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C., where it was known as emotional hardcore or emocore and pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace.
In the early–mid 1990s, emo was adopted and reinvented by alternative rock, indie rock and pop punk bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbreaker, Weezer and Jimmy Eat World, with Weezer breaking into the mainstream during this time.
The emo subculture is stereotypically associated with emotion, sensitivity, misanthropy, shyness, introversion and angst, as well as depression, and suicide.
Its quick rise in popularity in the early 2000s inspired a backlash, with bands such as My Chemical Romance and Panic!
Despite the number of bands and the variety of locales, emocore's late-1980s aesthetics remained more-or-less the same: "over-the-top lyrics about feelings wedded to dramatic but decidedly punk music." In the wake of the 1991 success of Nirvana's Nevermind, underground music and subcultures were widely noticed in the United States.
New distribution networks emerged, touring routes were codified, and regional and independent acts accessed the national stage.
According to Andy Greenwald, author of Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo, "The origins of the term 'emo' are shrouded in mystery ... If Minor Threat was hardcore, then Rites of Spring, with its altered focus, was emotional hardcore or emocore." Mac Kaye traces it to 1985, attributing it to an article in Thrasher magazine referring to Embrace and other Washington, D. bands as "emo-core" (which he called "the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard in my entire life").The imagery, the power of the music, the way people responded to it, and the way the bands burned out instead of fading away—all have their origins in those first few performances by Rites of Spring.The roots of emo were laid, however unintentionally, by fifty or so people in the nation's capital.Ian Mac Kaye of Minor Threat became a Rites of Spring fan (recording their only album and being their roadie) and formed the emo band Embrace, which explored similar themes of self-searching and emotional release.
Similar bands followed in connection with the "Revolution Summer" of 1985, an attempt by members of the Washington scene to break from the usual characteristics of hardcore punk to a hardcore punk style with different characteristics.Fans of emo music who dress like this are referred to as "emo kids" or "emos".