What's the Deal with Emo Music?
Emo music sprang from the Washington, D.C., hardcore scene in the mid 1980s.
Most people trace the genre back to just one band: Rites of Spring, which gets credit for mixing hardcore's vitriol and hard-edged sound with personal, "emotional" lyrics. They got tagged as "emo-core," and though the band still disavows the label, their influence can be felt over the next two decades of emo music.
Musically and geographically, the genre started to spread out in the 1990s. Bands in the Midwest and on the West Coast took the blueprint of emo-core and tied it to a softer sound. In its new incarnation, the singers delivered more tortured, quivering vocals. Newer bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Weezer and Fall Out Boy have come to define the emo genre, even if they don't care to be associated with it.
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