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Life Defined by an Emo Kid

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 2, 2020 21:49

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Equally adored as it is maligned, emo has left a significant impression on my life, not only as a musician, writer, and artist, but also as a person.

I first heard "Never Meant" by American Football twenty years ago, and have not looked back since. To a kid in suburban North Texas, the twinkling harmonies, rich textures, and deeply personal lyrics perfectly encapsulated, in a four-and-a-half-minute song, every bizarre emotion and thought I had as I took my first steps into being a teenager.

It's also carried well into my adult life.

Emo has been, in many ways, among the driving musical forces in my life. It exists in every memory, even those I saved before I first listened to "Never Meant." It's provided the soundtrack to every long night alone, every midnight joyride with friends, every petty misdemeanor I committed, every out-of-control house party, every time I got high on the vibe of a fistfight, every night spent in the throes of passion, every time my heart was torn asunder, every victory, every mistake, and every moment of reflection on who, where, and what I am.

Most importantly, it provided the soundtrack to a balmy August night when I sat across a table at a Tex-Mex restaurant from a woman I didn't know with plaid fingernails and an infectious smile. That December, it provided the soundtrack to our first night as husband and wife.

Six years later, I heard it while holding my infant son.

For all the genre has done for me, though, I feel it does for others as well. I hear the same tunes when considering the lives of my family, friends, and even people I meet anonymously in the minutiae of every day living, who I will never see again. Emo exists beyond sentiment to me -- it's the soundtrack to living in general.

This is because my experiences aren't unique. They're everyone's experiences. I'm not the only person who has felt love, pain, anger, joy, sorrow, and sentimentality. I'm not the only person who has ever spent a night drinking with best friends, gotten lost in the middle of nowhere, defended themselves or someone else, felt soul-shivering lust, endured multiple moments of existential crisis, and met the love of their lives and know it in that moment.

These are everyone's experiences, in varying degrees. So it's with that said that the most important thing I get from emo is a connection to everyone else. I share these experiences with others, whether I know them or not, and the music that defines these experiences for me equalizes their experiences to me.

Emo brings us all together, providing a bridge of twinkly, off-time music between two strangers, and in times like these when we focus so much on what makes us different, having a constant reminder of shared experiences is beautiful.

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 2, 2020 21:49

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Source: The Verge

For the first time in a month, I had somewhere to be on a Saturday night. It was a mini-music festival where emo fans and...

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