"Emo" - it's practically a dirty word now. People used to lump The Honorary Title into that category, though the band's only qualifications for the genre were its lyrics about love and loss and the occasionally angsty voice of lead singer Jarrod Gorbel.

"Emo" - it's practically a dirty word now. People used to lump The Honorary Title into that category, though the band's only qualifications for the genre were its lyrics about love and loss and the occasionally angsty voice of lead singer Jarrod Gorbel.

Initially the name Honorary Title referred to Gorbel's solo project, though it morphed over the years into an ensemble effort. But in late 2009, Gorbel found himself ready to disband the group and trek a more folk-oriented path.

"The Honorary Title sound did go into more of a pop rock category," said Gorbel, who's perhaps most famous from his brief stint dating Kelly Osbourne. "I wanted to get away from that and stick to the more folk and Americana influence and have the production in the end kind of relate closer to where the songs started in the first place - just written in my room kind of quietly."

It was time to leave behind the Honorary Title moniker as well.

"I wanted a slight chance to reinvent myself," he said. "I just felt like what I was writing was a little more mature, and I just wanted to use the name switch as a representation of that."

On "Bruises From Your Bad Dreams," the EP that Gorbel released last week, his backing band has largely been replaced by a handful of string players. The stripped-down songs highlight Gorbel's distinctive baritone voice.

The tour that brings him to The Basement on Friday is a partnership with To Write Love on Her Arms, a nonprofit organization that tries to bring hope to young people struggling with depression, addiction or self mutilation. A representative from To Write Love will speak briefly before the concert.

"It just seems like a really positive thing to be associated with, I think more than ever with the publicized suicide bullying," Gorbel said, then laughed and added, "Plus, all my songs are really depressing."

Some of his songs hint at loved ones' emotional struggles or dependencies ("It's the high that conquered you/ stole the soul from the friend that we knew"), and others are about failing relationships. But don't take all of the lyrics too seriously. Some of them "are supposed to be inspired by The Smiths or Morrissey, where it's dark but sarcastic," he said.

His live shows are hardly sad affairs. Between songs he likes to joke around and confide things such as how he enjoys, ahem, bigger women.

"[The songs] are only one small part of me. I like to have a good time, and I don't want people to be bummed out," he said. "It's not like I walk around being that depressed all the time."