Taking Back Tuesday: National Emo Day 2023

Slip on your checkered Vans, skinny jeans and let's take a walk down this boulevard of broken dreams together.

Taking Back Tuesday: National Emo Day 2023
Emo's not dead. Happy National emo Day 2023!

It's December 19th, which only means one thing and one thing only. Happy National Emo Day!

Emo, or as the genre was originally known: emocore. This music, fashion and cultural era may have peaked in the mid-2000's with juggernauts such as Taking Back Sunday, The Used, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore and Dashboard Confessional, but its roots trace back to the mid 1980's, with early pioneers such as Rites Of Spring, Embrace and Dag Nasty, followed by bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbreaker, Cap'n Jazz, Braid and In Circles in the 1990's. Its genesis occurred in the hardcore and punk scenes of Washington D.C. and the surrounding mid-atlantic region, and later morphed into its own grouping of subgenre's including screamo, midwestern emo, and even mall emo.

Taking Back Sunday - Cute Without The E (official music video)

We're approaching 20 years since emo ruled not only the radio airwaves, but music television as well, with channels like MTV, Fuse, and Channel V playing iconic music videos like Helena, Ohio Is For Lovers, The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows, Sugar We're Going Down, The Taste Of Ink and Hands Down on the daily.

Hawthorne Heights - Ohio Is For Lovers (official music video)

If you lived through this era, and were paying attention, you likely remember memorable moments in emo history such as the Taking Back Sunday/Brand New feud, which gave us two of the greatest emo albums of all time. Tell All Your Friends and Your Favorite Weapon. Two LP's that were basically a call and response to each other. Two groups of friends torn apart by a girl, who became their muse. Both bands claim the feud was overblown, but you can't deny the lyrics, the anger, the sorrow and the pain that is cemented forevermore in these recordings.

Deep dive into emo's most infamous feud - Taking Back Sunday vs. Brand New

While the late 90's saw pop punk reaching mainstream recognition, in a sea of alternative rock and nu-metal, emo really hit the mainstream in the early to mid ought's with hits like Welcome To The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, Misery Business by Paramore, The Kill by 30 Seconds To Mars and even pop-punk titans Blink-182 treading into the genre with songs like I Miss You and Stay Together For The Kids. And how could we forget about the impact of Warped Tour, the longest-running music festival that has ever toured North America at the time, showcasing bands from the scene across several stages in all corners of the US.

The author Andy Hudson, his concert buddy Devon Dixon and the creator of Warped Tour Kevin Lyman.
The author on the right, with his concert buddy Devon Dixon and the creator of Warped Tour Kevin Lyman in 2006.

In the last couple years, emo has been going through its own renaissance. An emo revival seems to be happening with festivals such as When We Were Young in Las Vegas, the popularity of Matt Cutshall's Feeling Emo Might Delete... YouTube series, an emo cruise, and numerous Emo Night's held at clubs around the world, including Pensacola's own Emo Prom.

felt emo might delete ft. Derek Hough & 30 Seconds To Mars.

The author reaches emo mecca at When We Were Young Fest 2022.

The emo scene is alive and well in Pensacola and throughout the Gulf Coast. I'm talking real talent here too. Bands like Rise Up Lights, Vagrants, Spiral (formerly Twin Soles), Scream Out Loud, Brave New World, Glazed Eyes and Oversight. These bands represent a broader rebirth of the scene happening all around us, and if you haven't caught one of their live shows yet, do yourself a favor and head over to our Show Calendar and find out when they're playing next. You can also check out many of the local emo bands in our Band Directory.

Check out some of the local emo bands from the area below:

Rise Up Lights - Seasons (music video) featuring Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens

Brave New World - Frogs In A Well (official music video)

Oversight - Say So (official music video)

If you'd like to deep dive more into the history of the genre and the scene, check out From The Basement: A History of Emo Music and How It Changed Society by Taylor Markarian, Nothing Feels Good by Andrew Greenwald, or Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide To Emo Culture by Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley. All three are fascinating reads, and for those of us that lived through those days, a wonderful stroll down memory lane.

So go out fellow emo kids, rip your heart out and wear it prominently on your sleeve for all to see. Today is your day. And we're okay, I promise.

🗣️ Where my fellow emo's at? Sound off below with your favorite emo bangers!