March 10, 2009


Stupid Jimmy Eat World for making me think about my undeniable connection to bands that are currently regarded as crap. I opted out of discussing the ridiculousness of Jimmy Eat World hitting the road for ten dates in honor of Clarity‘s tenth anniversary (get it? one show for every year!) mostly because talking about men with beer guts and “Hear You Me” tattoos is depressing as fuck. But now that the reviews of the shows are coming back, I think I should clarify, yeah, I liked Saves The Day, Get Up Kids, Brand New and Taking Back Sunday back in high school, but I am not trying to relive those glory days by joining the Chuck Taylor-wearing throngs of former “emo” kids that broke the floor at the Marquee Theater in Tempe on Sunday. Mostly because of the constant use of that empty word–emo. God, I hate that word and Jimmy Eat World selling out the fucking Nokia Theater last weekend gave everyone another excuse to use it poorly.

All I know is that what I considered “pop punk” for most of my platinum blonde-underside-spiked-hair years suddenly became another generation of “emo” when bands like Jimmy Eat World hit MTV and I pretty much resented the spawning of all the websites highlighting middle-American depressed high schooler stereotypes and t-shirts saying “I wish my lawn was emo so it would cut itself” that made my music not okay anymore. These bands spoke to my angst. They whined and cried about loss and fucking understood what it was like to be an unappreciated loser sitting alone at your parents house needing someone to hug. I liked the music. I liked the shows, the community and I liked the lyrics. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but I was 15 for crissake!

For me, the word “emo” ruined everything because anyone that wasn’t part of a recognizable punk-related music subculture got lumped into one category. If the lyrics were slightly emotional, it was emo. If my hair was pink, I was emo. If you longed for acoustic versions of your favorite song, then you were emo. And if anyone followed these seven easy steps, they, too, could be emo!

But, I never understood the logic of lumping. All music is based on emotion. Anger is an emotion and the Sex Pistols were pretty fucking angry at the Queen Mother. Even avoidance of feeling—like Andrew WK’s need to “party hard”—means the music is, at least initially, based on emotion.  So why is being sad such a bad emotion to have? And if women are supposed to be emotional creatures why was I mocked in the same way as my effeminate male counterparts? Why am I still mocked when I craves me some Can’t Slow Down?

From Rites of Spring to Fall Out Boy, the word emo has been taken too far. If the punks in Mexico would stop finding reasons to over-exert their punkness and the current generation of 15 year-old “emo” kids would stop taking photos of themselves in underwear wishing they were Audrey Kitching, then maybe Dave Soloway will rejoin Saves The Day and I can finally bump Brand Nizzle without fear of persecution.



One Response to “ph-EMO-menon”

  1. […] life proving to be separate from. And I’m aware that all of this stands in direct negation of my previous post about my scorn for the word “emo” (where I hate on the younger generation for […]

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