The Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres: Part Two

July 9, 2010

In our previous guide we discovered, through the magic of the internet and several broad stereotypes, what various musical genres encompassed. Today it’s more of the same, only with different genre names and stereotypes. The elderly may or may not be abusing Bradypus variegatus. We’ll just have to wait and see. Mainly wait.

So, while the inevitable crawls slowly into view, let’s take a quick, informative look at a few other music genres and their corresponding fans.

It does. Like a motherfucker.

World Music
Any music not produced in the US, Canada or Western Europe, or by Caucasians in general. (For example: Krautrock – not World Music; Drunken gypsy chants – World Music.)

Despite its origins, World Music is mainly sold to white people (Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne) who then co-opt and repackage their watered-down version and sell it to other white people (Vampire Weekend).

Black Americans may recognize this modus operandi as being nearly identical to the repackaging of black rock and roll into friendly, white packages (Pat Boone, Elvis Presley, Fred Durst). The only difference at this point is that the new white purveyors are viewed as “enlightened” rather than as “thieving pricks.”

Fans: White people. White people who think they’re smarter than other white people. White people who think they’re smarter than all other people, regardless of race, which they don’t even think of the world in terms of, because that’s how damn “enlightened” they are. DJs/producers in search of royalty-free samples.

And my vinyl tits run...

Drum n Bass
A perverse offshoot of both hip hop and breakbeats in which the bassline and the drums are programmed by separate producers who are not allowed to contact each other at any time. This results in tracks consisting of a bowel-loosening bassline over which a drumbeat skitters along like cockroaches running from a light source.

Often accompanied live by an MC, or “toaster,” whose impromptu rhyming tends to flow along a melody only he can hear and consists mainly of invitations to dance more or show more enthusiasm, but in a broad Caribbean accent. Inexplicably popular.

Fans: People who have grown tired of “danceable” dance music. Drum n Bass producers/DJs. Radiation-proof insects. Reggae lovers with sizable speed habits.

The scene is nothing without the love. Or the reusable shopping bags.

Drill n Bass
Like Drum n Bass, only utilizing a drum programmer with no previous experience or mechanical aptitude. The bowel-loosening sub-bass remains, but the drumbeats now skitter along like roaches running out of a lit meth foiler.

Fans: People who think drum n bass is too “hummable.” Richard D. James fans. Richard D. James. Hardcore techno fans who are tired of keeping score.

Because it's just not a goth wedding without someone in a Hefty Cinch Sack.

One of the most maligned music genres, Goth was conceived during a wild three-way involving punk, art school and eyeliner. Blacker than punk but lighter than black metal, Goth gave misunderstood teens the world over a whole new way to be misunderstood.

Taking Henry Ford’s mantra of “any color as long as it’s black” to their bleeding hearts, Goths let their (black) freak flags fly, drawing the intense mockery of music critics, peers, teachers and parents. This of course makes the whole genre that much more “real,” despite it being 90% heavily-madeup artifice.

Fans: Misunderstood teens. Emo fans who don’t really understand genre boundaries. Mislabeled emo fans. Eyeliner manufacturers. People looking to shock the easily shocked. Anne Rice fans. People who greatly overestimate black’s “slimming” power. Cleopatra Record execs.

While Nordic Youth #1 struggles with righting his cross, Youth #2 decides to pick another church made from a more flammable material. Like childrens' sleepwear.

Black Metal
Black metal is a “darker than thou” form of metal, usually found in wintry Nordic countries with centuries of organized religion under their belts. It can often be a very demanding genre, in which you really haven’t “made it” as a band until you’ve had to disband the group, thanks to a majority of the members having committed suicide or facing murder charges.

Perhaps the only genre that can be entirely attributed to a Vitamin D deficiency.

Fans: Former metal fans disillusioned by the lack of dead/arrested musicians in regular metal. Un-murdered Nordic youth. That guy you thought was a harmless goth until he celebrated his latest church burning by killing you and having sex with your corpse. Satan.

Minimal producer Sidney Frost declares LP label to be "too busy;" asks for a 40% cyan reduction.

