Following the suicide of a 15-year-old boy, police in the Armenian capital Yerevan are cracking down on adolescent fans of emo music, a derivative of punk rock that is known for angst-ridden lyrics. Armenian officials contend that emo aficionados undermine social stability. But some psychologists and rights activists caution that hauling tattooed teenagers off to police stations for questioning is a strategy destined to backfire.
Emo -- a term derived from the word “emotional” -- music traces its origins back to the punk-rock movement of the late 1970s and early 80s and the indie rock groups that followed it. Often tagged as a close relative of grunge music, it is long on expressing primal emotions, particularly about depression and loneliness, but without the sugar-coating of a pop ballad.
In the West, emo music has entered the mainstream, but in Armenia it remains on the fringe.
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan.