by Kevin Sterne
A Chicago record store recently rolled out a new marketing campaign targeted at an underrepresented demographic—The bro and more specifically, the emotional bro. Or even more nuanced: bros who are emotional but don’t know it yet. This untapped closet-emo-bro market, particularly Chicago’s Wrigleyville area, is one swathe with potential. Bros have trust-fund money.
Iconic Bro phrases such as “Love you Bro,” “I feel you, bro” or even “bruh” are—at their core—emotionally-laden. Still, the best conduit to reach a bro (and a bro’s trust fund money) is through sports. Bands like Modern Baseball and American Football make obvious sense, but one employee told me she sold half a dozen Say Anything albums purely off the song “Baseball but Better” from 2002’s Menorah/Mejora. (I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, they have already reached our Jewish fraternities).
Cleverly feeding bros their emo vegetables is nothing new. Queen was really the first to do it with “Bicycle Race” in 1978. Then there’s the cover art to Bleed America by Jimmy Eat World. Recently: Explosions in the Sky’s music on the hit show Friday Night Lights. And in Chicago specifically, “soft” music has been synonymous with sports i.e., the 2005 Chicago White Sox and fucking Journey.
Some bros have expressed interest in heavier “sports” music. Great, because POD’s Boom song is annoying. For those bros looking for something heavier, there’s “Football Season is Over” by Bring Me the Horizon and “Pulmonary Archery” by Alexisonfire. Want heavy without the screaming; A war anthem of sorts? How about Coheed and Cambria?
Longing to give your bro friend the musical equivalent of a butt-slap for a good play? Taking Back Sunday’s “There’s No ‘I’ In Team” and “Ghost Man on Third” will leave his cheeks raw. Other rousing, high-five, sports titular tracks include: “The Game Needed Me” and “We Are Not a Football Team” by Minus the Bear; “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot” by Brand New.
To be sure, upselling sports references to turn bros onto emo music is can only work until they actually listen to the music. Which is why there’s a strict no return policy. If things go well, this record store could be as big as Bar Chair Sports (or whatever that thing is called)—minus the misogyny and overt Confederate Flag color scheme. Admirable stuff.
There’s still one unanswered question: Do you even emo, bruh?