There are "genre novels" and "genre films". Is there "genre music"?

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goddamn that's an annoying post

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:03 (three months ago) link

I listen to a lot of "genre rap" - Griselda, post Roc Marciano or just old type boom bap street shit that just does what it does for people who like that kinda stuff

I think that tons of capital-P punk stuff fits into that nowadays

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:04 (three months ago) link

My first thought is the 1000s of hardcore bands that have shown up on local all-ages/matinee/etc. bills for decades.

juristic person (morrisp), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:09 (three months ago) link

A lot of this stuff is described as being "for specialists only", if the genre is no longer popular.

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:11 (three months ago) link

xzanfar - Please provide one example of each.

Also, zydeco is on the list 3 times, so please provide 3 examples.

Hideous Lump, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:15 (three months ago) link

Traditional Zydeco
Christian Zydeco Zydeco
Hi-NRG Zydeco

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:35 (three months ago) link

I get what your getting at, I think. Seems like the dynamics of making music are just a bit different than the dynamics that might drive a novelist typing out endless space operas or bodice-rippers, or Roger Corman 'sploitation flicks. Maybe because the novel and movie experience is a single read/viewing?

As far a exploitation records, my first thought was Buddah Records bubblegum and my second thought was bass CDs, like ums alludes to.

the plant based god (bendy), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:36 (three months ago) link

...electro swing. Yeesh.

the plant based god (bendy), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:37 (three months ago) link

My first thought is the 1000s of hardcore bands that have shown up on local all-ages/matinee/etc. bills for decades.

Yeah definitely; I've used the term "genre music" for years to refer mostly to extremely idiomatic forms of hardcore, metal, and dance music.

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:42 (three months ago) link

In my late teenage years I used to say when asked that I liked "non-generic music' which was 50% true, 50% trolling and 1000% mortifying to think about now.

used to also have a theory that genres went through experimental phase, then recieved a name, then started to get loaded with musical & presentation tropes, then bands start to follow the tropes rather than try to make sth new, then it becomes heritage music, frozen in time, like trad jazz or Calypso. however I would now say (a) there are a few things wrong with this theory and (b) it's such an obvious thing to say that it's bound to be unoriginal.

edited to reflect developments which occurred (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 20:50 (three months ago) link

I listen to a lot of "genre rap" - Griselda, post Roc Marciano or just old type boom bap street shit that just does what it does for people who like that kinda stuff

I think that tons of capital-P punk stuff fits into that nowadays

― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, October 26, 2021 3:04 PM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

My first thought is the 1000s of hardcore bands that have shown up on local all-ages/matinee/etc. bills for decades.

― juristic person (morrisp), Tuesday, October 26, 2021 3:09 PM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

These are good examples of "genre music" in the sense of music that conforms closely to genre tropes. But they're missing the second thing I had in mind, the critical disreputability. Griselda get mostly positive critical attention, from what I've seen. And while most current boom-bap stuff and local hardcore gets no critical attention at all, the genres they're adhering to have long since become respectable. (That is if we're talking about bands in the Minor Threat/early Bad Brains/early Black Flag tradition, which is what comes to mind for me.)

But then maybe that's just another kind of critical disrepute - being seen as too hidebound to be interesting.

JRN, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:13 (three months ago) link

Is hardcore more (or less) critically "respectable" than, say, thriller novels or slasher flicks?

juristic person (morrisp), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:16 (three months ago) link

If there's such a thing as a mainstream of rock criticism at this point, I would say that some hardcore (Minor Threat/early Bad Brains/early Black Flag) has attained a fairly high degree of critical respect within in, while a huge amount of popular and influential stuff - very roughly, the kind of hardcore with a clear metal influence and breakdowns - has not.

Black Flag is on the Rolling Stone top 500 albums list (granted, at the low end); Earth Crisis never will be.

Not sure if that answers the question, though.

JRN, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:24 (three months ago) link

Lotta classic sci fi movies get critical attention and if that’s not a genre I don’t know what is.

