New Criticals

For all my vitriol here, my problem is not with 'emo' itself. Emo's formal language remains essentially powerful if you use it right and actually interpret it rather than replicate it. Perfect Pussy, no matter how many people seem to want to call them a hardcore band, sound like Rites of Spring and early Cap'n Jazz to me, but they pump that through a scuzz filter, tweak the electronics and add a feminist perspective sorely lacking from a genre whose gender politics make Yeezy's weird conflation of lynching and the 'intentional pregnancy' myth seem progressive by comparison. If you haven't heard or seen Perfect Pussy yet, trust me: they are the shit.

And yet, it's probably not surprising that they are so unique in this regard, and that bands want to take the snoozy way out and lionize what is surely, The Used notwithstanding, the sub-genre's nadir. The spiritually similar realm of pop-punk deals with laziness in the opposite way: for every band that claims to be influenced by the exceptional Dillinger Four, there remains, in fact, just the one D4, and hundreds of bands that sound like something No Idea released because they lost a bet. They start from the right reference point and water down accordingly. Emo 'revival' bands are watering down from Chateau Diana; thankfully, because it's still early, we might be able to shout them into making different choices. If not, the next time you try to book a show, every band will full of teenagers doing American Football covers, and there will be nothing you can do about it.