Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Speaking of genres (well, I was two posts ago), wasn’t it all so much easier when we though of everything as just pop – or rock ‘n’ roll (take your pick)?

But this genre thing is outta control.

I mean, I get that Easy Listening and Pop and Rock and Folk and R&B and Hip Hop just don’t cross paths too much any more(except maybe on awards shows).  I’m inured to the fact that rock has gone through all this cell division so we’ve got Folk Rock, Punk, Metal, Alternative, Prog, Indie and so on and so on and even more so on.

I’ve slowly come top recognize that we need additional labels such as House and Psychobilly, and Emo and Hardcore.  I guess they serve a purpose.

But brother, when I browse some online music sites, I’m overwhelmed by all these weird genres:  Doom?  Sleaze?  Sadcore?  Red Dirt?

Really?  What are these about?

OK, you can kinda guess what Melodic Death might be like, or Screamo, or Horrorcore, or Trip Hop.  Gothabilly you can almost picture (or hear, I guess).  Ditto Acid Folk, even Swamp.  I think.

And it turns out most ‘em have entries in Wikipedia, so I suppose there’s more than one band doing them.  But simple folk like me have to be enlightened as to why we need Shoegaze, Glitch or Grime.

But some of this sub-genrification is kinda pointless isn’t it?  I mean, Wikipedia defines Street Punk as “a working class-based genre of punk rock.”  Hello?  Was normal Punk something reserved for the upper class?  Like The Sex Pistols gave us music for Toffs?

Maybe some of these bands are just trying to distinguish themselves in ways that don’t involve their actual music.  Maybe they’re having us on.   Noir?  Heartfelt and Lyrical?  Youtube?  Jack Daniels?

I think I need a swig.

Friday, 12 December 2014

I Can Sense It From A Mile

Go have a listen to Pete Townshend’s Secondhand Love.

Nice, eh?  What would you call that?  Rock?  Blues?  R&B?

All the above and then some, right?  Sometimes great songs exemplify a genre.  Sometimes they defy categorization.

Who cares?  Great music is great music.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Let’s Go Crazy

I don’t know about pop’s greatest year (that honour would have to land somewhere around 1966 give or take a year or two), but Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Singles of 1984 definitely disproves the assertion that the 80’s were a musical wasteland.

Yes, you’ve got your abundance of Europop (some good, some bad; you decide which is which), like Dead or Alive, Wham!  Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Culture Club, or The Eurythmics.

Or you’ve got your hair bands, some of which didn’t quite stand the test of time (again, you decide which ones), like Scorpion, Ratt, Bon Jovi or Def Leppard.

You’ve also got a healthy reminder that R&B was alive and well thank you very much, thanks to Hall & Oates, Huey Lewis, Sade and Tina Turner.

Then there’s folks who did a great job riding the punk/new wave pop rock thing, like The Cars, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, or Mellencamp.

And of course there are the giants of the decade: Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Police and U2.

But, you also have blasts from the past, as it were, with entries from Springsteen, Genesis, Van Halen, ZZ Top, Elton John, and McCartney.  Heck, even John Lennon has a posthumous release on the list.

So, notwithstanding 99 Luftballons, there are a lot of fabulous tunes here.  And you know, I had almost as many of these records as I had for the Top 100 of 1966.