Wikipedia Roundup: Emo Edition
Thoughts from writing Wikipedia articles about the discographies of three emo bands
I see that my newsletter got linked on the Substack main page over the past few days. Welcome new readers to my newsletter! I average 2-3 posts a month and least one of those posts tends to be map-focused. The other posts are about politics, technology, and culture. Having tried to chase the news cycle in the past and gotten burned out, I try, and sometimes fail, to steer away from it.
Unfortunately, I did not do any spatial analysis this weekend. If I knew that I would be gifted with an influx of signups, I would have done some. Be on the lookout for some new cartography next week. I am on a bit of a transportation kick, so I am considering doing something with the bus routes of DC, but I am also thinking about doing something more environmental. If you have a dataset that you would love to see visualized, DM me on twitter or email me.
In addition to my substack-ing and map making, I am a Wikipedian. I enjoy the process of scouring the internet for the one webpage that mentions a obscure fact that I need cited for an article; I am weird like that. Still to this day, I am a recovering emo kid. While I listen to a diverse cross section of music, I seem to always return to bands that are sometimes categorized as emo. The Menzingers, Turnover, and Something Corporate all topped my list of most listened to bands in 2020.
Over the past month, I have merged those interests together and have written articles of the complete discographies of three of my favorite bands. Currently, the annual tournament to see which editor can improve the most content (the WikiCup) is going on. We are in the second round right now and I have a good shot to make it through to the third. My “ticket” to the fourth round is going to be writing a series of Featured Lists and these are the start of that effort. Featured content needs to go through a time consuming review process and points are not calculated until that review is over.
Here are my thoughts from writing the three discographies that I hope will form the backbone of my run for the cup this year.
mewithoutYou in a broadly-Abrahamic experimental post-hardcore band. That should sound like a pile of random words to most people, because there is no other way of talking about this band. For the past 20 years, the only thing that has been the same about their music is the spoken or shouted fashion that Aaron Weiss “sings” their lyrics in. This band has a catalogue of sounds that rivals Primus. Here are the genres of their seven studio albums:
[A→B] Life — Hardcore and emo
Catch for Us the Foxes — Post-hardcore
Brother, Sister — Indie rock
It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright — Abrahamic campfire songs
Ten Stories — Art rock concept album about the crash of a traveling circus train in 19th-century Montana
Pale Horses — Experimental Post-hardcore
[Untitled] — Experimental Post-hardcore
The last two albums are very hard to categorize. For other artists I would give you a YouTube link for one of my favorite songs, but with a portfolio like this, it is impossible. If any of these genres sound interesting, I would give the whole album a listen.
Turnover is a pop-punk band that turned into a dream pop group. The thing that I like most about Turnover, it how they reinvented themselves. Their first album, Magnolia, is fairly conventional early-2010s pop-punk. The single off of that album, “Most of the Time”, is typical of both the genre and early Turnover. It is a good song, but the the genre was flush with bands with a similar sound. Plus, the center of 2010s pop-punk was the Philadelphia suburbs, not Virginia Beach.
Instead of folding up or making more music that sounded like all of the rest of the bro-y alternative scene in 2015, the band changed gears completely and put out a dream pop album. When you listen to “New Scream” it is hard to believe that the same band put out both songs on back-to-back releases. Peripheral Vision is one of my favorite albums of all time and it is worth a listen.
I vividly remember hearing the bass line for “Never Meant” off of American Football’s 1999 LP American Football. I was 16 and I found this weird CD with a greenish picture of a white suburban house on it. I had seen the band’s name on Wikipedia, but had never listened to their music. Finding music before Spotify and YouTube’s deal with the record labels was a struggle. As I listened to the CD, the way I experienced music changed. The twinkling guitars and introspective lyrics caused me to move on from hardcore, like Minor Threat, to most of the music I listen to today.
Part of me is sad that I was able to write a discography of this band. The charm was that they recorded a perfect album about moving between life stages and then broke up shortly after. It was a college band and the members were graduating from college. The album is so pure and so influential to how the emo-revival sounds that, by reforming in 2014 and releasing two more albums, it is stained by the follow-ups. I understand that this is irrational, but the nostalgia of first listening to this band permeates everything about it. If you never were handed a copy of this album in high school or college, I encourage you to give it a listen. It is well worth the time.