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[Rites of Spring] existed well before the term did and they hated it.But there was this weird moment, like when people started calling music 'grunge,' where you were using the term even though you hated it." What had happened in D. in the mid-eighties—the shift from anger to action, from extroverted rage to internal turmoil, from an individualized mass to a mass of individuals—was in many ways a test case for the transformation of the national punk scene over the next two decades.
In this new musical climate, the aesthetics of emo also expanded into the mainstream and altered its perception.In some ways, one could find trace elements of [the album] in early emo albums of the 2000s." scene in Washington, D. as a reaction to the scene's violence and an extension of the politics espoused by Ian Mac Kaye of Minor Threat, who returned the music's focus from the community to the individual.Similar bands followed in connection with the "Revolution Summer" of 1985, an attempt by members of the Washington scene to break from the rigid constraints of hardcore punk to a renewed spirit of creativity.Emo entered mainstream culture in the early 2000s with the success of Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional and many artists signed to major record labels.
Bands such as My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus continued the genre's popularity during the rest of the decade.
The imagery, the power of the music, the way people responded to it, and the way the bands burned out instead of fading away—all have their origins in those first few performances by Rites of Spring.