2014: Year of the Emo Revival

2014: Year of the Emo Revival

2014 will likely be remembered as the year when the ‘emo revival’ broke the surface and became a mainstream term.

No longer exclusively associated with niche blogs, but also frequently discussed on benchmark music publications such as Noisy, Pitchfork and Stereogum. All took note of the hype, and fought tooth and nail to secure exclusive premieres of the latest albums and tracks by emo bands.

The American emo scene has been through a myriad of waves since it first appeared in the mid-’80s.

Emocore, as it was originally coined, stood apart from the political, ferocious, and somewhat more primitive big brother, hardcore, in that it was introspective, introverted and downright confessional. Rites of Spring and Embrace were early iterations of this style, followed by the likes of Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate in the ’90s.

The emocore genre continued challenging punk rock for years to come, before slowly but surely diluting,  losing momentum and fading away in the late-’90s and early-’00s – or at least going into a deep slumber. This decline of emo as it was originally known, transferred equal and opposite energy into new deviations such as screamo, which fused emo’s impassioned and personal qualities with the intensity and full-on punk energy of hardcore – not to mention a lot of screaming.

The heaviest hardship to stigmatize the genre came when ‘emo’ finally reached mainstream youth culture in the mid-2000s.

As is known to happen, commercial interests found something highly appealing in emo’s confessional, self-effacing themes - an admittedly relatable territory for a certain angst-ridden period in modern adolescence – and they polished it into something decidedly more marketable for the masses.

Suddenly the term had become associated with heavy makeup and the act of self harming, which had very little to do with the original punk movement from which it arose. Bands like My Chemical Romance, Dashboard Confessional and Fall Out Boy were now being labeled emo, and many people wanted nothing to do with it.

Meanwhile, a small but dedicated emo movement continued to brew in the underground, keeping the original sound alive and well.

The scene has grown stronger and more vital the past couple of years, and in 2014 it reached new heights.

The scene has grown stronger and more vital the past couple of years, and in 2014 it reached new heights. The Emo revival had become hot news, and more new bands than one could follow appeared. But more importantly, a handful of original bands found their way back together, once again performing live in concert for the first time in years.

A few also recorded brand new material, like emo pioneers Braid and The Jazz June, who both put out critically acclaimed albums in 2014. Seminal emo bands American Football and Mineral toured heavily the past year, and have recently announced additional shows scheduled for 2015. In addition, several prominent emo bands like Drive Like Jehu, Rainer Maria and Moss Icon this past year played very exclusive ‘one night only’ shows, pleasing their old fan base tremendously.

Enjoy this playlist of bands that helped return dignity to emo in 2014 and, more importantly, made our blood simmer.

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