May 07, 2003

Various Artists "Emo Is Awesome/Emo Is Evil"

Hey boys and girls! Do you want to feel like a high-school junior again? Do you want to feel aloof and awkward, yet totally superficial and silly? American Idol 2 is over, and your life is feeling oh-so-empty because, even though you really hate the show, you can't help but watch every episode, and in so doing, you're appreciating it from an ironic point of view--at least that's what the college guy who wanted to hook up with you said last night in your LJ. If your life is more Paul than Kevin, if you're a boy with a Karen Carpenter complex, if you're a girl and you've modeled your life off of My So-Called Life, or you own more than one white belt, then, ta-da, guess what? You're probably emo. You know that TBS stands for Taking Back Sunday (and not Trembling Blue Stars, whose Bob Wratten was making sad-eyed emo whilst you were a suckling at yer mom's teat), you really not-so secretly like OK Go, Juliana Theory, Saves the Day, and Alkaline Trio.

Okay, okay, okay, I'll be fair to you kids out there and say that this whole "emo" thing isn't always as bad as I'm led to believe. Besides, the kids gotta have their music too, and if emo is what they call it now, then so be it. We had "grunge," you know...which I'm sure sounds like Leo Sayer when compared to your Jimmy Eat World.
And while many labels and bands have been guilty as hell of the crime of mediocrity, Deep Elm--perhaps the one label that's synonymous with that dreaded genre--cannot be accused of making and releasing boring music. That doesn't mean that they've been guilty of hit-or-miss releases, or by-the-books albums, but, like Polyvinyl and Jade Tree, they're turning into a much more challenging, interesting label--one that's more substance than style, but yet never being anything less than utterly stylish. It's a dizzy dance, indeed, but they're pulling it off. Yay!

Emo is Awesome/Emo is Evil is a label sampler for you new-to-emo kids out there. There's nothing new on here, so you emoheads out there might want to sit this one out. Pretty much every band on the label is represented, and not all bands are as good as others, but hey, that's a personal choice. Personally, I'm impressed with the Texas bands (Slowride, Lewis, Pop Unknown, Red Animal War), and I'm really fond of The Appleseed Cast (represented here twice, though now on Tiger Style), Brandtson, and Desert City Soundtrack. Some of those Swedish bands, such as Starmarket, Logh, and Last Days of April are pretty sweet, too. I'm not fond of a couple of the other bands on here, 'cuz they're too by-the-book, but you might dig 'em.

So, if you've just now hit the last few years of your high school career, sweet-talked a cutie-pie into giving you a LJ code, or like to use X's for spaces in whatever you put your name in (Make-Out Club, LJ, AIM, it's all good), and you need a soundtrack to your emo-lacking life, then check out Emo is Awesome/Emo is Evil. Growing up can be tough, you know. Luckily, you can go to Hot Topic to become the original non-conformist to impress your friends. Personally, I'm putting a copy of Emo is Awesome/Emo is Evil aside for my baby nephew, because, hey, I'd rather him listen to this than the other music that's going to be marketed his way...

--Joseph Kyle

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