What defines 3rd wave of emo as a genre?

My name is FezMy name is Fez Road Warrior
edited March 2009 in History of Rock
I was talking to my girlfriend's brother about 30 Seconds to Mars, and, well, this conversation took place...

Me: It irritates me that they call themselves prog.
Him: They do? Wow. That's lame, they're emo!
Me: ...No they're not.
Him: Dude, they totally are! They write all kinds of depressing stuff.
Me: And? Bands from every genre do that, that doesn't mean anything.
Him: Yeah, but it's ALL they do.
Me: And? Lyrics don't define a genre. Sound, technique, and song structure among other factors is what shapes a genre.
Him: Dude, what if Led Zeppelin wrote a song about cutting their wrists?
Me: If "Black Dog" was about cutting your wrists, that would be a rock song about cutting your wrists.
Him: I don't know, man.
Me: But I do. Emo is NOT defined by lyrics at all. People lump in bands like 30StM and Coheed with emo simply because a lot of scene assholse like it, and no one knows what "emo" actually is.

He stopped arguing with me and I didn't want to pound the idea into his head.

Now, I know that he's obviously wrong, that's not really what my question is.

I have a faint idea as to what 3rd wave of emo entails and how it sounds, but I'm a lot better at picking out what ISN'T emo versus what is.

So what precisely is it that defines emo as a genre so I can actually (hopefully) try to explain to my girlfriend's brother why 30 Seconds to Mars isn't emo just because Rock Band put them into that genre?

Comments

  • Nuff_SaidNuff_Said Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    i was never even aware there was a 2nd wave of emo music.
  • My name is FezMy name is Fez Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    Nuff_Said;2051293 said:
    i was never even aware there was a 2nd wave of emo music.
    I'm pretty sure it's 3rd wave.

    I never really followed it. If I'm wrong, replace "3rd wave" with "most recent wave"
  • Onslaught_feiOnslaught_fei Headliner
    edited March 2009
    I never argue with anyone irl about musical genres beyond my close circle of friends. I just feel like an ass when doing so. As for what defines "emo" as a genre, it depends to who you talk to. The UK see emo as MCR, FOB, etc... because that is what was imported to them (They never got the Virigina based local scene stuff). Harmonix has genre-cast the Mars songs into "emo" and much of the mainstream media and populace does as well. Its like when hair metal took over the limelight and metalheads collecting groaned. I honestly have no idea on 3rd wave, 2nd wave, or 1st wave emo though. To be honest, everyone I know calls Mars an emo band, but then everyone I hang around are barbarians ;p

    Thats all I got on the subject ;\
  • Onslaught_feiOnslaught_fei Headliner
    edited March 2009
    I also remember when the WOW forum boards attacked http://www.emo-corner.com/. Pretty insightful as almost everyone that posts didnt know who the hell Fugazi was. Just reading through this thread: http://www.emo-corner.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7 is pretty entertaining.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    i'd say bands like envy, gauge means nothing, funeral diner, raein, and the pine are good examples of 3rd wave emo in that they actually sound like emo and have a clue in regards to emo's roots.
  • edited March 2009
    I'm not a big fan of creating endless sub genres and ultra specific little compartments that music HAS to live in, but in the interest of addressing the OP's question I'll take a crack at it. Here's my take on the evolution of emo, based on my familiarity with the genre over the last 12 years or so.

    First wave bands almost universally cringed at the emo label. Most bands identified themselves as hardcore bands or emotional hardcore bands. Much of the first wave of emo bands came out of DC, born from the break up of hardcore punk bands like Minor Threat, Faith, Government Issue. Kids involved in the DC scene had grown disgusted with the violence, cliques, and macho posturing in the hardcore scene and endeavored to form new bands that retained the intensity and urgency of hardcore punk while focusing on more introspective and artistic content.

    Bands like Rites of Spring, Embrace, Fugazi, Dag Nasty, and Nation of Ulysses set the standard for raw and intense hardcore that was unafraid to sing about things such as *gasp* their emotions.

