By Olivia V.
The year is 2010. I’m wearing my dinosaur All Time Low shirt and editing the HTML on my MySpace page: olivejuicexD. My I <3 Boobies bracelets and silly bandz go all the way up my wrists. I am absolutely desperate for someone to acknowledge I am a part of something.
Once my coding is finished I need to find a new profile song to match my new emo Hello Kitty theme and Millionaires’Bling, Bling, Bling! has run its course. In my recommended YouTube videos, sandwiched between CapnDesDes and Shane Dawson, is Scene Girlz by brokeNCYDE and I immediately clicked on it. And I knew in those first two lines,
If you're a scene girl, go back it up / Put your booty in the air and shake your butt
brokeNCYDE is the scene music no one wants to admit they listened to. MCR, Fall Out Boy, Pierce the Veil are still considered some of the more socially acceptable to have loved in your scene era. The more “emo” a band is as opposed to “scene” keeps it’s longevity. But I’m much more curious about the 2008-2011 era where actual scene music was borderline mainstream (3OH!3, S3RL, Escape the Fate, even Cara Cunningham).
It’s impossible not to credit MySpace for the majority of these subcommunities having the space to bloom, but scene girls, they did the work. Of course, this is what makes the genre so “embarrassing” in retrospect, it was popularized by teenage girls. And not just any teenage girls, these were the obnoxious, alternative in-your-face teenage girls. Scene kids absolutely cared what you thought about them. However, we wanted you to think we were the worst kinds of kids.
But it’s significant that Scene Girlz by brokenCYDE is absolutely not kind to scene girls by any means. Sexualization and objectification aside, the line
Not a ten, but a definite eight
is, I suspect as a former scene girl, a reflection of our desperation for acceptance from scene and emo boys. Even as they treated the young girls as replaceable (many of the men in this scene being pedophiles is also not a coincidence), their careers were built on the backs of young, insecure, scene girlz that were just excited to be noticed. The cultural idea of scene and emo kids, especially girls, was that they were seeking attention.
Whether that was true or not, many of us were ignored socially and found community through the scene. All girls learn very, very young that their worth is tied to their sexuality, and if men are validating your existence through music, you’ll take whatever scraps you can get.
In 2023, it’s appalling to think now, that fourteen years ago, kids were listening to
I got these bitches all tipsy trying to sex me. / I know they want it, alcoholics are some sex freaks…. / Come on bitch, you know you want this. / That hardcore shit will make you feel the toxic.
But little thirteen year old me and my friends would blast this while taking shots of cinnamon whiskey we stole from the liquor store. We swore this was empowerment. I mean, they actually desire scene girls like me!
I’m not accusing brokeNCYDE of being creeps or anything of the sort. As far as I know, they are one of the few bands from this era that don’t have any horrible accusations against them. I truly still love brokeNCYDE, especially their collaboration with Bay Area legend E-40, “Booty Call'' still goes hard. Blending the elements of the hyperpop-esque scene music right in the renaissance of hyphy music is a match made in heaven for a Bay Area scene kid (or hell if you’re asking my mom). Their lyrics are meant to be shocking to anyone not “in” on it. There’s nothing worse than trying to explain to your boomer parent why there’s a song called “Sex Toyz” on your hot pink iPod nano with a Winnie the Pooh charm. The shock of their lyrics, titles and the hyper, nightcoresque aesthetic is the point. If you’re scene, you “get it” and if you’re not, it’s not for you. It’s the perfect normie-repellant. Their debut album title “I'm Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It!” illustrates this perfectly. Your parents hate brokeNCYDE, which is why you love them.
Scene music like brokeNCYDE and the way they have implemented elements of Pop Punk and Hip-Hop together to make a messy mashup, set the standard for hyperpop and nightcore genres. Without MySpace, artists are now getting a name for themselves on TikTok like 100 gecs and Dorian Electra.
The difference between finding an artist on Tiktok versus MySpace is the weird scene of shame attached to music discovery from Tiktok. For me, it’s impossible not to feel a sense of kinship when I see some teen on my FYP wearing Hello Kitty merch and dancing to nightcore edits of Bloody Mary by Lady Gaga. That is exactly what all of us scene girls would be doing to brokeNCYDE. The difference now, I hope, is that this new generation of scene girls is not hiding in the shadows, hoping to be noticed by some mediocre men where they will ultimately be the punchline of their lyrics.
I think these new scene kids know that dressing this way, and listening to music like this is the perfect way to weed out the normies and find your people.