Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture

Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture

by Trevor Kelley, Leslie Simon


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What is emo? For starters it's a form of melodic, confessional, or EMOtional punk rock. But emo is more than a genre of music–it's the defining counterculture movement of the '00s. EVERYBODY HURTS is a reference book for emo, tracing its angsty roots all the way from Shakespeare to Holden Caufield to today's most popular bands.

There's nothing new about that perfect chocolate and peanut butter combination––teenagers and angst. What is new is that emo is the first cultural movement born on the internet. With the development of early social networking sites like Make Out Club (whose mission is to unite "like–minded nerds, loners, indie rockers, record collectors, video gamers, hardcore kids, and artists through friendship, music, and sometimes even love") outcast teens had a place to find each other and share their pain, their opinions, and above all, their music–which wasn't available for sale at the local record store.

Authors Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley lead the reader through the world of emo including its ideology, music, and fashion, as well as its influences on film, television, and literature. With a healthy dose of snark and sarcasm, EVERYBODY HURTS uses diagrams, illustrations, timelines, and step–by–step instructions to help the reader successfully achieve the ultimate emo lifestyle. Or, alternately, teach him to spot an emo kid across the mall in order to mock him mercilessly.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061195396
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/24/2007
Pages: 234
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Trevor Kelley is a leading contributor for Alternative Press. His work has also appeared in Spin, NME, and Harp. His favorite emo album of the past ten years is Tell All Your Friends by Taking Back Sunday. He lives in New York.

Leslie Simon is the author of Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes and co-author of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture. Her work has appeared in Kerrang!, Alternative Press, metromix.com, and MTV.com.

Read an Excerpt

Everybody Hurts
An Essential Guide to Emo Culture

Chapter One


ide•ol•o•gy n a body of ideas and social needs that separates you from your parents, the pep squad, and Dave Matthews Band fans.

So, what exactly is emo? Over time emo has been defined as a tuneful strain of punk rock with a lyrical emphasis on matters of the heart, but these days it means much more than that to its many fans. Emo is still a kind of music, sure, but more than anything it's a state of mind. It's a place where people who don't fit in—but who long to fit in with other people who don't fit in—come to find solace, and its resident ideology is something that those within the scene take very seriously.

How seriously? Well, it seems safe to say that the emo ideology affects nearly every aspect of emo fans' lives. It affects how they wear their hair and what bands they choose to listen to. It affects the way they eat and the way that they look at the history of the world. But it also affects their understanding of who they are and, more important, who they are not, which is what this first chapter is all about.

The emo ideology is what defines being emo. Even if the wrong person did one day wake up, head directly to Diesel, pick up some black fingernail polish along the way, and then buy the entire Saves the Day catalog online upon getting home, that wouldn't ever truly allow them to differentiate between that which is emo and that which is totally lame. See, emo-ness is something that you are born with, and even if emo fans do think exactly like every one of their friends, that's what makes themdifferent. Well, at least compared to the rest of the world . . .

Emo Value System

True emo-ites are born—not made—and they embody certain patterns of behavior and thought that serve to bond and unite. Not sure if you meet the criteria? Uneasy whether that prospective love interest you met on MySpace who wears a Thrice T-shirt but lists Independence Day as one of the best movies ever is really the one for you? This checklist of ideals will help clear all of this up.

Core Emo Values

Depression: More dramatic than simply being sad, depression is the foundation of the entire emo ethos. Depression serves as a bonding mechanism for those with a similar outlook on life and love. Like magnets, depressed people attract one another because moping alone is, well, pathetic. But throwing yourself a pity party? That's emo.

Effort(lessness): Being emo is all about trying really hard to look like you don't really care. Being indifferent isn't as easy as it looks. It requires effort. Why spend two hours slathering your hair with pomade, taking a straightening iron to the bangs and the back, then shaking the whole mess out and matting it to your forehead to look like you just took a nap, haphazardly slept on your 'do, suddenly rolled out of bed, and bolted out the door? Because merely sleeping on your coif would be too easy and wouldn't look natural enough. When you're emo, you're constantly looking to invent unnecessary obstacles so that you can overcome them.

Empathy: Feeling other people's pain is crucial to being part of the emo community. Whether you're a vegan and you feel animals should be loved, not eaten, or you're a member of the Overcast Kidsbecause Pete Wentz's lyrics are just like the poetry you write on your blog, it's imperative to be able to transfer your feelings or emotions onto another person or object.

Faith: When emo followers believe in something, they believe in it 110 percent. Anything is possible: A girl named Holly Hox really did inspire the Saves the Day song "Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots." Morrissey really does have his own MySpace account. Your prom date really isn't someone you're related to. And so, through struggle, strife, and tragedy, true emo types carry on. In the end, being emo is all about having the kind of unwavering conviction that allows one to face the challenges of a new day (and blog about them later in the evening).

Insecurity: There's always someone out there who's smarter, funnier, and better-looking than you. They probably have a better record collection, wardrobe, and car than you, too. We'd even bet they never go to a dance without a date and will probably have sex with at least three people by the time they turn twenty-one. But screw them: Insecurity is a fundamental value taught at an early age to emo youngsters so they can prepare for a life of middle-class averageness.

