An Ode to Emo

Despite the fact that the bands which meant a great deal to myself and many others back in the day continue to age, the effect they had on us lingers. Fall Out Boy’s ‘Infinity on High’ is ten this year, and their impact – and that of similar bands – on young people cannot be underestimated. For teenagers who were finding it hard to fit in, these bands were there for them, with numerous band members having similar stories from their youth. It’s an obvious boost to fragile confidence to think that if your favourite band members overcame similar obstacles, then you could too.

It’s during your teenage years that you really begin to learn about yourself and form your identity, and for many teens, music taste influenced fashion choices in this quest (with varying levels of success, of course). However, there was something empowering about going to the hairdressers and demanding the biggest emo fringe possible, or even trying to create the masterpiece yourself. Personally, when I was younger I felt like my pink emo fringe was an example to the world of me expressing my personality and who I was, even if I still feel the familiar twinge of regret when I look back on photos of my teenage self now. The shared enjoyment of emo music also created friendships, whether you were in school, going to gigs, or trawling through the multitude of online communities for fans of these bands. By being able to express this through band t-shirts, wristbands and haircuts, you felt like you were showcasing your and your friends’ individuality to anyone who encountered you, and maybe communicating a message saying “hey, me too” to other kids wondering around wearing excessive black eyeliner, a Brand New t-shirt, and some tatty Converse All Stars.

Ultimately, emo music is what helped me find and form my identity, and the story is the same for many others like myself, who grew up listening to the same bands. With Fall Out Boy, neither the band or its fans are the same as they were back then. Fall Out Boy themselves have progressed musically, growing from their heavier roots, as well as their fans, who have also changed and developed. However, their influence underpins all of this, and the legacy of emo’s heyday in the 2000s can still be felt today – as cringey as it might be to look back on some of it, it shouldn’t be forgotten.

[Iona Tytler]

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