The Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres: Volume 3July 15, 2010
After a bit of a delay, the final (?) installment of the Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres has arrived. You’ll notice I threw a question mark in after “final” in an attempt to create some sort of cliffhanger-type moment. We can never really be sure that a one-off series won’t rear its malformed head again, while other ongoing series gather dust on the back burner, filling the blog with dusty and most likely poisonous fumes.
But enough “fucking about” as they say in the Old Country. Here’s our final installment (or is it?) [Ed. – Two volumes would seem to have been plenty…] of the Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres.
Stands for “Intelligent Dance Music,” but has about as much to do with “dance music” as physics lectures have to do with “fun.” Crafted with the same electronics as good old dance music, but with an interest in motivating heads rather than feet, IDM is the eternally bored hipster of electronica, sneering contemptuously at those who enjoy music and its accompanying physical expression.
As tiresome as the DJs who spin it, IDM should really just stop pretending it was ever about the “D” and go out as “IM,” which will link it with something equally tiresome and annoying: AOL. It makes you wonder what sort of “intelligence” is required to jam a bunch of unlistenable electro-wanking into a pair of ill-fitting dance pants and trot it out for others’ approval, which had better fucking not include dancing.
Fans: The roster at Warp Records. People who like to feel “superior.” Masochists. That one guy at every rave that annoys everyone with his pompous “mellow harshing.” Satan.
A reprehensible form of music so far behind the curve that it couldn’t even crack the airwaves until years after the success of Faith No More’s Epic made the form prematurely passé and even more years past the point that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had released anything worth listening to.
Rap Metal (or “Nu Metal”) ushered in a reprehensible form of “New Laddism” (or “Nu Laddism”) in which the combination of rap and metal encouraged suburban white males to double up on their misogyny and indulge their vacuous angst. This led directly to “Nu Rock,” a reprehensible blend of blaring tunelessness, monotonous abuse of the loud/quiet/loud dynamic and DJs as extraneous band members carrying “insta-street cred” cards in their oversized novelty pants.
Note to budding “nu rockers”: You really shouldn’t be so eager to show the world how much you suck in two genres simultaneously. 0 + 0 still equals zero, no matter how much Mom didn’t hug you.
Note to Jonathan Davis and Chester “Chet” Bennington: the glasses fool no one.
Fans: White thugs. “Disaffected” suburban youth who need some “inspiration” to help them power through their struggle-free existences. People who still wear their fitted ballcaps in the “reverse cowgirl” position. Purchasers of Rohypnol and the women who inadvertently love them. Tattooists. There’s no way Satan’s not getting in on this.
A rustic brand of music made by any person who can shell out $15 for a used acoustic guitar and a harmonica and spent most of their adolescence being “misunderstood” and “beat up.” Generally played using unadorned (or “unplugged”) instruments of bygone eras, including (but good lord, certainly not limited to) acoustic guitars, banjos, fiddles, ukuleles, klezmers, harmonicas, mouth harps, moonshine jugs, regular (or “hand”) harps, accordions, mandolins, colanders, washboards, heliotropes, muzzle loaders and cotton gins.
Most folk artists (and their fans) believe their use of outdated instruments to cover Woody Guthrie for the millionth time creates a purer and more honest form of music. This misplaced nostalgia is usually amplified (unelectronically, of course) by their years on the County Fair circuit, leading them to the mistaken belief that outdoor plumbing is superior indoor plumbing and that life would be better if we could all return to a simpler time. Like when women and blacks weren’t allowed to vote or own property.
Fans: Hippies. Luddites. The Amish, most likely. Sheet music salesmen. People who believe public domain = purity. Ruddy-cheeked, guitar-toting assholes who troll for trim on hiking trails and public campgrounds. Beelzebub.
Not so much music as it is a bunch of knob-twiddling basement dwellers with unfortunate hairdos. Its earliest form was usually nothing more than field recordings of telephone lines, smokestacks and ambulance drivers. Then Einsturzende Neubauten showed up and beat the hell out of everything with everything else for upwards of ninety minutes at a time.
Sadly, no one much wanted to trot around the junkyard gathering improvised instruments and tetanus (except for Test Dept.), so budding young industrialists were forced to ape Throbbing Gristle’s throbbing electronica ad infinitum, adding little more than updated wiring and occasional fire code violations.
Suddenly, a force rose out of Chicago, shedding its pale skin and faux accent and gathering every motherfucking guitar in the metropolitan area. Al Jourgensen brought a speed metal sensibility to scene long dominated by sheet metal and field recordings and industrial mutated again, becoming, well, speed metal except with a sequencer or two.
This continued for far longer than it should have, sending budding young industrialists into the waiting arms of coldwave, darkwave and other wave-related genres.
Fans: Masochists. Canadians. Crossover metalheads. Crossover goths. Germans. People who enjoy a good knob twiddling. Ambulance drivers. People who think NIN are industrial. Goths who find the subject matter and usage of black clothing comforting and familiar. Satan is not a fan, although most industrial bands continue to believe he is.
An oddity composed of frustrated metalheads who wish they would be taken as seriously as jazz musicians and frustrated jazz musicians who find themselves in a quasi-metal band thanks to badly worded “drummer wanted” ads. Thanks to these frustrated but complementary components, more time is spent crafting intricate time signatures than actually rocking, leaving most would-be crossover fans nonplussed. (Yep. That is one incredibly lazy “math” joke.)
Fans: People who need a slide rule to quantify their enjoyment of music. Metalheads with sizable jazz collections. Chess club kids who wonder why the chicks always dig “regular” metalheads. Engineering students who make “music genre/influence” flowcharts for fun. That guy who always reminded the teacher to assign homework.
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