what bands are True Emo? bc when i think of emo i think of lo-fi but i'm pretty sure that's bc i'm 18 so i wasnt around for the Real Emo Tunes :(
i’mma answer this publicly because i needed the excuse to be entirely self indulgent, k?
wait. hold on.
*puts on grad school hat*
so my answer/view on what counts as “emo” is really heavily influenced by this book, Nothing Feels Good, its been years now since i’ve read it, but it includes (may be wholly?) a history of the development of emo as a genre, as well as profiles on some really well known bands. what’s super cool about it is that it was very of the moment. it was published in 2003, which is when emo was gaining mainstream notoriety amongst rock circles, but was nowhere near the cultural zeitgeist it became.
so if you ask me, i’d argue, as andy greenwald identifies in Nothing Feels Good that “true emo” bands would include the likes of Rites of Spring, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jets to Brazil, Mineral, American Football etc*. There’s a really interesting idea that Dan kept kind of bumping up against but didn’t really articulate–that late 00′s emo and the indie music that was fucking exploding around that same time (so, your Death Cab for Cuties, Minus the Bear, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc) actually have a common ancestor in the early 00s emo that was coming out of places like DC and further Northeast (as far North East as…New Jersey, eh? eh?). But Dan says some bullshit about the indie guys not liking the emo guys, not exactly? Like sometimes indie guy and the emo guy were the same dude.
And that dude was a dude who was into the hardcore scene/punk, but who wanted to sing about his feelings and heartbreak, and mental health issues, things that were seen as more feminine and less aligned with the more masculine, more politically charged punk/hardcore scene.
And so you have bunch of dudes doing this, with differing levels of alignment with the hardcore scene. On one end of the spectrum you’ve got your Thrices, your Alkaline Trios and on the other end you’ve got your Sunny Day Real Estates, or even further, your Dashboard Confessionals where he’s not even using an electric guitar.
This, btw, is part of why you’ve got both Death Cab for Cutie and AFI on the same list of bands that are “emo” on wikipedia. The whole emo genre was actually super fucking prolific and because the genre qualifications were so vauge (its “emotional” “rock” music. that’s a lot of musical space to play in) a lot of different sounds were able out of early 00s emo.
Mix emo with hardcore? You get Thrice.
Mix emo with goth? AFI and Hawthorne Heights
Mix is with metal? You get Coheed and Cambria, I guess??
Mix it with rap? Dear god you get Brokencyde, undo undo.
And if you mix it with pop? Well shit, you just built a Fall Out Boy.
So, Dann, you say, I didn’t need any of this.
I mean that’s fair, but I’m sure you’re also wondering where the fuck My Chem, P!atD and FOB come in.