Thursday, March 19, 2009

playlist: emo, past and present

i used to make fun of emo kids. i really did.

i always thought of them as over-sensitive, hyper-anxious, angst-ridden, slouching, shuffling, sniffling, sighing, moaning, mumbling, head-shaking, sneaker-wearing, hair-dying, makeup-obsessed, ratty-clothes-wearing crybabies. shoe-gazers. whiners. losers. with music to match.

i used to make fun of emo kids. i really did.

but then i became one.
well, okay, no, really, i didn't. i was too much into the punk/goth scene to ever really admit to doing that.

but...i have to say that somewhere along the way i realized that for all their sensitivity and anxiety and angst, the emo kids weren't really so bad after all. because i don't think they're really that far off the mark in terms of life and living.

you see, underneath the hair and makeup and clothes, emo at its core is--as defined by its name--about one thing: emotion. the lifestyle. the attitude. the music. and all of it is sustained by undercurrents composed of equal parts loneliness, confusion, fear, anguish, alienation, and longing, all strung together by a fragile sense of wonder and hope and the realization that it, and we, are lost to live in a world of psychotic brutality.

the natural inclination, at least as displayed by so many people, is to resign ourselves to our fate and surrender and join the world in its suppression of the human spirit.

but emo goes the other way. if nothing else, it clings even tighter to the things most fragile, and holds them close, to protect them, and remind ourselves that--sometime, everytime, all the time--life is not about brutality; life is about living, and living means all the good things great and glorious in this creation, from great to small from high to low from far to near...beginning with us.

and once i realized that, it dawned on me that emo was saying the same things every other artist before or now or ever after has always said: life. love. learn. loss. gain. wonder. truth. faith. hope. glory. all of it a work of art. all of it humanity.

so now, even as emo has ventured into the dreaded emo-pop, when i compile my playlists for my training days, and take my journeys of miles upon miles upon miles, i find myself pulling up emo songs.

because it's easy to lose yourself out there in the distance, and to resign yourself to fate, and to surrender to the brutality of the world. but every time you do, you end up losing whatever lessons you were meant to learn, because by surrendering you lose before you even start. you lose the race. you lose yourself. in essence, you become a loser.

with the emo songs, i'm reminded to hold on. to not resign. to not surrender. remember why it is that i am in the distance: to learn the lessons i was meant to learn, to discover what it is that i was meant to find. and that's myself; that's my humanity.

in essence, to become a winner.

to get you started, here's a sampling of emo, just for you:
and just to show you what i mean stating that emo is saying the same thing that every other artist has ever said, here's some music extending from the past all the way to now, all showing the same sentiments expressed with every bit as much feeling as all the ones above. it's just a confirmation that emotions are always all just really the same. no, none of it's emo in name...but it is in spirit, and maybe that's what really counts:
feel free to add to the list. doesn't matter which one. it's all the same.

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