What's The Difference Between Emo And Screamo

Published: 12th September 2009
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What used to be an underground music style in the Washington D.C of the early 1980s broke into the mass media in the early 2000s; EMO, a music-style that has transformed into a lifestyle phenomenon. A little later, but almost at the same time another music-style evolved from San Diego called Screamo. This article tries to outline the differences between these two music-styles.

Emo emerged from what was called Emotional driven hardcore punk in Washington DC in the early 80s. The music was made of melodic guitars, varied rythms and very personal, confessional and impassioned lyrics. The term emocore was born as a way to describe the music and the culture around it. Later they just called it emo. In the early ninetees many emo bands broke up and the first emo wave began to fade. The biggest bands of that period were Gray-Matter, Beefeater and Fire Party. In the mid ninetees a reinvention of emo began and it became very tight to indie-rock. World famous bands like Nirvana, Greenday and The Offspring celebrated multi-platinum successes with their records and many new emo bands like My Chemical Romance and Jimmy Eat World were founded. The music at this time wasn't that hard as it was in the eightees but, elements like melodic guitars and deep personal and impassioned lyrics still existed. In the early 2000s the emo music finaly entered the mainstream with Jimmy Eat Worlds album Bleed American reached #1 in Billboards Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The music-style Screamo emerged from the Scene around Che Café in San Diego 1991 with Bands such as Angel Hair, Swing Kids, Heroin and Mohinder. Many of the first wave Screamo bands saw their music as political and as a reaction to the turn to right movement that took place in California at that time. Elements such as brief compositions, rock instrumentation, screaming vocals and chaotic execution were typical for this kind of music. The second Screamo wave started in the early 2000s. The music was made more commerciable and included elements of rock, emo and post hardcore. Alexisonfire, Thrice and Thursday were bands of this second wave.

Now what is the difference between these two music-styles? Well, the difference is not that big. Both music styles contain elements of post-hardcore and rock, poetical lyrics and as mentioned above Screamo even contains elements of Emo. But when listening to some typical emo and scream bands and comparing their music one will find that Screamo is much harsher and harder as emo. Another difference are the screaming vocals that are typical for Screamo but not for Emo.

Now you know the fine difference between emo and scream; two music-styles that I am sure we will hear more about in the future.Jan Weidenbach is author of the social network www.punkz.fm. that has a big Emo forum. Emo people welcome!

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