• Deconstructing the “Emo Revival”

    by  • October 23, 2013 • Features, News • 1 Comment


    Within the last couple of weeks there has been numerous debate amongst music purists who have drawn out conclusions that have ultimately predicted the revival of the emo genre.

    The recent debate of the emo revival sparked different perspectives from various Ramapo College students who were highly infatuated with the genre.

    Even though sophomore Tom Chupela, who has been infatuated with the emo genre from the old school to the wave ever since Middle School, he seemed indifferent about the genre being put under a pedestal for this revival.

    “Now it seems like being an emo or being in an emo band is almost becoming trendy in a way,” Chupela said. “The reason why is because the genre is actually getting coverage on popular music websites while newer emo bands like The World Is a Beautiful Place are placing on the Billboard Charts as well.”


    A collage of artists referenced in Stereogum’s “12 Bands You Need to Know From the Emo Revival” article. Bands like the The World is a Beautiful Place, Into it Over It, You Blew It Empire Empire (I was a Lonely Estate) were among the list of many who were highly referenced in this article. (PHOTO/Stereogum.com)


    In the beginning of the month, music sites like Stereogum and Pitchfork  released a feature list of “bands you need to know” that enlighten listeners of the fact that genre has been fully resurrected and is more alive than ever.

    Among the many artists listed in Stereogum’s article include bands like Into It Over It, You Blew It!, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, Empire! Empire! (I was a Lonely Estate) and Joie De Verve.  All of these bands are currently active on reigning independent record labels such as Topshelf Records and Count Your Lucky Stars Records.

    However, Noisey released an article a few weeks ago calling out those who bought into the emo revival by claiming that the genre never went away in the first place.

    Regardless of the each article’s conflicting view on the revival, junior Danielle Corcione is elated to see the emo genre gain this kind of attention and the recognition of being a credible and influential genre.

    “The emo genre is a subgenre, and a subculture, among millennials, so it’s relevant to how the indie industry is evolving,” Corcione said. “I was happy to see coverage on these sites about the emo revival to give the genre some kind of recognition at all.”

    The glory days of Emo

    The early origins of emo music can be traced back to the late 1980’s through the emergence of bands like Rites of Spring and Embrace; who have branched off from the violence and intensity of the hardcore punk scene.

    During the prime of the grunge explosion in the early 1990’s, the genre was truly defined by the influence of bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, Cap N’ Jazz, Jawbreaker and The Promise Ring, who set the standards for newer bands to follow suit.

    These acts normally made their calling by playing to devoted fans in crammed VFW halls.  Wearing their hearts on their sleeves, these bands crafted together passionate songs with a sensitive undertone that often complimented the intensity of punk music.

    Veterans still remain active in the scene though the old school passed on

    When reflecting back on the history of the emo genre, Stereogum justifies that the genre has been long over-due for a revival.

    However, where the heart of this debate lies comes from the opposing views of the site Noisey, who have pointed out that there are many musicians who are still apart of the scene after playing in bands for over 10 years.

    After reading both articles, Chupela also pointed out the genre has not technically been resurrected, but properly maintained by precursor musicians who are still playing music.

    “Clearly some musicians have been apart of the emo scene their whole lives,” Chupela said. “Sure most of the bands did die out in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, but there have been a select few that stuck with it.”

    Even Corcione also agrees that many there are many influential contributors to the genre still have been making their presence in the digital age regardless of this sudden rally cry of revival.

    “Tim Kasher of Cursive, has never stopped making music in the past decade and a half; plus Braid will be releasing a new album this year and even Texas Is The Reason played some reuinon shows within the past year.” Corcione said. “These were artists that inspired newer bands that come from of labels like Topshelf, Run For Cover, No Sleep, among others.”

    Why is everyone infatuated with the genre all of a sudden?

    Living in the digital age where impressionable listeners can discover new music through online means.  It’s evident that younger fans are more likely to turn music sites like Stereogum or Pitchfork for example, to discover new music.

    “Before this emo revival it did not seem likely that these new fans would have actually checked out these listed bands in the first place.” Chupela said.  “It seems like people really only pay attention when there are bands being placed on charts and being written about in magazines and online.”

    While Corcione doesn’t seem convinced this interest in emo music abruptly came out of nowhere, she does emphasize that fitting in does factor into why some people may turn to listening to underground music nowadays.

    “With terms like “hipster” becoming associated with this kind of music, individualism definitely is on the rise,” Corcione said. “Because emo music provides an escape from the mainstream radio, everyone wants to identify with a music taste that is not only uniquely theirs, but uniquely different from everyone else.”

    Giving credit to emo genre where credit is due

    While the debate still rages on amongst lovers of whether or not there is actually a revival of the emo genre, fans like Corcione still remains appreciative towards the impact of older bands while supporting the new wave of emo bands in the scene today.

    “I think it’s condescending when people compare new artists to old ones,” Corcione said. “I like progress, but I can appreciate the old. When it comes to referring back to the emo genre, having attention is better than not having attention at all.”

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    One Response to Deconstructing the “Emo Revival”

    1. ddepreker
      October 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Was a really well planned out article and you seem very passionate on the subject. The article doesn’t need much but one thing I would add is maybe a link to some audio the reader could listen to. Besides that, great job.

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