A Germanic-influenced brand of techno deployed by producers with a shortage of equipment/plugins. Has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, perhaps as a backlash to the overblown sounds of trance, or more likely, as a result of there being a very high DJ/fan ratio, which leaves few bedroom producers with the steady income needed to purchase more equipment/plugins.

Or maybe it’s just some sort of Germanic thing, (see also: Krautrock.) in which another genre (in this case, techno) is disassembled and reassembled incorrectly, leaving several “extra” pieces, which are discarded in Germany’s quest to remain both misunderstood and brutally inept.

Fans: Techno fans tired of being asked to enjoy multiple sounds simultaneously. Chin-stroking wallflowers who have mistaken “not much going on” with “artistic integrity.” IDM fans who enjoy an occasional 4/4 beat. The staff at Pitchfork, which is mostly comprised of chin-stroking wallflowers who have mistaken “not much going on” for “artistic integrity.” Painters who believe the real action is the drying time. Satan.

Stay tuned for Part Three, which will explore Folk, Rap Metal, IDM and hopefully, many others.



  1. You’re hurting me with your takedown of Drum n Bass. My friends Sanchez and the Shockers, featured in an early Ear Candy, started as DNB. Alas, they realized that they were never going to even pretend to make money with the genre and stopped mid-stream. Here’s their not updated in years Myspace page. I really wish it featured their remix of Rick Springfield’s “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.” Perhaps I’ll finally upgrade my blog so I can upload and add that track for everyone’s enjoyment.


    • Ulysses, my attack on DnB comes from a place of love. Love for other forms of music. My brother, who now spins minimal, also began his DJing career in DnB, but opted to head for something even more unsellable.

      I guess you can make money with DnB if your name is Goldie. Otherwise, it seems break even at best. I like some DnB, like Aphrodite, which I’ve been told is not “real DnB.” That would probably explain my liking of it.

      You should post that track though. There just aren’t enough DnB remixes of ’80s artists. You do that and I’ll quid pro quo with a Noisia remix of Visage’s Fade to Grey.

  2. CLT, you mesmerize with a rapid fire 1-2 punch. I was barely recuperating from Part One of this fantastic series.

    By far my favorite world music White Person appropriation is easily Dead Can Dance. Lisa Gerard’s voice sends gooey chills up and down my spine. And oddly, seems I’ve heard some people attempt to cast DCD as a goth band also. Have yet to hear anyone pin black metal on them although I’d love to hear them do a black metal commemoration.

    Ulysses, “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night” was truly the finest in 80s MTV splendor…but I believe that was Corey Hart, was it not? Corey Hart of…well I can’t think of the slightest reason to use “fame” and “Corey Hart” in the same sentence. But him.

    • Damn! You are correct. Can’t believe I confused my 80’s, uh, not celebrities, not icons, not superstars, well my 80’s people who had pseudo-careers.

    • AUM, this 1-2 punch comes from me running a word count on what I had typed up and thinking to myself that no one would find this amusing for 1,800 words in a row. Hence the Parts 2 and 3. (3 is on its way. Seriously.)

      DCD have been labelled goth by many, many people. I like some of their stuff, but too much of it makes we want to go outside and get some fresh air, which is not something I feel inclined to do otherwise.

      Bauhaus must have thought they were goth, though. They covered “Severance” when I saw them back in 1999. They’ve also made a serious case for claiming “ethereal” back from the shoegazers.

      They could do black metal. She certainly has the vocals for it, with a falsetto that equals anything Manowar has done.

  3. Nice tour of these styles, CLT. I remember the first time I heard Paul Simon’s “Rythm of the Saints” or whatever the hell it was, and my brother asked if I knew how much he made off the African Drummers, and if he gave them a proper cut and royalties, etc. I wonder about that. I gotta say I have a very fond memory of Simon and Garfunkel, though. I was in an old rowboat fishing with my older brother on a huge, still lake in Minnesota. We had just heard that a close family friend had died in Vietnam, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” came drifting across the lake, and I saw tears streaming down my brother’s face. It was one of those rare times when music is suddenly a sountrack for life. Sorry, CLT. Flashbacks are more frequent lately.

