I share my music with everyone. I share music with strangers, friends, family, coworkers – anyone who’s curious. I love sharing what I listen to because, while I dabble in other hobbies, music seems to be the only timeless hobby and passion I’ve had since I was a child. That passion never died down, but the scene certainly has changed as the years went on. The “Golden Era” of punk-pop is now romanticized by teenagers on TikTok who desperately wish they could’ve grown up back when punk concerts were abundant and only cost $10 for four hours of fun on a school night. We, the Elder Emos and Scene-ior Citizens of 2009, have since died, and while half of us are keeping the scene alive, the other half wonder why we’re seen as old and our music is deemed as an oldies genre. I was definitely that teenager who sang Paramore for a school talent show, and now I am a 28 year old who blasts that same song on the way to the gym in the mornings. It’s been 15 years, and “classic” emo music still rings that familiar euphoria I felt back then.
I recently came across a 2021 article on PopBuzz about Willow Smith revealing that she was bullied for listening to bands like Paramore and My Chemical Romance as a child. It reminded me of a close friend of mine who said she used to like Paramore but was told by someone else that she “had to be emo” to like Paramore and shouldn’t listen to them if she wasn’t.
People don’t change, though, do they. Even now, you’ll find Reddit threads and TikTok comments of people from different music scenes duking it out over who belongs, who doesn’t, who was first, who ruined it, and many other accusations that ultimately create animosity among strangers over art that is meant for literally anyone who gives it a listen. Actions like this also reminded me of my own childhood when I first discovered Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and other long-forgotten Fueled By Ramen veterans, and I was also teased – unfortunately, by my own family. The only thing this did was build up a mild resentment when those family members ultimately ended up listening to the same music but only after it ended up on the radio. (Was this the origin of hipster culture?)
So I say again, I share my music with everyone – and I mean everyone. This past Saturday, I attended a local Kpop night and found myself dancing with strangers, accepting stares, welcoming cheers – but after a couple of hours, I sat outside. The music was muffled through the walls, but I somehow struck up a conversation with some people who, like me, started in one scene and ended up passing through this one. Within the first hour, I shared with them what I was listening to because it wasn’t what was playing inside. We bonded over Bad Omens and Until I Wake while wearing Monsta X and Stray Kids shirts. It was like how it was 10 years ago when you’d start talking to whoever was listening in the middle of a crowd at an All Time Low concert, and suddenly, you had ten new friends, two of which you’re still connected with on Facebook.
With the reemergence of bands like Boys Like Girls who suddenly popped up on TikTok one day with a heartfelt monologue about growing up, people leaving, and coming back to a new generation of emo kids who just want to belong, there seems to be hope yet for music to once again bond people together through the distinct storytelling styles of punk, rock, and metal music. Let their revival serve as a reminder that music and musicians don’t care who you are, where you come from, or where you end up. Music is a memory solidified in chords, and it’s meant to be shared.