Alternative lifestyle played an important part in many adolescents’ lives. The edgy hairstyles, makeup, piercings, and tattoos were commonly used as a symbol of identity for people in different subcultures. These so-called ‘subcultures’ were originated from various genres of music.

Now, you may ask: what do these acts or musical genres have to do with Russia? Well, in fact, the Russian entertainment industry is also known for it’s alternative scene. These were mainly a result of the punk rock influences within the country. (look more: history of Russian punk rock). Nowadays, punk rock continues to be adored by many Russians. The emo subculture was derived from the punk rock subculture. Just like the punk subculture, the emo subculture gained popularity for expressing emotions by using poetic elements.

One of the main groups who produced emocore in Russia was Kitay. Kitay was prominent in the Russian alternative music scene among the late 2000s to the early 2010s. In fact, Kitay became known across some countries in Latin America and Asia by teenagers who were part of the emo subculture. The members in this band were: Grigoriy (Grisha) Raduga, Sofia Fink, Pavel Skittles (Pasha), and Sergei (Djuss) Kukushkin.

Similar to Western emo music, many songs from Kitay are about love, breakups, and emotional struggles. Below are some songs which are my top picks from Kitay.

Моё Сердце ​(My Heart)

As you guessed from the title, the theme of the song is romantic relationships. Throughout the video, we can see a girl carrying a heart and giving pieces of the heart to strangers. Many strangers decide to throw the piece in a garbage bin, except for the last person she met. These actions show how love may take awhile to find, and the right person will always be waiting for you.

После дождя (After the Rain)

(Rock version)

(Pop version)

This song is one of the first singles that the band has released. In fact, this song probably gave the band a head-start into their career. There are two versions: the rock and pop version. Both versions have different rhythms but the same lyrics.

Осень (Fall)

Similarly to <<Моё Сердце,>> this song is also about love and relationships. The title “Fall” can be the main symbol of this song. There are a lot of scene changes in the song as the setting takes place at a rock concert and a bathroom.

Выпускной (Graduation)

Everytime when I listen to this song, I think of school and graduation. Now, this is where the adolescent experience comes in. Teenagers tend to interpret graduation as a bittersweet event since they are moving on with education along with growing up. They are excited about their future, while they are devastated knowing that they may never see their close friends again. Perhaps listening to this may bring a lot of people nostalgic memories about graduating high school.

What can all of these songs tell us?Think of your adolescent years! You may have experienced rejection, high school graduation and peer pressure. Kitay touches upon all of these events throughout their songs using different melodies and lyrics. If you want to be a little bit adventurous and travel back to your teenage years, make sure to check out Kitay.

The emo subculture has led to the rise of alternative music bands around the world. Kitay is one of the bands that have been greatly influenced by this movement. As a result, they have made a breakthrough in the alternative music scene in Russia while showcasing their talent on a global scale. Although Kitay has disbanded, many subcultures continue to exist in Russia. Music subcultures are always evolving and developing into new styles. Perhaps in the next decade, another band in Russia will impact the world on a larger scale.

Text by Candice Zhang

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