Emo is a style of rock music which describes several independent variations of music with common stylistic roots. As such, use of the term has been the subject of much debate. In the mid-1980s, the term emo described a subgenre of hardcore punk which originated in the Washington, D.C. music scene. In later years, the term emocore, short for "emotional hardcore", was also used to describe the emotional performances of bands in the Washington, D.C. scene and some of the offshoot regional scenes such as Rites of Spring, Embrace, One Last Wish, Beefeater, Gray Matter, Fire Party, and later, Moss Icon. (In more recent years, the term "emotive hardcore" entered the lexicon to describe the period.)
Starting in the mid-1990s, the term emo began to refer to the indie scene that followed the influences of Fugazi, which itself was an offshoot of the first wave of emo. Bands including Sunny Day Real Estate and Texas Is the Reason had a more indie rock style of emo, more melodic and less chaotic. The so-called "indie emo" scene survived until the late 1990s, as many of the bands either disbanded or shifted to mainstream styles. As the remaining indie emo bands entered the mainstream, newer bands began to emulate the mainstream style. As a result, the term "emo" became a vaguely defined identifier rather than a specific genre of music.