    • I wonder about that, too. It seems like world music pushers of the white variety really want to show the white world how impeccable and open their musical taste is. But they don’t really want to spread the wealth. If a tribesman who makes $140 USD a year wants to lay down some monstrously awesome drumming, he’d obviously be happy getting a $20 and some seed packets from Gurneys. Seems a little bullshit to me, especially with the whole “enlightened” thinking.

      My wholesale bashing of musical genres will never negate what the right tune can do at the right time and place. There’s a power in music that isn’t found in other pop culture arenas. No need to apologize for the flashback, Dan. Just keep what I just said in mind when I start kicking folkies to the curb in Part 3.

  4. […] Capitalist F Lion Tamer: The Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres: Part One and The Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres: Part Two […]

  5. I was beat by my father (around age 13) so bad I fully expected to die. Cries for “help!!” and “police!!” went unanswered. My step-mother did report the incident and I found myself in a counselors office several days later. The counselor referenced the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. To this day, I have to flip the station if I hear that song played.

    I am out of my league in this post, CLT. As always, I sit dutifully and attentive and try to pick up some useful tidbits from Professor Tamer.

    • Or apparently, the wrong tune at the wrong place and time, to follow up my reply to Dan. Of all the things that are terrible about what happened, the worst has to be you being beaten until you were nearly dead. I’d really love to make a Simon & Garfunkel joke right now, but I don’t really feel like negating the power of that paragraph.

      Thanks for sitting attentively, Elizabeth. Most of the info above isn’t useful for much more than some handy material to argue with your local goth/hippie about.

    • I’m alive. Dan’s close family friend is not. It took decades of mourning (soul murder) to achieve closure and purpose. Survival=gratitude. Gratitude=happiness. I’m happy as hell (happier than I have ever been in life…for realz!!). Now, I want to hear that joke.

    • It wasn’t going to be anything great. Something along the lines of “when you thought the day couldn’t get any worse, your savior starts quoting Simon & Garfunkel.”

      It reminds me of a Futurama line, where someone tries to cheer up Fry by saying:

      “Well, we could sing ‘American Pie.'”

      Fry responds, “Go ahead. I deserve it.”

      Not S&G, but right in the same pasty, acoustic neighborhood.

    • Hahaha!! You never fail to make me smile. 🙂

  6. To an 18 year old with little knowledge of music beyond indie, these are my thoughts:

    World music- When I was 16, I used to ride around in my friend’s car as we listened to RELATIVELY ethnic music. As in, M.I.A. and Vampire Weekend. We felt pretty sophisticated (cue eye roll). Then Vampire Weekend recruited one of the Jonas Brothers in a music video and M.I.A. went too far with her political beliefs/everything so I’ve had a bit of a “falling out” with these bands. Anyway, I wholeheartedly believe that world music and music inspired by ethnic music is usually for white suburban teenagers.

    Drum n Bass/Drill n Bass- I saw “Richard D. James” and I immediately began to dislike these genres without actually hearing them. I associate Richard D. James with this boy I used to like. He was great. He introduced me to indie music and he was kind of a hipster. Then he got into raves and ecstasy. All he does is dance to Richard D. James. I am infuriated that he gave up being a sensitive, Jack Kerouac reading boy to be a drugged-out raver with diamond stud earrings (!!!!!!). Unbelievable.

    Goth- WHAT!!! You must be talking about new gothic music, which I’ve never had the pleasure (HA!) to hear. 1980’s goth is very good though. That reminds me, what are your thoughts on Peter Murphy acting in the new Twilight?

    Black metal- I don’t understand why there are so many classifications of metal. It has never made sense to me. Power metal, speed metal, black metal, death metal, gypsy metal, Viking metal, [insert any word that comes to mind] metal. I don’t know how people can tell the difference. Oh, except for Viking metal. That one is easy to spot since it sounds like the Legend of Zelda on steroids.

