Emo isn’t a comeback kid. It never left to begin with.
If you doubt it will stay relevant much longer, take a look around. Emo Night, a (usually) monthly series of dance-if-you-want-to DJing and live covers at The Sinclair, sees Texas Mike and Luke O’Neil bring a spotlight to the genre. With pop punk heavy hitters and post-hardcore deep cuts—both from the ’90s onwards—playing all night, it’s a series that draws a massive crowd each time. Yet while it grows in popularity, some question what the point of it all is, especially when, theoretically, it’s emotional music best listened to at home.
Let’s get things straight: There’s comfort in solidarity when misfits come together. No matter how it’s defined, emo is pop for people who frown on the bus ride home, place love (and its loss) at the top of life’s totem pole, and never stopped wearing all-black band tees. So when jammed in a room with their favorite songs on blast, emo kids relive the pain of past days and the hilarity of overdramatics with a learned confidence that their emotions are justified. Or, for others, its about finding fun in nostalgia.
Emo music repeats itself, even in other forms. The term is loose enough to include contrasting acts like Blink-182 and American Football, Taking Back Sunday and Rites of Spring, or Fall Out Boy and Sunny Day Real Estate. As such, it gets purists angry over the “true” definition of the phrase but is still clear-cut enough to describe music that straddles a line between heartfelt outpourings and bitter stomping. Brand New’s (arguably) most popular album, Deja Entendu, mocks itself and its listeners with a literal translation of “already heard.” They know lashing out over a broken heart isn’t new. Yet the band’s songs always bear repeating. The emotion pouring out of its lyrics and guitar lines sting with the freshness of an open wound. It’s relatable. It was then and it still is now.
So go sing your heart out to Pinkerton covers this Wednesday night, but realize the difference between then and now is how you’ve come to terms with your emotional self–and why embracing that’s so important.
EMO NIGHT W/ TIRED OF SEX, WHITE BELTS, LUKE O’NEIL, AND TEXAS MIKE. THE SINCLAIR, 52 CHURCH ST., CAMBRIDGE. WED 1.13. 8PM/21+/$3. SINCLAIRCAMBRIDGE.COM.