Enough of all this emo hardcore bullshit—I’m calling all of you fuckers out right now. It all boils down to this—contemporary emo hardcore (and by this I mean shit like Story of the Year, Atreyu, and so forth) is the contemporary equivalent of power ballads, pure and simple. I am telling each one of you pussies with dyed black hair and ear plugs who screams for catharsis’ sake that you are effectively recreating one of the single most commercial styles ever. Bear with me while I explain—heavy metal, fundamentally, was dude rock. That isn’t to say that women couldn’t play it or appreciate it on its own merits (to cite only one example just because she intimidates the hell out of me, The Great Kat’s fretwork blew damn near everyone away), merely that its primary audience was D&D-playing longhairs who wanted to discuss technical complexity (and if you doubt what I’m saying, walk into any comic book store and do a quick survey to see how many people there own an album by Iced Earth or Dream Theater). The dudes in bands recognized that it was, like, a total sausage party at the shows and, thus, the power ballad was born to expand the audience. It showed a softer, more sensitive side to the band, effectively stating, “Yeah, we party and shit, but we, like, have feelings too, y’know,” as banal observations such as “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” flooded the airwaves. So there’s your brief history of a musical dark age. You may be asking yourself what the fuck this has to do with emo hardcore and the answer is simple—power ballads and emo hardcore are nearly identical. In most cases, the vocalist switches from crooning to anguished screams, effectively illustrating exactly how much all this, like, hurts him, y’know? Meanwhile, the band pulls out the same rehashed chugga chugga riffs to bring the mosh for all the dudes. Pow, there it is. The dudes get to rock out because it’s, like, hardcore, y’know? They play guitars and shit and it’s, like, heavy. The girls also get to swoon because most of the guys in the bands (and it’s dude-dominated by an overwhelming percentage) have more ink than Marvel and DC and more plugs than a sex shop. So that’s that then—it’s all eye candy and style and people who don’t know any better listening to bands which seem to be saying something terribly emotional and important and affecting with lyrics about lies, angels, deception, denial, betrayal… honestly, don’t any of you fuckers ever have anything good that happens to you? Is it really all looking for a girl to confide in? Are you always whining because you placed your misguided trust in someone who turned around and hurt you terribly and now you just need a hug? I keep remembering what Nick Hornby wrote about the thousands and thousands of desperate, bitter pop songs describing only loss and fear and I can’t think of anything else which more accurately and pointedly describes this genre. I’ll put it bluntly—when you assholes realize that writing these overwrought songs about ex-girlfriends keeps you wallowing in your own filth and mires everyone listening in the same muck with you, when you stop this behavior, I may try to listen to whatever you come up with next if there’s a single original thought in it. Otherwise, fuck off. All of you. Seriously.
–scott (Orange Peal)