What’s something Taylor Swift and emo bands have in common? While that statement feels like some kind of "chicken crossing the road" jive, you’d be surprised what similarities Swifties and swoopy-haired emos share. Whether it’s despairing lyrics poetically mapping out the cruel fate of a broken heart or how the media has often vilified both for those vulnerable lyrics, their common denominator seems to lie within their fanbase. Self-described “Swemos” sit at the crossroads between loving Swift and emo music, singing along to moody tracks like "Better Than Revenge" with an equally moody, dark attire. While it may sound like a concept straight out of Tumblr, the Swemo army is a force to be reckoned with.

Read more: 15 of Taylor Swift’s most emo songs ever, ranked

You can also spot Swift and her best friend Abigail wearing Boys Like Girls merch on the MTV series Once Upon A Prom. She even joined Avril Lavigne onstage.

Perhaps the greatest staple of emo royalty is Swift's love of Paramore and her timeless friendship with Hayley Williams. She’s been seen jamming out to “Misery Business” before, and, of course, there’s Williams' cameo in “Bad Blood.” 

“They both have a good way of describing emotions,” Tina Baer explains, a longtime emo Swiftie and the host of the extremely popular “Swemo” nights. In their own words, they describe a Swemo as “someone who’s a fan of Taylor Swift but also considers themself to be a big fan of emo music, whether that’s considered to be traditional emo all the way into pop punk [and] hardcore.” When asked about the connection between emo and Swifties, Baer pinned it down to the emotions behind the song. “I think that’s why a lot of people connect with both because you can find both in a pop-punk song that is sad, like 'Clairvoyant' by the Story So Far,” Baer says. 

Zac is another devout emo Swiftie who hadn’t heard the phrase “Swemo” before but definitely resonates with it. “I think a lot of Taylor Swift’s best stuff has the same sort of broken-heart energy as a lot of emo, and it has a similar take on it — think 'You Belong With Me' and compare that to, say, 'Cute Without the 'E''  — but I think it’s pretty obviously less misogynistic and toxic than a lot of the popular emo stuff.” 

Lexi also had no clue about the phrase that’s helped unite so many music fans. 

“It applies to me, but I’d interpret it more as 'emo Swiftie' than 'Swemo'— same thing, though.” They muse about why these two seemingly unconventional worlds, one that’s soft pop and the other that's rage-fueled angst, blend so seamlessly. “The internet, specifically for a certain generation/age range, really has us in a bubble and engaging with the same songs [and] artists throughout the years," they explain. "2013-14, was the 1975, and by 2015, I was on Halsey stan Twitter. It’s been interesting, too, because I think some of those Tumblr-era artists have bridged the gap between Swifties and emo — even if they’re necessarily not. Jack Antonoff was playing shows with Jersey-era emo bands before he produced for Swift and the 1975. Halsey has been a noted emo fan but still is a huge supporter of Swift and her fans, which also have a lot of overlap.” 

What came first for these fans, though, emo or Swift? “I was 16 when 'Blank Space' came out, and I was definitely a snobby kid who didn’t like pop, but something about the hook was just so undeniable to me," Zac admits. "I started listening to it ironically first but ended up just really loving the song, so I checked out 1989, and it blew me the fuck away. It was honestly such a fresh and exciting take on pop, and it’s still one of my favorites today.” 

For Kindra, who DJs Emo Nights and Taylor Swift Nights across the U.S., emo came first. “Being 'the emo girl' in a small town in Missouri is the legacy I left behind,” she explains. “I think my days of defending emo music actually prepared me for the backlash that sometimes comes with being a Swiftie.” Kin praises Swift's music for how it mends a heartbreak, much like emo ballads. “Any heartbreak I’ve ever had has been mended by music. Shout out 'Come In With The Rain' by Taylor Swift and A Twist In My Story by Secondhand Serenade for getting me through my first breakup. The best part about being a Swemo is the amount of songs you have in your 'hard days' playlist. There’s a song for every stage of grief, in any situation.”

“The fun thing about these events is there are a lot of pop-punk covers of her songs. I utilize that,” Baer says. While she admits she's "not a DJ in the least bit," Baer has attended Swift parties and emo nights alike. But when she posted a TikTok that gained traction, she began conceptualizing a Swemo party.

“I’ve been going out to these events, making friends with people that either like running them or know how to run them," Baer explains. "We found a place in Brooklyn, and it sold out. They had to open downstairs, which was really unexpected for my first-ever event.”

The self-proclaimed Swemos have more influence than you think. Though a growing phrase, it seems many are aligning themselves with this subcategory now that it has a proper name. After all, the emotional language of both Swift's music and the emo genre speaks to those who’ve known true heartbreak and loss. If one thing is clear, though, it's that you don’t mess with Swemos. They listen to sad, angsty music day to day and can decode cryptic messages from their musicians like it’s nothing.