the takedown: long island emo music
  • WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 2010

  • Posted by:

OK, you all knew this was coming, after the mini-feud that broke out last time, I feel that I need to address the hate. I'm like the captain of the football team when it comes to Internet High School: Joe vs. The Emo Kids. Obviously I'm just a dumb jock with no feelings, who does not get the girl in the end! And I'm a bully! This isn't the movies, dudes. And I'm probably going to get Twitter bombed again for my pranks on these kids, but whatever, this video is bad and the song is not really very catchy or melodic (the chorus melody is weird). As a whole, "the scene" is getting a little out of control with their ego, and I think it's time we all addressed this blemish with a bottle of salicylic acid and some cover-up. Long Island: your music is the tofu of the stir fry of life, and I'm going to use you as an example. I'm here to replace you with REAL BEEF. Let's talk.

So for those who live in a world without violence or crime, "emo" was popularized by Chris Carraba as a genre of music where instead of being a manly, sex-crazed a-hole on stage (Mick Jager), instead you are a whiny, poetry loving whimp with a high voice and a bunch of bloody heart images. You know what? I loved that sh*t as a kid. But there is a reason no commercially successful top 40 songs are "big band standards". There was a time and a place for Fall Out Boy and Blink 182, and they already exist, and all their songs are better than yours.

I should clarify my stance on this music: it is OK to have a band when you are in high school, no matter how crappy your tunes. The reason most high school bands sound like this is because they only know three chords, and they have a friend with a voice like he is in fifth grade. Fair. But pretending that Warped Tour and Bamboozle, the mecca of these kids, is any sort of jumping point for 99.9% of the bands that play them pre-notoriety is like betting it all in Vegas, thinking that you can't lose. The house always wins, kids, especially when you can't write a decent hook. Sorry! Owl City is not an emo band. It is a dude who got to be the one to commercialize the Postal Service sound. So you can't do that either. Boys Like Girls make pop rock, not emo, and they also had about three years of major label support behind them before "Lovedrunk" even got on the radio. In today's world, emo is no longer a commercial force. It is a subset of kids being kids across America. It is a dying industry, relying on gimmicky covers of Ke$ha, ironic use of autotune, and rehashings of the same six songs over and over and over and over...

There is a reason that these guys ultimately succeeded ten years ago:


That is a good song, with a memorable, catchy chorus. And maybe you guys will write a good, catchy song with a memorable chorus, etc, but you haven't yet, and you probably won't, and even if you do this style is on its way out if it isn't already mostly dead. Plus: beyond their first record, Fall Out Boy had long-term potential to adjust their sound to a more produced, tighter, more pop sound that spawned a whole subset of pastiche, including all you bands I am currently addressing. Thus your band is more imitation than original, and thus like most of the bands currently spewing Emo from Strong Island, you will plateau soon if you haven't already been stuck on one level for a few years. Myspace plays and tour dates are not "evidence of good music and profitability". The kind of music being made here needs to be on a major label before it can even be considered "noteworthy", but I'd be surprised if you guys make it past the "Long Island Wiki" level of fame.

I get it. I'm just a disembodied voice with a Twitter, and you have tons of adoring teenage girls at your disposal. That is all good, Polanski, just recognize that your band isn't doing anything new, and your future is as certain as a Vampire-centric movie or television show being as successful as Twilight and True Blood. The law of diminishing returns. Photocopies of a photocopy. All principals that can explain why you are not multi-platinum. You are the after-shock. Some of you may get record deals and feel like "things are happening", but I guarantee one day you will wake up and realize you've been stuck in 2001 for most of your adult life, when you could have been doing something more interesting and certainly more engaging with your musical talents, whatever they may be.

Experiment a little. Read some music blogs. Dare to be different. You might be surprised what happens. Lose the decade old emo-shtick, and maybe you'll be laughing at me from a throne made of platinum and gold someday. MAYBE. For now, I'm just going to keep laughing at you. -joe puglisi

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