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Leslie Simon & Trevor Kelley - Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture (Cover Artwork)

Leslie Simon & Trevor Kelley

Leslie Simon & Trevor Kelley: Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo CultureEverybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture (2007)
HarperCollins

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

At some point every phenomenon gets a book and by all accounts "emo" has become a cultural phenomenon. Written by Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley of Alternative Press, few are perhaps better suited to documenting this phenomenon than two writers of the magazine most responsible for reporting on the s.


At some point every phenomenon gets a book and by all accounts "emo" has become a cultural phenomenon. Written by Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley of Alternative Press, few are perhaps better suited to documenting this phenomenon than two writers of the magazine most responsible for reporting on the scene each month.

Now, it's important to note that the book largely concerns itself with the newer, more palatable version of "emo." The Promise Ring and Rites of Spring may earn a mention in the book, but this is largely the world of Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, 30 Seconds to Mars and others of their ilk. There are those who still want to "take back" the word emo from this new breed, but they need to accept the fact that the Dischord/Revelation version of emo died when Chris Carraba found hair all over his apartment and picked up an acoustic guitar.

With that in mind, the book is largely an easy-to-read compendium of all things emo, from film to fashion to literature. The tone of the book is largely light-hearted, since despite working at the bastion of new emo, both Trevor and Leslie are actual grownups, with their own friends, driver's licenses and can probably buy beer legally too. Generally, the book presents the facts and adds some snark, but never really becomes nasty. Its best moments come when they venture outside the music scene, and really poke fun at some of the more complimentary cultural icons like describing William Shakespeare as "emo to the core" and name-dropping Holden Caulfield and Sylvia Plath.

While it does present an overview of the evolution of emo, one question I would have liked to see examined is how exactly we got from the no-frills punk/hardcore of Weezer and Braid to the rather flamboyant and often ridiculous music we hear today. The book never really addresses this and I certainly would like to know. On top of that, the tongue-in-cheek approach seems perfect for those on the tail end of their life in "emo" but I'm not entirely sure those fully immersed in that world find anything funny about their ostensibly miserable lives.

I will also posit that there are a few changes that the book should make for their next printing. First of all, the book section talks about Catcher in the Rye, but never talks about Goethe. What could be more emo than a lovestruck and suicidal guy named Werther? It also claims that action movies are "not emo" and yet I think The Crow is about as close to the perfect emo action movie. Brandon Lee decked out in black leather, covered in makeup with the Cure blaring in the background? He kills a half-dozen people and takes a break to cry. That's definitely emo. Keep that in mind, guys.

Overall though, the book is a light and breezy read and seems as appropriate for those trying to understand emo as those trying to experience it. While I feel no closer to understanding how we got from Embrace to whatever is happening here, I at least know that I'm not alone in trying to figure it out.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
faster (May 24, 2007)

Score's for whoever namedropped Mohinder and Indian Summer.

I have no kind words for this book.

Anonymous (May 21, 2007)

Totally. Plus, there's a line in this book about how Ordinary Clothing is "acceptable" emo clothing. They advertise a lot (oh, that one with the my chem dude is totally photoshopped. he isn't wearing an Ordinary shirt at all) but has anyone EVER seen ANYBODY wearing Ordinary Clothing? ...uh...no. Callin' bullshit on that one.

Anonymous (May 21, 2007)

"However, didn't some of the product and brand-name mentions seem like "dirty" ad placement?"

God, COMPLETELY! I'm so glad someone else noticed this, too. The whole section talking about what clothes to wear and stuff feels like each entry was sold to the highest bidder or something.

Anonymous (May 21, 2007)

emo is rites of spring. emo is mohinder. emo is indian summer.

Anonymous (May 20, 2007)

"I learned in this review that Weezer is hardcore"
good pickup

Anonymous (May 20, 2007)

Skimmed through various sections of this book myself. Good review by the reviewer. Fair and balanced. However, didn't some of the product and brand-name mentions seem like "dirty" ad placement? It is a "guide" and not really a book, but hopefully someone puts the authors under some more scrutiny for possible conflict of interest. BUT! That's almost congruent with how artistically and culturally fucked "Emo" bands (and their fans) are. So...whatever...fuck it!

Holy_Balls (May 20, 2007)

I learned in this review that Weezer is hardcore

SloaneDaley (May 20, 2007)

*hear

SloaneDaley (May 20, 2007)

Looking back I don't think Dashboard Confessional is as evil as most of these faux emo bands. You can actually here some of the Revelation style indie-emo in Further Seems Forever which Chris sang for. The rest of these bands have no connection to anything, well FoB has connection to bad hardcore.

score is for the review which I really enjoyed.

feeeding5000 (May 19, 2007)

Hell yes for "real emo"; the emo and pop-punk on the radio and MTV is basically the New Wave of this generation. Basically, the Ebullition-type emo will survive without the support of the masses, just as punk survived the Knack.

some1 (May 19, 2007)

Saying "emo is Pg. 99/swing kids blah blah not this crap" is like refusing to acknowledge that "gay" means homosexual. It's like someone saying "Fuck this Richard Simmons gay, real gay means happy, like Bob Ross or Santa Claus. Those guys are real gay."

Anonymous (May 19, 2007)

Oh yeah, that last comment was me.

- Allison (too lazy to log in)

Anonymous (May 19, 2007)

You guys are missing the point- Aubin said first thing in the review that the book deals mostly with "new emo," which, whether you like it or not, is clearly what the word has come to mean.

I haven't read this book, and I'm not planning to (I go to a suburban high school- I know more than enough about emo already), but it seems good enough, though we really don't need a book to tell us about the culture we're being inundated with already. It seems like the only people likely to want to buy a book on emo would be "emo kids," and they wouldn't exactly appreciate the snark. I guess it might appeal to old people trying to "understand the kids."

Also, referring to AP as "the bastion of new emo" is entirely correct. And I think we can celebrate the fact that the Firefox spellcheck doesn't consider "emo" a word.

Anonymous (May 19, 2007)

Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo by Andy Greenwald is a much better book about the subject. He actually talks about emo bands...the "latest" in his book is Dashboard Confessional.

Anonymous (May 19, 2007)

Rant all about REAL EMO BLA BLA..... but a 25 year old posting on a biased internet message board does not represent anything. The youngins of this generation matter

brown (May 19, 2007)

I still refuse to adknowledge this nu-pop bullshit as actual emo. Call me old fashioned.

rkl (May 19, 2007)

Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 1:49 AM (EDT)

"I actually enjoy the book since I didn't take it seriously at all. It made me laugh at all the crap that the scene has turned into."

Yes, but MySpace provides the same service, and for free.

so does #bookwarez@EFnet

Anonymous (May 19, 2007)

"I actually enjoy the book since I didn't take it seriously at all. It made me laugh at all the crap that the scene has turned into."

Yes, but MySpace provides the same service, and for free.

Anonymous (May 18, 2007)

I actually enjoy the book since I didn't take it seriously at all. It made me laugh at all the crap that the scene has turned into.

Anonymous (May 18, 2007)

I would never read this book. Read "Mountains Boyond Mountains." Score is for that book.

Anonymous (May 18, 2007)

this book is pretty much crap. If it mentions FoB, and not Heroin or pg99, it really has little to do with emo now, does it?

Anonymous (May 18, 2007)

score is for the review

eatdogs (May 18, 2007)

"There are those who still want to “take back” the word emo from this new breed, but they need to accept the fact that the Dischord/Revelation version of emo died when Chris Carraba found hair all over his apartment and picked up an acoustic guitar."

heh heh, ha HA HA HA LOL

that was pretty funny.

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