Sadly, a lot of people have very limited opinions (and ideas) about emotional hardcore music, or emo music. Some would even assume that for as long as the lyrics aren't clear and the lead vocalist is singing on hyper drive, then it must be emo music. What most of you didn't know is that emo developed from music recorded on vinyl. It can be considered Indie, sure, but it most probably emerged into being before they even had a name for it. With its roots in hardcore punk, emo music is bringing the core of punk music into a whole different level. With people buying more CDs, downloading stuff off the net, and investing in music hardware or software like there was no tomorrow, I wouldn't be surprised if emo music became another solid category all on its own, like pop rock or country.
You can't possibly understand emo music without taking the time to ponder on its evolution. Just like with other genres, emo has no clear-cut definition. Some would even call it a lyrical and sonic revolution. You hear these artists and bands play some kind of a distraught yet endearing sound you've never quite heard before and you find yourself actually liking it -- it's the most successful 21st century snake charmer routine to date.
Even though emo started in the 80's, the most popular emo music only came out and boomed in the 90's until the present. What started out as a fast, loud, hard, intense, and one-tracked version of punk (emocore) lead to a varied post-indie rock that more people seemed to relate better to. Bands like Jimmy Eat World started to perform across the country, had their five minutes of fame on MTV or a far-reaching alternative radio show, appeared on next-generation movie soundtracks, and before anyone knew what hit them, the mosh pit of sound was reborn.
One can expect that the appeal of emo music would vary, since people have particularly sundry tastes. The emo music scene was almost completely divided, leading to variations that only die-hard emo fans can fully grasp. On one hand, you have the heavy, faster-than-fast, noise-bouncing-off-the-walls variety which blended elements of apocalyptic chaos and neurotic grind-core with nose-bleeding screams. These bands would include One Eyed God Prophecy, Living War Room, To Dream Of Autumn, and Reversal Of Man. On another part of the pie graph, you have experimental analog synths and new wave or goth. Bands like Crimson Curse, Slaves, VSS, and Das Audience did a lot of post-emo style-rock in their time. It is also believed that this lead to the birth of an almost exclusively Californian indie sound that brought about the unique styles of bands like The White Stripes, The Hives, The Strokes, and The Faint, mixing a little 60's and 70's rock whenever they can.
To date, there is a very good collection of awesome emo music albums that everyone should listen to at least once in their lives. The self-titled LP or CD from Embrace, End On End by Rites of Spring, Lyburnum Wit's End Liberation Fly by Moss Icon, Plays Pretty For Baby by Nation of Ulysses, and the self-titled EP or CD from Heroin are only some of the first rocking emo records released.2 comments