Emo has become the one thing that it was created never to become, emo is as mainstream as mainstream itself. Many people place the blame on bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, who some call the "king of emo himself", the All-American Rejects or any of the new pop-punk bands that are on the radio.
That isn't true they are just trying to get there music heard worldwide and thier succeding. Many people think emo is just a phase like goth that kids go through then they become normal again, others say its a punk that crys a lot for the girl that broke his heart, or maybe its a phrase for indie rock, it is easier to say emo (short for emotional) then independant music.
The origins of emo are easy, it was when the first band picked up thier instruments and poured out their thoughts on stage or rehearsal space. When the beatles sang songs of love and the hundreds of bands that followed them doing the same thing. The only difference is that the sound has changed, now music is filled with poppy-bass lines, catchy riffs, and high pitched vocals, a more jump around sound then the "I love you, heres the song I wrote for you" sound. Post-Punk is another term for emo that refers to punk bands that in place of short 2 minute songs with scratchy vocals you have longer songs with singing or talking (ex: Alkaline Trio comapered to NoFX; The Get-up Kids compared to The Pixies).
Hardcore music such as poison the well, thrice, quicksand, the used, norma jean, even get thrown into this emo mix but thats because they both have strong emotions conveyed in their music and put energy into a song, you hear and feel it when you listen to them, the guitars collide with a fierce rythme section or a calm song filled with emotional voice. Post-Punk bands like Cursive, Desaparicidos, Criteria En Grande, fall under the omaha sound that has weird rihthmes and whispered vocals, but bands like Thursday also share that common sound that wouldn't neccessarily be heard in mainstream music. Saddle Creek records a label started by Coner Oberst (Bright Eyes/Desaparicidos) for his band Cammander Venus, has spawned many of the leading emo bands holds what some to be true emo music that is emotional music with singers who pour thier hearts out in whatever way they feel neccessary whether it be screaming or singing.
Post-Hardcore, also known as Screamo is another label associated with emo. It is when emo bands scream. This style of emo goes more into punk because the vocals function as another instrument and sometimes are followed or overdubbed by singing. Still Life were one of the first bands to do this then other bands such as Thursday, Coheed and Cambria, and silverstein caught onto the idea and made it into their own thing. Fugazi are also credited with starting emo as well as thousands of different bands form different local scenes in the 80s and some garage bands from the 70s but wait, pink floyd were doing the same thing many emo bands do today and that is a good live show and pouring out emotions to the listener.
Many people belive many different things about why and how emo became mainstream. Some say its because of D/C or Jimmy Eat World but really it would be because so many more people are feeling isolated by pop-music or the mainstream so they buy something different and now that trend has spread. The Get-up Kids, Sunny Day Real Estate, Thursday many people call them sell outs because they signed to major labels and thats not true selling-out is when you only do it because its cool, or you get paid, you sell-out when you think your selling out.
Weezer are sometimes labeled as the godfathers of emo, even though they have been on the radio for years, they're nothing new but when emo came up they seemed like the perfect band to pave the way for this new trend and now bands like the used, thursday, taking back sunday are paving the way for emotional music into the mainstream. Many people don't think they're buying into it because they call themselves "indie rock" or "hardcore kid" , well, they are. Emo is defined by one thing, how emotional the song is.
- Stephen Landry