Intro To Emo 101

Well, here’s something new for you. If anyone reading this knows me by name on this blog, they will know that I am, at best, inconsistent with my writing. I often lack motivation or inspiration and don’t write anything for months on end, telling myself that I’m waiting for the next great thing to come along that I can wax lyrical about. In an effort to force myself to abandon this dumbass outlook and write more regularly, here’s what you’re getting instead: Sad Saturdays. This is a weekly (hopefully) piece in which I delve into the genre that most piques my interest: emo.

What even is emo?  This is a question you are very well entitled to ask. Talk show morons worried about their children dyeing their hair will tell you emo is My Chemical Romance and Bring Me The Horizon, whilst genre nerds with poor personal hygiene will tell you emo is actually The Promise Ring, Rites of Spring and American Football, you know man? Because they apparently know best, even though their mums still cut the crusts off their sandwiches for them. In truth, emo is an incestuous lovechild of many genres that seems to go by many aliases. If you’re a pop punk band moving towards more emotive lyrics, that’s emo. If you’re a post-hardcore band that softens your instrumentals, that’s emo. Hell, if you’re an indie band with twinkly guitars, you’re probably emo.

The point here is, it doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t have to. At the risk of sounding like a half-baked philosophy student, in essence, none of it really matters. The name “emo” is simply a nice, neat way of categorising a bunch of incongruent stuff that I’d like to write about. Expect features on some emerging emo bands, reviews of new releases, thinkpieces on the genre as a whole and most likely many hundreds of words of me rambling on about how Modern Baseball are the best thing to come out of the emo revival (do not question me on this, I am correct). These pieces will range from your standard reviews of some of my favourite albums, hidden gems I’ve discovered on Bandcamp, deconstructions of genre conventions and a heavy dose of sarcasm about said genre conventions. Why does emo have to be so serious? Hell, why do genres in general have to be so uptight?

Anyhow, this is just a small space for me to explore my little niche and drag some other people along for the ride. With a shortlist of bands I’d love to showcase here, and more than a few quibbles with the finer points of this unrepentant bastard of a genre, there should be a lot of content in my future. Whether my mostly incoherent ramblings make any impact remains to be seen, but stay tuned for weekly pieces, every Saturday starting from this weekend, indulging my, admittedly terrible, personal tastes in music. Looking forward to annoying you all with my hot takes on dumb issues and great albums, every weekend.

Josef Smith

Photo credit: Chris Strong for the original American Football LP cover

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