The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 881: Alt-rock revivals 3 – Emo

“Once in a generation.” We hear that phrase all the time. But how long of an interval is that?

According to Wikipedia, it’s about 30 years, which is the time it takes for children to be born, grow up, become adults, and then to start to have children of their own. The International Society of Genetic Genealogy also sets the length of a generation of between 29 and 31 years.

But that’s if we’re talking about the child-parent-child cycle of human existence. We can also use the word “generation” to describe other cycles–like music.

We all go through a coming-of-age period with music. This is the period in our lives when music central to just about everything we do. We use music to figure out who we are. We use it to bond to other like-minded people. And we use music to project our identity to the world: “This is who I am!”

That period–and I’m generalizing here–begins when we enter high school and ends when we get around to being adults. That’s roughly ten years: ages 14 to 24, if you want to narrow it down.

We we consider that ten-year period period to be a generation in music, the cycles repeat much faster than the standard genealogical definition. Extrapolating this reason (Dodgy? Maybe, but hear me out.) it’s should come as no surprise that we experience periodic revivals in music as people age into, through, and out of that musical sweet spot in their lives. Therefore, these cycles should result in revivals every 10 to 12 years. Ish.

This brings me to emo. When can we expect a revival in this area? Let’s find out with chapter three in our look at alt-rock revivals.

Songs heard on this show:

  • My Chemical Romance, Helena
  • Husker Du, Pink Turns to Blue
  • Rites of Spring, For Want Of
  • Embrace, Give Me Back
  • Dischord, Waiting Room
  • Jawbreaker, Do You Still Hate Me?
  • Weezer, Say It Ain’t So
  • Sunny Day Real Estate, Pillars
  • Jimmy Eat World, The Middle
  • My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade

Eric Wilhite has created this playlist.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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