Emo vs Goth: Difference and Comparison

The terms emo and goth were both born out of specific music genres. These terms describe the people who devoted themselves to changing their appearance and the culture around them to suit the music subculture.

Key Takeaways

  1. Emo is a subculture and music genre originating from the 1980s punk scene, characterized by introspective, emotional lyrics and a fashion style that includes dark clothing, tight jeans, and side-swept hairstyles.
  2. Goth is a subculture and music genre that emerged in the late 1970s as a darker offshoot of punk, featuring music with atmospheric and dark themes and a fashion style emphasizing black clothing, silver jewelry, and dramatic makeup.
  3. Both subcultures share roots in punk and a preference for dark aesthetics. Still, they differ in their musical styles, themes, and fashion choices, with emo emphasizing emotional expression and goth focusing on darker, more atmospheric elements.

Emo vs Goth

Emo is a style of rock music that is a part of post-hardcore, pop punk and indie rock style. Emo songs are emotional, personal, or confessional. Goth rock is a form of punk rock, glam punk, and post punk. It deals with more dark-emotional subjects and resembles punk.

Emo vs Goth
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Emo is a subculture that became pretty popular in the late 1980s, and the word “emo” is related to the “emotional hardcore” music genre. Many also say emo was born from the “post-hardcore” music subgenre.

Goth or “gothic” is a subculture born out of the “post-punk” subgenre and belonged to the group of people who enjoyed “gothic rock”. They began to grow in number during the early 1980s.


 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonEmoGoth
HistoryThe emo subculture rose in the late 1980s with the end of the hardcore rock era.The goth subculture was born when “gothic rock” became an established music genre in the early 1980s.
SubgenreThe emo subculture is associated with the “post-hardcore” music subgenre.The goth subculture is associated with the “post-punk” music subgenre.
MeaningThe followers of this subculture, or “emos”, follow the concept of “emotional hardcore “ music and change their attitude accordingly.The followers of the goth subculture follow the gothic rock music concept, associated with violence at times as well.
AppearanceHere, we see multiple accessories, dark skinny jeans and skirts, studded belts and a fitting emo hairstyle.Here we see fetish wear with Victorian and steampunk fashions alongside sportcoats, tight pants, corsets and lace dresses.
Type of musicHere, most emo-based music revolves around teenage romance and pop-punk/hardcore elements.The type of music that one sees here draws elements of fantasy, literature, and even from the supernatural.
BandsBands that belong to the emo music subgenre are MCR, Fall Out Boy, Rites of Spring, and Jimmy Eat world.Bands that belong to the goth subgenre are The Cure, Joy Division, The Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

 

What is Emo?

The emo subculture came to be during the late 1980s and was prominent between the years 1985 to 1991. With the rise of bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace, a fan following began around the post-hardcore music subgenre.

People belonging to the emo community, commonly called “emos”, followed the “emotional hardcore” music concept. The music here was of a very emotional type.

One thing to note is that the music consisted of elements such as lyrics about teenage romance with some pop-punk/hardcore mixed into the song.

The type of music here is why the dominant demographic consists of teenagers, and one can rarely see emo adults.

In terms of attire and appearance, we notice that many emos have a unique style and look with elements such as multiple accessories, dark skinny jeans and skirts, studded belts or wristbands, and emo hairstyles, as well as piercings around their face.

Since bands like Rites of Spring and Embrace, there has been a significant rise in emo bands, such as My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, and Jimmy Eat World.

emo
 

What is Goth?

The Goth subculture came to be during the early 1980s and was seen directly after the punk era, hence why the subgenre followed here is “post-punk”. One of the first bands to introduce the goth era were Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and The Cure.

Followers of goth belonged to a community that devoted themselves to the “gothic rock” culture. Since Goth music was seen to be darker and with a hint of violence involved, the followers based their appearance and behaviour to suit their lifestyle.

In regards to appearance, we see fetish wear with Victorian and steampunk fashions, alongside sportcoats, tight pants, corsets and lace petticoats.

But there were still other elements in goth music that made it fascinating to so many, such as drawing in elements of fantasy, literature, and even from the supernatural.

The goth culture did not revolve around anything childish, so the critical demographic here consisted of adults more than teenagers.

The bands that belong to the goth genre are Christain Death, The Mission, Fields of the Nephilim, and Killing Joke.

goth

Main Differences Between Emo and Goth

  1. Emo subculture came to be in the late 1980s at the end of the hardcore music era, while goth was born at the start of the 1980s and was introduced as “gothic rock”.
  2. The emo subculture is associated with the “post-hardcore” music subgenre, while goth is associated with the “post-punk” subgenre.
  3. Emo Followers or “emos” follow the concept of “emotional hardcore “ music, while the goth followers follow goth rock music culture.
  4. Bands that belong to the emo genre are MCR, Fall Out Boy, Rites of Spring, and Jimmy Eat world, while those of the goth genre are The Cure, Joy Division, The Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.
  5. The emo music genre revolves around teenage romance and pop-punk/hardcore elements, while the goth music genre draws in elements of fantasy, literature, and even from the supernatural.

Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 07T162747.896
References
  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1329878X1013600109

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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15 thoughts on “Emo vs Goth: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I find it quite surprising how the emotive and darker music subcultures have shaped their own unique fashion and style.

  2. The way these subcultures have distinctively emerged from different music genres is truly impressive, and this article captures their essence quite effectively.

    1. The connection between music, culture, and fashion as portrayed in this article is both compelling and thought-provoking.

  3. Very interesting how these subcultures have specific origins in music genres and how they have evolved over the years.

  4. The comparison table was informative and gave a clear distinction between the emo and goth subcultures, thank you for this detailed analysis.

  5. The detailed overview on the musical roots and thematic differences between emo and goth subcultures is very enlightening and well-presented.

  6. The historical context provided for the emo and goth subcultures is quite intriguing and offers valuable insights into their origins.

  7. The way music plays a pivotal role in shaping subcultures and their fashion elements is truly remarkable and this article has captured it well.

  8. This article provides a comprehensive and insightful comparison of emo and goth subcultures, giving a good historical perspective too.

  9. This is a fascinating exploration of the historical evolution of musical subcultures into unique social phenomena, very well articulated.

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