    • As you progress in your musical knowledge, you’ll come to the conclusion that there is way too much specialization going on, what with a new genre being birthed about every 22 minutes or so (microhouse? glitch? bloghouse?).

      As for world music, there has rarely been a band or track that has not cued a mental eyeroll. Some exceptions are Gogol Bordello and its offshoot, Balkan Beat Box. Most of it seems to take itself too seriously to be enjoyable. It mostly seems to be something to leave laying on the coffee table to impress the easily impressed.

      DnB (both varieties) tends to make my skin crawl and my brain recoil. As was explained in last week’s Heavy Rotation, I’m not really too judgmental as to what sounds I’ll cram into my head, but this stuff seems to hit all the wrong buttons. Small amounts are tolerable but 50-70 minutes of it is incredibly unbearable.

      The older goth music is generally better, but the fans are still the same. And no thanks to Marilyn Manson (Not Really Goth) but in addition to the usual mock-bondage gear and skyscraper hairdos, I now have to attempt to make eye contact with two different iris colors. Tell me that’s not “fucking distracting.”

      And the metal explanations/inspiration comes courtesy of an old roommate of mine, who was an unrepentant metalhead and abused me with hours of fringe metal, all with different genre names but all with the same tendencies to unleash paint-peeling falsettoes and 11-minute epics.

      I haven’t heard Viking metal, but your description sounds intriguing. Might be bad enough to be good.

      Thanks for the excellent comment, Rachel. It’s great to see you again.

    • Two things:

      Re: Murphy & Twilight – I suppose he was offered the part to give the series a bit of street cred and draw in some aging goths. I don’t really care what artistic choices he makes at this point, especially in the acting field, which also means I won’t be hunting it down to see what kind of a job he did.

      Two: Fuck Buttons is slated to open for the Pixies in Las Vegas. As if the gig needed to have anything more going for it. I can’t see how you can possibly miss it now.

  7. “Bowl loosening” is right.

    Every time I hear Drum&Base, Drill&Base, House, and basically any techno-dance, I am struck with the urge to pinch out a loaf and tell some E-tripping losers that I just “dropped” the best (insert their sub-sub dance sub-genre here) CD ever.

    Basically, nearly all this techno-dance shit is completely un-listenable (especially in bulk) unless you have used more E than an entire season of Wheel of Fortune combined. Unless you were dry humping the fire hydrant outside the club before coming in, bring some industrial-class sound deadening ear phones.

    • Here’s the deal with techno (from a techno fan perspective):

      1. Drug users are half the scene and are ruining it from the inside. There are a lot of “weekend e-warriors” out there. The fans who just dig the music are as annoyed with them as anyone outside the scene.

      2. As a longtime fan of techno, I’ve outgrown the urge to convert people. It’s not exactly a small niche, but either you like it or you don’t. There’s really not much middle ground to work with.

      I don’t proselytize on its behalf. I like it so I’ll listen to it. I won’t subject large groups of random strangers to that part of my music collection.

      The same things that people hate about it (the repetitions, the annoying noises, etc.) are the same things I love about it.

      3. Liking techno in no way makes you more enlightened than someone who doesn’t. Replace techno with “x” genre and it still holds true.

      (Sort of related: being gay or bi does not make you more enlightened than straights. I only bring this up because I’ve dealt with it. I’m not sure where this idea comes from, but it seems to be somewhat prevalent. That’s unfortunate.)

    • OK, I will deny this if it comes up again…

      But to be fair, some of this techno shit is kind of listen-able and even catchy (like the crabs) But Sweet Jesus, it runs out of steam really fast! Even most of the aforementioned “decent” tracks start boring me after about a minute, but they go on and on like some high-tech version of a “Give Peace a Chance” sing along.

      My local college station plays this junk for about 9 hrs a day, sacrificing much more worthy music in the process. It pisses me off and I take it out on “innocent” bystanders sometimes. Take no offence.

  8. […] has been stated before, I don’t care much for Drum & Bass. But as was also pointed out, the DnB I do like […]

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