    As the above bands gained prominence in underground music circles, emo, as all genres of music tend to do, began to splinter. You can start to see elements of emotional hardcore mix with abrasive vocals and music played at blistering speeds as the first screamo bands begin to form (Swing Kids, Antioch Arrow, Heroin, Portraits of Past, etc). Emo began to blend with pop punk and it developed into many of the bands recognized as second wave emo bands. Groups like The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, Braid, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Jimmy Eat World approached emo from a more melodic angle. Many of these bands feature members of former hardcore bands, and there is still a definite sense of the hardcore punk energy, but the bouncy bass lines, poppy sing along choruses, and tongue in cheek fun added a great deal of levity to the emo scene.

    Much of what is labeled as emo now bears little resemblance to first wave emo, and seems to be judged on style more than substance. Many second wave emo bands evolved into much poppier outfits, or began to dabble with larger musical experimentation. "Emo" bands now run the gamut from folk and country influenced acts like Bright Eyes and other Saddle Creek Records bands, to more polished pop or even prog acts like 30 Seconds to Mars or Coheed and Cambria. The difficulty in labeling bands now is that they all have such vastly different influences that two "emo" bands, identified as such by wither fashion stereotypes or a penchant for open and emotional lyrics, may actually sound nothing alike!

    It's hard to say what defines the third wave of emo bands. Just because you have emotional lyrics, that doesn't mean you're an emo band. Guy, from Rites of Spring and Fugazi, recently spoke out against the emo label (a genre he's largely credited as founding) stating: "The reason I think [the name emo is] so stupid is that—what, like the Bad Brains weren't emotional? What—they were robots or something? It just doesn't make any sense to me."

    There are still introspective hardcore punk acts out there, and there are still screamo bands shooting for maximum catharsis through their music, and there's still plenty of pop bands playing heartfelt songs... but it seems to me like most third wave or current emo bands are defined more by the clothes they wear, the name of their band, or a perceived sense of depression based on the fact that they wrote one song about breaking up with a girl.
  • My name is FezMy name is Fez Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    HMXHenry;2051550 said:
    I'm not a big fan of creating endless sub genres and ultra specific little compartments that music HAS to live in, but in the interest of addressing the OP's question I'll take a crack at it. Here's my take on the evolution of emo, based on my familiarity with the genre over the last 12 years or so.

    First wave bands almost universally cringed at the emo label. Most bands identified themselves as hardcore bands or emotional hardcore bands. Much of the first wave of emo bands came out of DC, born from the break up of hardcore punk bands like Minor Threat, Faith, Government Issue. Kids involved in the DC scene had grown disgusted with the violence, cliques, and macho posturing in the hardcore scene and endeavored to form new bands that retained the intensity and urgency of hardcore punk while focusing on more introspective and artistic content.

    Bands like Rites of Spring, Embrace, Fugazi, Dag Nasty, and Nation of Ulysses set the standard for raw and intense hardcore that was unafraid to sing about things such as *gasp* their emotions.

    As the above bands gained prominence in underground music circles, emo, as all genres of music tend to do, began to splinter. You can start to see elements of emotional hardcore mix with abrasive vocals and music played at blistering speeds as the first screamo bands begin to form (Swing Kids, Antioch Arrow, Heroin, Portraits of Past, etc). Emo began to blend with pop punk and it developed into many of the bands recognized as second wave emo bands. Groups like The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, Braid, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Jimmy Eat World approached emo from a more melodic angle. Many of these bands feature members of former hardcore bands, and there is still a definite sense of the hardcore punk energy, but the bouncy bass lines, poppy sing along choruses, and tongue in cheek fun added a great deal of levity to the emo scene.

    Much of what is labeled as emo now bears little resemblance to first wave emo, and seems to be judged on style more than substance. Many second wave emo bands evolved into much poppier outfits, or began to dabble with larger musical experimentation. "Emo" bands now run the gamut from folk and country influenced acts like Bright Eyes and other Saddle Creek Records bands, to more polished pop or even prog acts like 30 Seconds to Mars or Coheed and Cambria. The difficulty in labeling bands now is that they all have such vastly different influences that two "emo" bands, identified as such by wither fashion stereotypes or a penchant for open and emotional lyrics, may actually sound nothing alike!

