Emo Trend Alert: Adding a classical instrument!

WRITTEN BY
Andy Greenwald

You can only break a heart so many ways. That's the problemfacing today's glut of emo bands–open-tuned guitars,weepy lyrics, and fan sing-alongs won't separate you from themaudlin pack. To combat this musical malaise, a new crop ofinstrumentally ambitious groups has emerged, bringing a classicalsensibility to teenage breakup anthems. Though none has (as of yet)adopted what has been scientifically determined to be the most emoof classical instruments–the oboe–the followinginstruments add an ineffable touch of class to songs that mightotherwise wallow in the indignities of study hall.

INSTRUMENT: PIANO

Practitioners: Something Corporate, Murder by Death, Straylight Run

Relevant predecessors: Franz Liszt, Elton John, Schroeder from Peanuts

Pros: Since you're already wearing glasses, sittingand tickling the ivories makes you look even more bookish, wounded, and(sym)pathetic.

Cons: Vanessa Carlton

Cryability rating: High. Something Corporate singerAndrew McMahon is so impassioned about saving sad-eyed coeds that hestands up while bashing the keys. Kinda like Jerry Lee Lewis, but with13-year-old fans instead of a 13-year-old wife.

INSTRUMENT: VIOLIN

Practitioners: Yellowcard

Relevant predecessors: Itzhak Perlman, Charlie Daniels, the second-prettiest Corr

Pros: Providing a sound even higher-pitched, whinier, and more annoying than the singer's voice makes him sound downright melodic.

Cons: There is no way to make this look cool. Really.

Cryability rating: Low-unless you're Yellowcard's bassist, who must get poked in the eye with alarming frequency.

INSTRUMENT: CELLO

Practitioners: Cursive, Murder by Death

Relevant predecessors: The tortured son in Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night

Pros: Rich, dramatic sound adds texture to songs about how sex is so very confusing.

Cons: Explaining the cello case to the bouncers at CBGB

Cryability rating: Medium-but it's the only way you're gonna get a girl into an emo band outside of federal quotas.

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