29 facepalms, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:25 (three months ago) link

I feel like every semi-disreputable genre has examples that "rise to the top" and win critical respectability/acclaim. Anyway, that kind of disrepute may have applied more in highbrow eras of yore (even if those types of movies/books/albums don't typically win the big mainstream awards).

juristic person (morrisp), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:29 (three months ago) link

Filk music?

brimstead, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:34 (three months ago) link

The first thing that comes to my mind is musical theater.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:35 (three months ago) link

I think something like rockabilly might be a good example of this? I'm not sure if there are rockabilly conventions, but it feels like there could be.

vcrash, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:37 (three months ago) link

Or that modern bluegrass beloved of rural hipsters where the lyrics are sexual and cutesy at the same time?

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:41 (three months ago) link

It's definitely a genre in Alaska; all the nerdy hippies go to Talkeetna for the bluegrass festival.

I was once standing outside the Talkeetna general store, reading a Missing! poster about someone's stolen hula hoop, when the owner of the hula hoop walked up and started talking to a friend. I knew this because I heard the friend say "Dude! Someone ganked your hoop?" That's Talkeetna.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:48 (three months ago) link

These are good examples of "genre music" in the sense of music that conforms closely to genre tropes. But they're missing the second thing I had in mind, the critical disreputability.

I suppose that critical disreputability is hard to pin down, but I'd probably call truly formulaic NYHC, UK82, or, say, psytrance "disreputable" in the traditional sense of the term.

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:51 (three months ago) link

"Dude! Someone ganked your hoop?"

lmao this made my night, I think.

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Tuesday, 26 October 2021 22:52 (three months ago) link

Stuff like Psychobilly (The Cramps etc) feels like this - acts that are self consciously playing music of a particular style, working with certain tropes and parameters, but then I start wondering if this is just a word for parody or pastiche. Dance music too? Like people who make just jungle or just dubstep

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 01:29 (two months ago) link

acts that are self consciously playing music of a particular style, working with certain tropes and parameters

That’s, like, the Tarantino equivalent, right? “Genre” in quotes.

juristic person (morrisp), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 01:52 (two months ago) link

This is the true genre stuff, bands you never hear of unless you’re into the scene.

juristic person (morrisp), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 01:55 (two months ago) link

According to iTunes, all music is Blues

raven, Wednesday, 27 October 2021 04:17 (two months ago) link

Anyway, the more interesting question is, is there any "non-genre music"?

raven, Wednesday, 27 October 2021 04:18 (two months ago) link

Watching The Voice – I suppose “Contemporary worship music” (groups like this) is a genre with zero mainstream/critical respectability.

Even musical theater has its Hamilton

juristic person (morrisp), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 06:15 (two months ago) link

I keep thinking of old Happy Hardcore tapes but not sure what the modern iteration would be

ignore the blue line (or something), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 08:55 (two months ago) link

Odd, is this just coincidence. looking through my Spotify New Episodes list and see that the subject of this week's Adam Conover
podcast is How Genres Shape Music https://open.spotify.com/episode/1cSLGKJPhrnRlcf69PVP8g?si=4aaf98e85f114bcc

Stevolende, Wednesday, 27 October 2021 09:10 (two months ago) link

Anyway, the more interesting question is, is there any "non-genre music"?

― raven, Wednesday, October 27, 2021 5:18 AM (seven hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

I think the OP gets it right upthread where they say acts like Radiohead, Nirvana, Beyonce etc wouldn't really be called "genre" music even though they might get lumped in with grunge or indie or R'n'B or whatever; but ultimately they're not actively doing that music, they're just being themselves whereas, say, Mighty Mighty Bosstones or 3 Inches of Blood or Northern Uproar or the Darkness would definitely be called "Genre" bands

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 12:20 (two months ago) link

I feel like the Cramps need to be separated from all the psychobilly stuff that came later, they were really something savage and feral compared to, like, Rev Horton Heat etc

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 13:53 (two months ago) link

Kelefa Sanneh has a new book on genre out btw, looks good.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 13:54 (two months ago) link

I was thinking about this in relation to 'modern' roots dub that I imagine largely exists in the eco-system of soundsystems. I assume it still exists, I haven't attended a dance for years.

