Emo is a subculture that first became popular around 2005 (taking the place of the previous edgelord genre, Nu-Metal) and carried on until finally dying out in the early 2010s when Hot Topic moved away from alternative fashion and more towards geek culture as a whole. However, there are still many people who participate in the subculture in an attempt to keep it alive. Although it's no longer mainstream, it seems to cross over into other internet cultures.


Emo as an aesthetic often overlaps with others visually, such as Goth (much to the chagrin of the Goths, who absolutely detested the Emo Kids at the time of their rise in popularity) and Scene, due to dealing with negative emotions as its major topic. While a lot of people who initially got into the Emo subculture eventually found their way into Scene, many stayed on board the Emo train until it did eventually fall out of popularity and some artists (namely Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco) transitioned into a more poppier sound and aesthetic compared to the dark, brooding days of their initial rise to fame.


Most individuals in the subculture have choppy haircuts and/or unnaturally colored hair. Makeup is a usually pale foundation, smudged eyeliner, or dark eye-shadow. Clothing includes but is not limited to black or dark clothing, skinny jeans, band tees, and hoodies. The most common place for people to shop is Hot Topic, and sometimes Spencer's or Claire's (for as long as Claire's is still around since, as we know, Claire's isn't doing so hot financially).


While My Chemical Romance is the most popular band in the genre, Yungblud, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At The Disco are also enjoyed throughout this subculture. All Time Low, The Used, Paramore, Black Veil Brides, Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce the Veil, and Green Day are popular as well. Although Twenty One Pilots weren't around in the early 2000s, many individuals in this subculture have become fans of them. The majority of emos do not keep up with what songs are presently popular. For the small population still active within the emo subculture, newer bands such as Waterparks, The Hotelier, and more are also some favorites.

In recent years, however, the aesthetic of Emo has made its way over into the world of Hip-Hop, creating what is referred to as Emo Rap (and sometimes disparagingly as "Soundcloud Rap"), with artists like the late Lil' Peep being probably the most well-known example of this sort of sound.

Spotify playlists


Midwest Emo

Often considered the more light-hearted variant of Emo, Midwest Emo tends to go for more of an Indie/Geek vibe than the darker, angstier Emo original recipe.

For more information on this aesthetic, please check out our Midwest Emo page.


Even though this may be a controversial listing, Emo and Scene have been mixed up in the past during the MySpace era due to the similar visual cues the two aesthetics have (similar hairstyles, similar interests, etc), but it is important to note that Emo is more introverted and dark while Scene is loud, abrasive, and obnoxious by design. Scene also has a tendency to use extremely bright colors compared to the darker color palette often associated with Emo.

For more information on this aesthetic, please check out our Scene page.


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