difference between goth and emo

difference between goth and emo

difference between goth and emo

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The Emo and Goth movements are both based in the punk rock movement of the late 1970s that spread internationally and continues to influence art, culture and media around the world. Both subcultures are also forms of hardcore punk and experimental underground music.

Emo stands for “emotional hardcore,” a type of punk rock music that evolved out of Washington DC in the mid 1990’s. Emo or emotional hardcore was an attempt by a number of bands to experent with chaotic music patterns and personal expression in abstract and primal ways.

Goth is associated with Gothic rock, a musical genre that emerged in the late 1970s as an alternative music characterized by dark music, and introspective and romantic lyrics. The Goth musical genre evolved into a broader cultural movement in the early 1980s, with Goth clubs, fashion and publications. Both the emo and Goth movements relate art to being through personal expression methods.

They differ mostly in the sense of expression of music and emotions. Though they both belong to the same genre of music but their expressions and cultural inclinations set them apart. Their thinking and influences on music also differ.

difference between goth and emo
difference between goth and emo


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Comparison chart

Emo versus Goth comparison chart

Emo Goth
Definition A style of music which was originally a subgenre of punk rock and post-hardcore with emotionally charged lyrics. Originally short for emotional hardcore, it was remade in the 1990s with a more indie/pop punk style. Early 80’s to present post-punk rock movement focus on dark themes & non-conformism through music, performance, etc.
Stands for Emotional hardcore (origin) Gothic Rock
Prominent in Mostly USA and more prominent in states of Washington DC, NJ, Midwest, Long Island and the West Coast Worldwide
Related to Punk rock, indie rock Post-Industrial Rock
Music Emo, indie rock, post-hardcore, hardcore punk, punk rock, alternative, pop punk Punk rock, post punk, glam rock, metal, rock, etc
Emotional perspective Hate the human race but love nature Hate the world as a whole
Typical Instrument all Guitar, bass, drums
Style Skinny Jeans (Black) Band Shirts Vans or converse Punk rock, post punk, glam rock etc

How Is Emo Defined?

One such subculture that developed as a result of goth’s rise in popularity was emo. The definition of emo largely comes down to defining the music, which places great emphasis on emotional lyrics, expressive visuals and a confessional tone. Reading like the angsty diary of a teenager, it’s no surprise that the emo charge was primarily led by a younger audience grappling with the feelings that emo music portrayed.

Visually, the emo fashion took cues from gothic clothing but pushed its way into a more mainstream streetwear style that plays into the idea of ‘geek chic’ – typically geeky t-shirts were paired with v neck jumpers and tighter than tight skinny jeans, with glasses, black dyed hair and a super-long side fringe also ranking as emo must-haves.

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How Did Emo Start?

While emo was simmering away in the 90s, by the early 00s emo ripped straight through the alternative scene and all the way into the mainstream. While a handful of alternative musicians had made it into the mainstream, this was the biggest wave of alt music to make a cultural impact with consumers that otherwise wouldn’t have engaged with the alternative scene. Bands such as My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco were all counted among the most famous emo bands to come out of this era of alternative music, standing on the shoulders of early adopters of the emo sound such as Dashboard Confessional, Weezer and Jimmy Eat World.

difference between goth and emo
difference between goth and emo

How Is Goth Defined?

No matter what your customary Google tells you, goth in this context does not relate to the Germanic tribe who invaded the Roman Empire – thanks for trying though Urban Dictionary and Merriam-Webster. We’re sure that many of the goths we’re referring to think that this tribe are absolute badasses, but when we talk about ‘goth’ here, we’re referring to the music and fashion subculture.

Goth in this context is defined as a person who listens to gothic music (from Bauhaus to Marilyn Manson) and dresses in gothic fashion (black, black, Victorian-influenced, black, punk-influenced, black).

Because of goth’s affiliation and fascination with Victorian horror, pagan worship and ancient magic (spelling may vary), it’s often thought that goth was the original alternative subculture, but in fact, goth music culture primarily arose out of one of the other pillars of the alternative community – the punk movement.

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When Did Goth Start?

The goth culture began right here in the UK in the early 1980s – bands like Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees and

The Damned were creating a gothic rock sound that was directly influenced by their punk predecessors. Some argue

that goth started in the late 70s when The Damned first broke the scene, but it wasn’t until things snowballed in the early 80s that the term goth was coined by the media.


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