Noel Emits, Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:25 (two months ago) link

All books are in a genre but when we speak of "genre fiction" we typically mean mystery, scifi, fantasy, etc.

I am not in the mood for saying anything prescriptive or dogmatic here, but the question makes me think of novelty music and niche tastes.

All music is in a genre but I would say that parody, for example, is a niche. Weird Al-style parody is a niche. Flight of the Conchords-style novelty or comedy music is a niche. Christmas (or other holiday) songs are a niche.

History songs like "Battle of New Orleans" or "North to Alaska" or "Green Berets" are a niche.

Songs that depend on a particular recording trick, like the Chipmunks or dogs barking "Jingle Bells"? A niche.

that of a giant Slor (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:41 (two months ago) link

If you search any genre tag on Bandcamp you'll find an ocean of releases that stick rigidly to whatever the genre's formula is. Some might be good, some will be terrible, occasionally there'll be one that transcends the genre, but mostly you listen and think 'oh, it's another (genre) track'.

Spandex, Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:47 (two months ago) link

> This is the true genre stuff, bands you never hear of unless you’re into the scene.

Yes I have that Atomics record and was wondering the other day if anyone else had ever heard it. It's been at least 20 years since I played that CD. Rockabilly definitely ossified into tropes of flamey shirts and Betty Page haircuts in the 90s, so much so that it's not even much of a presence at garage rock fests of the Oh Sees / Ty Segall variety (which is critically acceptable) Stuff like the Cramps and Flat Duo Jets is transcendent, and had a critical cache for a long time, to say nothing of Link Wray or Billy Lee Riley. It's interesting to contemplate when a scene crosses a line that it becomes pathetic. Like, a break out LA Mexican American rockabilly band could totally bring the genre back, but ain't gonna happen with Fieri looking guys, even if Guy himself had a bit of a Bob Ross reassessment.

the plant based god (bendy), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 15:14 (two months ago) link

The ultimate answer to this, I think, is stoner metal bands: all the albums sound the same, devotees parse the barely perceptible differences between them and literally no one else on earth gives a shit. Nobody wakes up one morning and says, "I think I'll give stoner metal a shot: should I listen to Weedeater, Sea of Green, or Goatbong?"

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 15:24 (two months ago) link

uh...

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 15:46 (two months ago) link

i think if we're going to call stoner metal bands "genre music" then flat duo jets are definitely in that category

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 15:47 (two months ago) link

I don't think Stoner Metal is different than any ossified genre from Dixieland revival up to post-Skrillix dubstep in that regard.

the plant based god (bendy), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 18:24 (two months ago) link

were sort of talking about artists that exists beyond the Steve Forbert threshold

http://conqueso.com/nerd/forbert.html

the plant based god (bendy), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 18:27 (two months ago) link

Isn't a big part of "genre fiction" that a fan might not necessarily be familiar with the names of authors (although some would) but they could pick up, say, a bodice-ripper based solely on the genre and maybe the cover art and be satisfied with the (trite, generic) results?

In that case I nominate the bazillion "Chill Out Ibiza Volume XXX" compilations.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 27 October 2021 18:38 (two months ago) link

Anyway, the more interesting question is, is there any "non-genre music"?

Pop Music? Like there's trends and tropes, but it's essentially the musical equivalent of "Blockbuster Film".

MarkoP, Wednesday, 27 October 2021 19:34 (two months ago) link

Anyway, the more interesting question is, is there any "non-genre music"?

Sure, if we're running with the analogy to genre fiction, I guess the antipodes of genre music would either be "industry music" (pop music is not genre music due to the pretense of universal appeal) or "auteurist music" (music made with the implicit or explicit ambition of transcending its nominal genre).

