i’m currently listening to music defined as steampunk all the while trying to make sense of the world. or maybe i’ve known what’s up this entire time. maybe i just don’t want to confront that everything’s changing.
– – – – – – – –
hey everyone! i needed to get this off my chest because sometimes it seems like the world has been drowned in a black, swirling pool of pessimism. you’ll see what i mean by the end of this post.
SO, DO WE EVEN AGREE WITH MUSICAL GENRES?
my music taste is w a c. at least to me, it seems like i can never identify with any specific group. (yes, i’m looking at YOU subreddits). musical theatre? alternative?? bluegrass??? but in all honesty, i know deep down that identifying oneself with a genre or a subgenre is entirely crapola because the whole reason they were created in the first place is so that people, a.k.a. people who breathe music like it’s oxygen needed to find a way to organize their world. this world. i also know that the whole reason that we explore further and create subgenres is to feel comfortable with ourselves. it’s why gender labels exist. one can argue it’s why we do anything.
personally, i like the system of organization that comes with filing away a song into a broad genre. i like things to be neat to make sense. heck, i color code my lists based on topic! HOWEVER, when things get too specific, that’s where i draw the line. these systems are wonderful, but more importantly, music. why strip away every part of a song so it can adhere to a specific subgenre? if anything, i believe that musical artists and/or songs can be their own genre. and yes, i can imagine someone listening to a newly released album and typing away furiously to the rest of the “music community” on what genre they think a song should be. who runs google’s genre search anyway?
power punk: exists
me: pumpkin juice?? oh wait i thought we were listing random things-
to me, this ruins the intent of listening to music. it’s nice to think, “hmm, i feel more in the mood to listen to some psychedelic rock– like tame impala vibes?” or “tame impala seems to imploding, i want to listen to something chill like vance joy. it’s been a while.”
both postulates have their own arguments– do we agree to genres or not? of course, music genres are so much more than simply organization. every one of them comes with a specific history. i saw a question the other day asking if the author of a book really matters after they are long gone and if the work produced by them is what really does. this can easily be referenced to music. there’s a bit of every creator in their creation, and when those creators find like-minded people, they use similar themes in their music. it’s the creation of something brilliant, called a genre! this brings me to the second point~
FORMING HUMAN CONNECTIONS:
because without human interaction, we’d have nothing. it’s another reason why genres exist, and in my opinion, the most prevalent. we form groups consisting of like-minded people. here, we fangirl and gush for hours endlessly about the utter genius of radiohead’s “kid a” album and talk about why the music appeals to us in the first place. i would be lying if i didn’t become friends with people because of the music they listened to, hiding behind the reason that everything has a purpose and people listen to music for a very specific reason.
A) "i'm like, totally obsessed with depressing music and i don't know why."
B) "oh my gosh, YES. have you listened to "teen idle"?
A) MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS IS THE BEST THING TO EVER EXIST!!!!
or maybe something along the lines of:
A) music is like my outlet. i love the positivity it brings, especially more on the folky side!
B) *softly cries* me. TOO. fleet foxes are my jam.
you see the point. human connections are SO vital, and they make me feel so much better about the world. i’ve experienced people befriending one another originally from their taste in music. heck, i know two people who even fell in love with each other! and it seems like things couldn’t get any better… except there’s one teensy problem.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EMO, PUNK, GOTH, AND PEOPLE WHO WORK AT HOT TOPIC:
YES, every one of them is different for those of you scratching your heads. i was a bit confused about it for a while, so i decided to do some researching myself when the wonderful people of reddit came up with this gem. (if you don’t have a reddit,
get it right now! it’s ah-mazing). if you want an over-simplified version, look below, or if you’re more interested, ask me or do some research! i dare you to go down a rabbit hole.
emo: translates to emotional hardcore music for emotional people. it started in the 80s to 90s with four different eras/subcultures (SO MANY SUBCULTURES!!). the songs are crammed with feelings of hurt, pain, love, or anger.
i.e. american football, dead poetic, the usen
punk: aggressive rock, such as green day. not only is it a genre, but it was an actual movement in britain and america in the 1970’s. it grew out of a like-minded rejection for mainstream music and led to the creation of much rebellious and political music.
i.e. joy division, sex pistols (trust me, no one was more surprised than i was), the clash
goth: originating from punk, in the 80s, it emphasizes re-created guitar and heavy bass resulting in an overall, “gloomy” mood. this video explains it pretty nicely:
i.e. the cure, the 69 eyes, siouxsie & the banshees
grunge: personally, i don’t really consider this a genre as much as a style or a “way to be”. but who am i to argue with the masterpiece themselves: nirvana?
there is SO much to know, and i’ll never get bored of learning more. however, as i was learning about each genre, i noticed an obvious division. there were two types of people:
- people who were very emphatic that every subculture of a genre presents a different kind of music.
- the people that don’t care and/or reject this.
looking back on that original subreddit, the original user admitted they thought they were a mix of all of them– they just needed a response when people called them “emo” as such assumptions. now, a lot of people feel this way. i feel this way. it’s the result of human connections gone slightly wrong. people who can’t identify with any of these groups, defeating their very purpose. i don’t know which one to relate to because i’m mixed: on one hand, i listen to a lot of ____ bands, yet i really love ____ band from _____ genre. does music influence pop culture? the way a certain group of people act or dress? because then, i certainly wouldn’t be counted.
for the sake of “fitting in”, these can make us feel more alone. this made me shake my head– how can something matter so much yet not at all when one is encouraged to just be themselves? like i said before, music isn’t just a product. it’s the hopes and dreams and raw emotions of its endower, and everything that inspired it. it’s pop culture.
the music has been made. it’s been boxed into genres and ready for the world to enjoy. its sparked movements. yet it will never be the same as it used to be. if music is the product of experiences circling around its time, then by fact, these experiences cannot be replicated. we can never truly pinpoint a band’s subgenre or say that punk music now is what it used to be. music is constantly changing– for example, panic! at the disco.
i love this band. its music, what it represents. “pray for the wicked” was brilliant though very different from the band’s early music. its early “emo” phases of high school however, it was created by only brendon urie. after all the band members of PANIC! left, it’s music was merely a copy of what it used to be. many of its o.g. fans say that the music doesn’t feel genuine. personally, i appreciate this new cycle of change. things can’t and shouldn’t stay the same– they change, and the music is still pretty awesome if i do say so myself. at the same time, PANIC! represents the end of an era, bringing on the next and final point~
IS SUBCULTURE GOING TO DIE OUT?
i find myself asking this question more and more these past few weeks. not just in music, but everywhere.
- the end of an era: ruins: victorian mansions to dead malls
- the end of an era: the evolution of hot topic
what i love is that music is anarchy and that’s why i love it so much. fluid and free. changing and limitless. however, is it still as important to preserve the history of a certain piece of media? one can come up with a third argument: if everything is always changing, does the intent of the original creation still matter? at the beginning, i would have firmly said yes, but the evidence grows bleaker and bleaker. how can we say that something is temporary without saying that none of this ever mattered?
music is the way millions of people express themselves in a never-changing world. for bookworms, it’s the classics that have shaped the modern works such as dystopian literature. it’s how anything in history came into being.
so we arrive to the question that’s been haunting me since the beginning of the post: what happens next? what do you think?
p.s. excuse me while i jam out to screamo ukelele
p.p.s. music is one of the best things ever~