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Emo (short for emotional) is a genre of punk rock music. The term was originally applied to bands in the Washington DC punk scene who played a more raucous and emotional form of punk than the norm. There are many legends concerning the origin of the term 'emo', but one of the most prevelant is that at an early DC show, a fan shouted "You're emo!" at a band (though the myths differ as to which band - some say Embrace, some say Rites of Spring). Another argument is that emo is short for emotional.

The genre (or at least the classic "DC sound", pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring[?], Embrace[?], Gray Matter[?] and Shudder to Think[?]) has its roots in punk rock. Perhaps the biggest influence over the genre was Minneapolis, MN's Husker Du, whose 1984 album Zen Arcade[?] provided the blueprint for early emo; complex music with intense vocals and deeply introspective songwriting. The influential early emo (or, as it became known, emocore) band Rites of Spring sped up this style.

The next stage in the genre's evolution came in 1982 through 1992 with bands such as Indian Summer[?], Moss Icon[?], Policy of Three[?], Still Life[?] and Navio Forge[?]. The "quiet/loud" dynamic often heard in the music of recent bands such as Saetia[?] and Thursday[?] was pioneered by bands such as this. Vocally, these bands intensified the emocore style. Such bands were often left crying or screaming at the end of their performances. This led to many hardcore fans putting down emo fans as "wimps", or "weaklings".

Just as emo added a new found intensity to the original emocore style, the style of hardcore emo brought the intensity to a climax. The scene had its beginnings in 1991-92 with bands such as Heroin[?], Portraits of Past[?] and Antioch Arrow[?], who played chaotic hardcore music with abrasive, emotional vocals.

After building to a climax in terms of chaos and intensity with hardcore emo, emo began to slow down. Bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate[?] and Mineral[?] came forth playing a slower but still frail and emotional style of emo, mixing the early, emocore sound of Rites of Spring with the post-hardcore innovation of Fugazi.

Today the term 'emo' continues to become increasingly ambiguous. With the success of bands such as The Get Up Kids, Jimmy Eat World and The Promise Ring[?], the mainstream media became ever more interested in the genre, tending to label many indie-rock bands as emo. The term has become a catch-all encompassing many guitar-pop bands that have emerged from the underground, and bands as diverse as Thursday[?] and Taking Back Sunday[?] being referred to in the same breath as Dashboard Confessional[?] and the New Amsterdams[?].

Not to be confused with:

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