    It's hard to say what defines the third wave of emo bands. Just because you have emotional lyrics, that doesn't mean you're an emo band. Guy, from Rites of Spring and Fugazi, recently spoke out against the emo label (a genre he's largely credited as founding) stating: "The reason I think [the name emo is] so stupid is that—what, like the Bad Brains weren't emotional? What—they were robots or something? It just doesn't make any sense to me."

    There are still introspective hardcore punk acts out there, and there are still screamo bands shooting for maximum catharsis through their music, and there's still plenty of pop bands playing heartfelt songs... but it seems to me like most third wave or current emo bands are defined more by the clothes they wear, the name of their band, or a perceived sense of depression based on the fact that they wrote one song about breaking up with a girl.
    Quite informative, sir. Thank you very much. That's what I was trying to differentiate, actual emo vs. bands who just wear eyeliner and write break-up songs. That was quite helpful.
  • elfreakoelfreako Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    HMXHenry;2051550 said:
    emo bands are defined more by the clothes they wear, the name of their band, or a perceived sense of depression based on the fact that they wrote one song about breaking up with a girl.
    That says it all. There is no third wave.
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited March 2009
    elfreako;2051594 said:
    That says it all. There is no third wave.
    Tell that to La Quiete, ...Who Calls So Loud, Hot Cross, etc.

    See; Afterstatis' post for my opinion for the most part on "third wave emo".
  • back_blowsback_blows Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    Gowienczyk;2051618 said:
    Tell that to La Quiete, ...Who Calls So Loud, Hot Cross, etc.

    See; Afterstatis' post for my opinion for the most part on "third wave emo".
    Why can't people spell his name correctly?
  • Nuff_SaidNuff_Said Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    back_blows;2051699 said:
    Why can't people spell his name correctly?
    he has too many posts that peoples' fingers tremble in fear while they type. Hence, all the typos.
  • Onslaught_feiOnslaught_fei Headliner
    edited March 2009
    Nuff_Said;2051707 said:
    he has too many posts that peoples' fingers tremble in fear while they type. Hence, all the typos.
    I hear his post count has a 20% chance to impregnate any women within a 5 mile radius of someone reading one of his thread replies.
  • edited March 2009
    Gowienczyk;2051618 said:
    Tell that to La Quiete, ...Who Calls So Loud, Hot Cross, etc.

    See; Afterstatis' post for my opinion for the most part on "third wave emo".
    There are definitely still emo bands out there, but I find that the best of them tend to lean more towards the screamo side of things. Orchid, Wolves, Books Lie, Kid Eternal, Last Forty Seconds, The Saddest Landscape, etc. are all really interesting bands.

    Energy, Shook Ones, and Sinking Ships are a few of the great melodic hardcore bands out now as well.
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited March 2009
    HMXHenry;2051913 said:
    There are definitely still emo bands out there, but I find that the best of them tend to lean more towards the screamo side of things. Orchid, Wolves, Books Lie, Kid Eternal, Last Forty Seconds, The Saddest Landscape, etc. are all really interesting bands.

    Energy, Shook Ones, and Sinking Ships are a few of the great melodic hardcore bands out now as well.
    I always felt Orchid didn't try hard enough with their music. But yeah.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    afterstasis;2051408 said:
    i'd say bands like envy, gauge means nothing, funeral diner, raein, and the pine are good examples of 3rd wave emo in that they actually sound like emo and have a clue in regards to emo's roots.
    I sort of like Gauge Means Nothing, but I find the vocals a fair bit irritating. Good post however.

    @Onslaught_fei: People that know music know proper emo in the UK, it's the same as in the US, the kids jsut don't know what things are, the audiophiles get testy on the internet about it.
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