I can still picture my 15-year-old self perfectly: decked out in too-tight skinny jeans held up by a studded belt, paired with a black Misfits hoodie, listening to the Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge album. Fast-forward to me now– a flower in my pony-tail, rolling up the sleeves of my jean jacket, singing along to the same music as I did then. The difference now is I dress more like a pretentious douche bag rather than an emo kid.
Why do I still like emo? Well, I don’t. I guess you could say, I like what most people consider to be called emo, but I don’t like to associate the music I listen to with that term. Take my coworker, for example. After a few minutes of friendly conversation he asks me what sort of music I like. I tell him, “My favorite bands are My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy.” I already knew what was coming next; I get the same reaction every time. “You like that emo shit? Start listening to some real music.” With the word “Emo” comes a certain stereotype of people, as do many others.
My 15-year-old self fit the stereotype to a tee. To be perfectly honest, a part of me sort of liked being called “that emo chick”, because that meant it was obvious what sort of music I listened to, and I was proud of that. Then you had the people who called themselves “Emo”… no comment. Chances are, if you listened to bands like Hawthorn Heights, Metro Station, The Used, or even All-American Rejects, you were fighting off accusations of being an “emo kid” (or accepting them).
But, I digress. Why do I still like the music I liked back in middle school? Well, it’s sort of like hanging out with a really good old friend, that always has my back. I remember the first time I saw the music video for “Helena”. It was a couple weeks after the death of a close family member. As high up on the sappy level this is going to be, it really felt like Gerard Way was explaining how I felt through song. I found the latest issue of SPIN at the time laying around in my mother’s room, and who else but My Chemical Romance was on the cover. I like to think of it as fate (no seriously). “Rocks New Super Heroes” was captioned beneath a pale-faced, black-haired Way, accompanied by his band of misfit superheroes. From then on, they became friends of mine. Well, in fan fictions and in my mind, but such is the life of a fangirl.
One other thing I love about this genre is the fan-base. Everyone shares a love for music that is so personal, you almost feel as if they’re family. Online communities such as Tumblr, or Live Journal are perfect for meeting these fans, and sharing your experiences with those people. Most fans are accepting, and understanding, but a lot of people associate the word “Emo” with self-harm, and violence, but the purpose of the music is for us to relate to the emotions, and bring us all together.
So to answer the question, I still like emo because I like singing along to songs that I know all the words to. I like the excitement of waiting for my favorite band’s new album to come out. I like to feel good, and ironically enough, lines like “If they knew how misery loved me” do just that.