Monday, 18 October 2010

A guide to music-genres and teenage sub-cultures

I'm sorry. I am about to have a little rant, so please be prepared for a post text-rich and poorly constructed, with little or no thought given to both structure and content. My English teacher would be ashamed.

Why is it that music these days has so many different genres and sub-genres (some of them aren't even genres, they're named after the particular group of teenagers who buys them) that it tells you precisely nothing about the actual genre? What the hell is post-punk nerd-core grind? Indie punk power-pop anyone? And don't even get me started on Dubstep...

The irritating thing is, most of these so-called "genres" don't even count as music in my opinion. Dubstep (KatieB et al) sounds like tuneless noise fuzz. Most nerd-core isn't even intelligent. 98% of rap should have a C in front of it (I am aware I sound like my mother.) Chiptune, trance, emo, indie, scene, chav, R&B... do we even know what they mean anymore?

OK, so here's a little run-down of music genres today:

R&B - The most popular music in the charts today it seems, a vast majority of this is shit. Once upon a time this used to stand for Rhythm & Blues. Now, we have Usher.

Pop - No longer the love-child of The Beatles and The Kinks, Pop in the charts today consists mostly of "urbanised" pop (think Cheryl Cole) sugar-coated vomit (Justin Beiber) or Dance influenced (The Saturdays.) There are some decent artists, for example Eliza Doolittle and Cee Lo Green, but on the whole, pop is dead.

Rock - The genre most densely populated with good music. Biffy Clyro, Kings of Leon, Razorlight, and, of course Muse are just a few of the best bands in the charts today. Of course you still have some mongrel, shitty "rock" (think 3Oh!3, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco) but hey, you can't win them all.

Dance - not knowing very much about this genre, I can't really comment, except to say I have never met a dance/trance/hardcore track that I've liked. This includes all forms of Chiptune, Crunk, Dupstep, or anything with -core on the end of it.

These are the main genres with more minor sub-categories as follows;

Metal - good but not great. I have nothing against screaming, but I'm more Karen O than Corey Taylor, thanks.
Jazz - fantastic, obviously. There is approximately zero jazz in the charts today, not including Michael Buble (apologies to all Canadian readers.)
Emo/Scene/Chav/Rave - these all refer to a sub-culture, not a genre. The former two are fairly similar, as are the latter two (appearance-wise.) Now, I have no prejudice against anyone who wants to act/dress differently to the norm, but let's face it, most Scene Kids etc just want to fit in to their pathetic little clique, dressing and acting just the same as each other, despite claiming to be "individual" or "alternative."
Folk - Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling and even Bombay Bicycle Club are in on this act, making folk cool again (hallelujah!)
Easy Listening - Neil Diamond.
Ska /Punk - there are very few real ands or lovers left in the charts today, which is sad, because this genre has produced some of the best musicians of the century.

And now for the rest, which has one label - Indie.
There are several reasons why this word seriously gets on my tits, for want of a better phrase. The first, is that any music that doesn't fit into these categories, and even some that does, are labelled as indie. The second is that indie is actually a term for unsigned bands, not dreary fashion-rock. And the third is because if, for any reason, you choose to dress, act, listen to music or have beliefs which in anyway differ from the norm, you are labelled as indie. I do not try to be indie, nor do I wish to be. I feel some things I like are positively mainstream, and yet any time I turn up in a vintage outfit, or listen to The Smith (OK, so they were admittedly indie) or turn my nose up at popular culture, I am labelled indie. This is, understandably, rather annoying.

But I do not wish to bore you any further with my ranting. It is my mother's birthday today (my mother, who likes Alien Sex Fiend, and Gary Barlow, but who is not indie!!!) and so I intend to spend some more time with my loved ones instead of writing teenage-angst ridden posts.

Live Long and Prosper,

P.S. If you do one thing this week, read this book - Seeds of Greatness, by John Canter.


  1. 3Oh!3 can hardly be called rock, because they are not rock. 3Oh!3 is crunk/electro-pop (or hop? these new genres confuse me)
    P!atD on the other hand used to somewhat be pop punk, on the verge of alternative. They have gone downhill since their first album. But Urie is still hot!
    Dance is a love/hate genre. I am a trance/hardstyle fan, but dubstep I hate.
    Personally my favourite genre of all at the moment is film score. *listens to Hans Zimmer*

  2. They're generally categorised as rock... in HMV at least.
    And there is nothing punk about Panic! At The Disco.

    You're a weirdo, Aleks. :D

  3. Well, HMV sucks and knows nothing about music it seems. And pop punk and punk don't have much in common, really.