n. A music genre that features a heavy, guitar-based sound and melodic, emotional tunes.
Other Forms
Jimmy Eat World makes "emo" rock, one of those know-it-when-you-hear-it genres that seems as much an attitude as a type of music. "Emo" bands, which have done plenty of late to push amplified guitars back up the charts, tend to keep it simple instrument-wise, and they produce a grunge-inspired racket with a careful sense of verse-chorus songcraft. . . . Along with the geek-rockers of Weezer, Jimmy Eat World is probably the most popular emo band out there, with a couple of bona fide radio hits and a few critically acclaimed albums to its nonsensical name.
—David Segal, “Jimmy Eat World: Love And Angst Over Easy,” The Washington Post, June 07, 2002
1994 (earliest)
The opening Samiam semi-scored with a mostly grinding, intermittently soaring set, with singer Jason Beckout mixing rage and introspection and the band straddling the punk/metal line. "You can't exactly call it punk rock," said drummer Victor Indirizzo, after the set. "But it's in that vein. Some people call it 'melody-core' or 'emo-core,' for emotion."
—Jim Sullivan, “Bad Religion stays too faithful to itself,” The Boston Globe, November 17, 1994
This word seems to have begun its linguistic life as the phrase emo-core, which is short for emotional hardcore.
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