The Emo Revival: Why Mall Punk Nostalgia Isn't Fading Away

The Emo Revival: Why Mall Punk Nostalgia Isn't Fading Away

You've probably heard the term "emo revival" floating around for a few years now. Even if you haven't, we'll walk you through it: Bands branded with the "e" word from the '90s returned, and were often viewed as simply "indie rock," because of the stigma that still surrounds the three letter word (it might as well be a four letter one). They played reunion gigs. They toured. Some released records. These bands (think Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, Cap'n Jazz, American Football, The Promise Ring) are largely considered the second wave of emo, following the bands that grew out of the tradition of '80s D.C. emo and invented the sound: Rites of Spring, Embrace and the like.

Those bands were born out of hardcore (Embrace share a member with Minor Threat) and sounded more punk than the sensitive whine that we know the genre to be now. Those bands are also largely obscure, so the emo revival didn't start with them. Instead, it began with those bands from the second wave--bands that experienced real underground popularity, and later were treated as legends from people who didn't live through it.

Now, it seems the same treatment is being given to the emo bands of the 2000s, the ones that were critically derided as nothing more than an adolescent obsession: Good CharlotteMy Chemical RomanceThe Used and many others. Those bands are doing it differently, and in a big way.

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