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Is EMO Music Dangerous?

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Black kid with with silver beats headphones on, standing next to a fence

Emo is a form of rock music and more recently rap music that deals with emotional subjects. This particular genre of music is having a profound impact on teens and young adults across the world. As much as I would like to say that Emo music sucks because I don’t personally care for the sound, I must admit that it opens up the possibility of dialogue around things that for years as a society we’ve been taught to hide or sweep under the rug. Emo music which stands for emotional hardcore has served as a catalyst for bringing awareness to mental health issues amongst teens and adolescents. Several Emo artists are expressing their pain and discomfort with the status quo in lyrics that can reach the masses and prompt those who are dealing with problems like anxiety and most notably depression to seek help.

For years, we’ve heard rappers glorify “sippin’ on that purple stuff” aka lean to get ‘faded’, but in 2019 we hear rappers openly admit in their lyrics that they sip lean, smoke weed, and pop Xans in order to mask their pain. They acknowledge sleeping with random women, to keep from addressing the voids and loneliness in their lives caused by significant heartbreaks or absentee parents. Hearing their favorite artists candidly address their emotional wellness makes it more acceptable for young adults and adolescents to talk about their emotions and to actively seek help. Over the past several years, I’ve seen in influx in the number of teenagers and young adults who actively seek counseling services to address mental health issues related to depression, anxiety, and early adult transitions.

One of the obvious downfalls of the emo music is the fact that emotionally charged lyrics can lead some youth to engage in self-harming behavior or make attempts to end their life. Luckily Logic’s 2017 release of 1-800-273-8255, which is the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, brought awareness to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This caused an influx of calls to the NSP hotline immediately following the release of this emotionally charged song which reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. When this song was released in 2017, I was a Responder for the Veteran’s Crisis Line which shares the same number as the NSP hotline. On a daily basis, I was able to see the impact that this song had across the globe. The night that Logic performed this song at the VMAs our lines at went bananas!! The lyrics are pretty heavy, but I appreciate the fact that Logic’s lyrics addressed a major mental health epidemic, suicide. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults ages 10-34.

There are a lot of pros and cons to emotionally charged music, but I believe that they ultimately balance each other out. Emo music can serve as a way for youth and young adults to express their emotions in a positive way, but it’s vitally important for people to pay attention to the type of music that there kids and peers are listening to. The type of music that people listen to can clue you in to how they are feeling. The signs and symptoms of depression can look very different in children and adolescents than it does in adults. Depression in teenagers typically comes out in the form of irritability and what adults often look at as a teenager being lazy. Many teens are turning to music for comfort because it allows them to connect with someone who feels how they feel. The downside of this is, while listening to music can be therapeutic, it does not teach listeners healthy coping skills to manage those feelings of depression and suicidality after the song ends.

What are your thoughts on Emo Music? Comment down below and let me know what you think.

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