What the Heck is â€œEmoâ€ Anyway? Part II
As emo garnered a look from people who wanted nothing to do with it and a sound from groups who wanted nothing to do with it, it also gathered endorsement from companies that wanted everything to do with it. Once television, radio, and print got hold, the aesthetic appeal of a new underground style with a “Revenge of the Nerds” mentality was too good. You can’t stop reading about how it appeals to the down-trodden outcasts, the heart-broken losers, the emotional geeks. The media also just loves playing the bands off as this.According to Andrew Bair, emo was just supposed to be a joke. It was independent rock music that major record labels and recording companies caught onto as a money-making opportunity, and that would seem to make sense considering the recent rise in its popularity.
“Emo has just become a freakin’ trend…it’s just a style. Emo has drifted more and more away from the actual meaning of the music and more towards the style; the sweaters and the horn-rimmed glasses, and wearing all black and everything, and it’s just ridiculous…It’s how you look. It’s just a nice look and it’s become less and less of an actual music trend and more of a clothing trend.”
In a recent “fashion report,” Spin went to a Get Up Kids/Alkaline Trio concert and interviewed how the fans were dressing, and what they considered the latest in “emo style.” The gist of what they came out with was the typical black glasses, lots of pins and plastic bracelets, and “I (heart) NJ” tee-shirts. When I told Andy about this, his response was: “I’d tell Spin Magazine to go f**k themselves. Do you guys even know what emo is? Do you know it’s not real? Do you know any of the bands – like the real bands, not the bands that are on MTV and the ones that you exploit all the time?…Maybe if they had mentioned the music then it wouldn’t have been so bad, because that’s what it’s all about, but since the whole article was about the style of it then that’s pathetic.”
Last summer I went to the Y100 Feztival, where bands like Barenaked Ladies and Lifehouse were playing. Once Lifehouse left the stage they took the old wannabe-teen rockers with them, making room for screaming high-school-aged, glasses-wearing, pin-sporting, crazed Cuomo fans to rush the fence and see how loud they could shout the lyrics to “Hashpipe.” This was my first Weezer experience ever, having only heard the hype but never really experienced the band.
I began to understand where the stereotypes were coming from…Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s lead singer, whether he liked it or not, had influenced fans to go out and buy all-stars, gas-station attendant shirts, and thick black-rimmed glasses (with or without prescriptions).