emo fad. She said: "The whole concept is aimed at people Hannah's age. In emo it is a very glamorous death to hang yourself. There are websites that show pink teddies hanging themselves. The band she was into, the music she was into - the whole thing is based on The Black Parade which is all about dying. She called emo a fashion and I thought it was normal. I didn't know about the cuts. She used to wear emo bracelets so her wrists were concealed". Her father, Ray Bond, wept as he said: "Two weeks before I saw the cuts I asked her about them and we discussed how it was an emo initiation. She promised me she would never do it again. She was in in touch with emos all over the world, particularly from America, over the internet. The night before she hanged herself she came into the room and gave me a big kiss and said 'I love you, Dad'".
In the hours before her death Miss Bond had been hanging out with her boyfriend and others at a pal's home. As Hannah entered her family home she said she wanted to go straight upstairs. Heather told how she said: "I want to kill myself". That was the last time she was seen alive.
Visitors to the Miss Bond's Bebo profile page are greeted with the words "Hi I'm Hannah and I'm addicted to My Chemical Romance, especially Gerard Way". She even lists her hometown as "The Black Parade", and her playlist shows she has been repeatedly listening to 14 of the group's hits. The page is decorated with pictures of an emo girl with blood-spattered wrists after slashing herself in an apparent suicide bid. Another picture shows a child's exercise book scrawled with the words "Dear Diary, today I gave up..."
Fans of emo music contacted NME (New Musical Express) magazine to defend against accusations that it promotes self harm and suicide.
In Russia, a law has been presented at the Duma to regulate emo websites and forbid emo style at schools and government buildings, for fears of emo being a "dangerous teen trend" promoting anti-social behaviour, depression, social withdrawal and even suicide.
My Chemical Romance: Suicide Denial
My Chemical Romance have responded to claims that their music somehow inspired the 13 year-old UK girl Hannah Bond to commit suicide. It was also revealed that the girl had a history of self-harm, her father said that Bond had hurt herself before and claimed that it was an emo initiation ceremony. The coroner Sykes testified, "the emo overtones concerning death and associating it with glamour I find very disturbing." The girl reportedly told online friends of her plans to hang herself and live on in the afterlife as a member of "The Black Parade" - the title of a My Chemical Romance album.
The band has responded to this story with this statement: "We have recently learned of the suicide and tragic loss of Hannah Bond. We'd like to send our condolences to her family during this time of mourning. Our hearts and thoughts are with them. My Chemical Romance are and always have been vocally anti-violence and anti-suicide. As a band, we have always made it one of our missions through our actions to provide comfort, support, and solace to our fans".