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Thursday, 28 October 2021 00:38 (two months ago) link

I guess even most auteurist music could be put in a genre, though, right? Even if it’s “RIO” or just “Experimental”

juristic person (morrisp), Thursday, 28 October 2021 01:52 (two months ago) link

(I also don’t think the “pretense of universal appeal” precludes genre. Lady Gaga is dance-pop, etc.)

juristic person (morrisp), Thursday, 28 October 2021 01:53 (two months ago) link

Most Kubrick films are genre movies; he’s pretty “auteurist.” The exceptions may prove yr point, though (Lolita, Strangelove… is “dark comedy” a genre?)

juristic person (morrisp), Thursday, 28 October 2021 01:56 (two months ago) link

Yeah, I don't disagree with any of that per se. To clarify what I was getting at above, sure "The Shining" is "file under horror" but I think it's safe to say that it's "made with the implicit or explicit ambition of transcending its nominal genre". So I think there's a difference between what we mean when we say "genre" in the sense of "file under x" and what we mean when we talk about, say, "a western" or "a romance novel".

New York Review of Wooks (swim), Thursday, 28 October 2021 02:08 (two months ago) link

For sure, I hear you there.

juristic person (morrisp), Thursday, 28 October 2021 02:14 (two months ago) link

Top of my mind reggaeton - and reggae, ska, rocksteady and dancehall for the most part - are usually very confined to genre standards and most importantly rhythmic standards. If you deviate too much from let’s say in reggaeton from the dembow riddim you’re not in the genre’s boundaries anymore.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 28 October 2021 04:56 (two months ago) link

This video explaining the same chord progression but in ska, rocksteady and reggae rhythms is what I’m trying to exemplify:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0YCChML0S4

If you play it slowly it’s suddenly not ska anymore, play it with a quick two strum pattern and it’s reggae. You are somewhat constrained into the genre by it’s rhythmic patterns… but then again… most music genres are?

Maybe I didn’t get op’s question haha

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 28 October 2021 05:21 (two months ago) link

Ska is definitely disreputable, I’ll give you that.

juristic person (morrisp), Thursday, 28 October 2021 06:31 (two months ago) link

i feel like i listen to a lot of techno that is 'genre' techno, in that it is from a label/artists with an insane amount of output and it feels like filler yet here i am listening to it. something like semantica or hypnus records or artists like ASC. plenty of things transcend but it feels created in a niche.

of course there is also a lot of genre techno that is worse than filler you see floating around looking for a hit, but just like i'm more likely to read an Abercrombie genre fantasy than like Warhammer, those things still fit that mode.

claphands, Thursday, 28 October 2021 07:25 (two months ago) link

i feel like when i listened to 764-hero in 2001 it was basically genre northwest emo

claphands, Thursday, 28 October 2021 07:50 (two months ago) link

Back in the days of peak dubstep there were whole ongoing forum threads arguing about what did and what didn't count as dubstep. I think the main thing was that it almost unequivocally had to be at 140bpm or people got aggy

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Thursday, 28 October 2021 09:22 (two months ago) link

These are good examples of "genre music" in the sense of music that conforms closely to genre tropes. But they're missing the second thing I had in mind, the critical disreputability.

fwiw I don't think it's true in the least to say that genre fiction or genre films are critically disreputable in 2021, we've had decades of tastemakers reassessing these and the "critical disreputability" thing is at this point more of a historical leftover from the days when there were far fewer critics and much more of a monoculture around what "quality" means.

So to that point, all popular music is genre music because the non-genre stuff within that mindset is classical music.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 28 October 2021 09:28 (two months ago) link

ASC put out an album and two EPs last year where the whole thinking behind them was "I Am Now Making 90s Drum 'n' Bass." I bought them; they were very good.

but also fuck you (unperson), Thursday, 28 October 2021 09:30 (two months ago) link

I'm reminded of a thought I had about how some artists are mercurial and follow their own paths as self invention. But leave recognisable landmarks along the way.But there are lesser artists who see the value of that particular nexus and spend their careers investigating what the possibilities of that particular point are or develop their own sense of self invention based in it.
It was something I inferred about general human interface from reading a good book about tghe development of computer interface The inmates are running the asylum by Alan Cooper though it may have occurred to me independently before that.

Stevolende, Thursday, 28 October 2021 16:37 (two months ago) link


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