Non-athleticism: Sporting events and organized athletic activities are like emo kryptonite. Because most emo activities revolve around computers, chairs, television sets, couches, MP3 players, and beds, there is no reason—regardless of what your parents or gym teacher say—to partake in any activity that causes you to abandon any or all of these coveted objects. What if you incur tennis elbow while "hitting the ball around" with good ol' dad? Who's going to update the photos on your Flickr account? Definitely not worth the risk.

Emo Ancestors

Emo fans may be born with a certain sense of ideology, but this can also be learned from those who came before them. For example, many consider the following historical figures to be influential on the emo scene as it is known today.

William Shakespeare

Make no mistake about it: William Shakespeare was emo to the core. Sensitive and sexually ambiguous, Shakespeare was also extremely prolific, writing thirty-eight plays and scores of sonnets and poems about both men and women. Not only did those works inspire a million basement poets to pick up a quill, a pen, or a keyboard, but we're pretty sure he was at the forefront of the men-wearing-women's-clothing movement. Just check out those frilly-collar shirts he's always depicted in. It's no coincidence that the members of Panic! at the Disco look like they're about to star in a performance of Hamlet.

Everybody Hurts
An Essential Guide to Emo Culture
. Copyright © by Trevor Kelley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Chris Carrabba

“A smart, funny and revealing book that’s pretty much a must read for kids in the scene.”

Matt Rubano

“If someone was to ask me, ‘What is emo?,’ I would hand them a copy of EVERYBODY HURTS.”

Sarah "Ultragrrrl" Lewitinn

“[T]he essential book for anyone who fancies themselves emo.”

Jason Tate

“[T]his book is not only hilarious, but absolutely genius.”

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Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being emo in middle school is hard kids always picking on me but this book taught me just to say screw it i love how i look idgaf whaat ppl say this book is key to emo
marymonster92 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This had me crying with laughter!
pescatello on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this book to gain some insight into the emo demographic. Boy was i disappointed. All it does is describe what emo kids are doing. The chapters are Fashion, Film, Literature, Music, TV, etc. So what you have are two emo kids describing what they do in their life. What they like. They don't provide any insight into why something is emo just whether it is or isn'tA few examples:1. They name an iPod as being emo, saying: An mp3 by any other name would not be as emo. Actually come to the think of it, try even naming another mp3 player. Go ahead and take a minute. What? Can't think of any? Yeah we didn't think soThat really makes me happy i read this book. Gee - as if i didn't know the iPod was popular. 2. They have a section of emo TV shows and they basically just list all the popular shows of the past 10 years. For instance, they name 24 even though they can't even describe why it's emo:"There's no teen angst or high school romance, and no one broods over the meaning of life. Instead, 24 is about the life of a federal agent whose days are lived out every week in real time... So why is it that emo fans in huge numbers list 24 as one of their favorite shows? Honestly, we have no idea. "Get them a Pulitzer. Don't waste your time on this one.
circasurvive on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very tongue-in-cheek book that is as hilarious as it is truthful about the ever popular, "emo scene". Even if many of the facts written are true, I wouldn't really take everything written in it seriously. I still loved reading it though. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fuq off! Im done with nook sex!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Been fourteen, wearing black on back on black, and swearing up and down youre going to get those dashboard confessional lyrics tattooed on your body the second you turn eighteen. Yeah, you know what I mean. The book made me laugh at how shallow of a teenager I was, worrying about if my bangs were long enough and if my mom was going to read my journal, about being so proud to label myself as emo and fitting in with the kids that didnt. Thank god for growing up, and thanks or this book for keeping a little piece of my adolecence alive after Ive moved on to attempting to be an adult. And by the way- I never did get those dashboard confessional lyrics tattooed, but I did get "To hell with you and all your friends" from that mega rad Taking Back Sunday jam :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book isn't about putting anyone down. It's about remembering what you were like in high school and thinking to yourself "what was i thinking?" It like a yearbook photo. It brings back memories of bands you listened to, book you read, movies you watched, and how you "found" them first. Not eveyone will get the humor because not eveyone was "emo." But if you ever counted down the days to Warped Tour or drove with the windows down while listening to Brand New this book is for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I understand that its sarcastic, (Believe me, I speak fluent Sarcasm) but I really didn't like it. They say the best jokes have a ring of truth. This has almost no truth although it may seem truthful to a person who doesn't know much more than 'Emos cut themselves to get attention' (complete lie, not all emos even cut) Like I said, I've only read the sample but I won't buy it, even if it does get better later on. PEACE OFF ~~Roxxy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is there any one here?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
emo.. lel.. no.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I goth and i thought this book was just ok. Wasnt very deep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you need a book to "learn how to be emo" then you are just a poser and shouldn't even bother. Just listen to the music.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well said i agree!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you agrea that Emo's should get together to take over the world. Or if u just wanna be friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We should stand up for ourselves. I mean seriously who hates getting pushed around by preppys? I certainly dont. So we should stand up for ourselves. If ur emo or scene or goth, we have to stand up together cuz were family and well we should stick up for eachother. Scene,goth,emo we are a family. Brothers and sisters no matter what you are. :3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am emo/scene. Loved the book!!!!!!! It was so funny... and true. I swear they put camras in my house. Evrrything is me! :3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely great book ive gone through it several times and there are a lot of things that i agree with being emo myself but there are also some things that aren entirely true pr maybe out of date like the hairstyles lisyed in this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Add me im emo and i do anything...i also role play
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