What does that song mean?

Night of the Zombie Genres: They should be dead, so why aren't they?

Posted Mar 2nd 2011, 12:57 by Penguin Pete

Hey, have you heard of that new disco band that's touring? No? How about that great new hair-metal band? No, of course not, because these genres are dead. And they have the sense to stay dead.

Music genres come and go, barring the occasional revival, and that's as it should be. New genres and styles of music keeps culture alive and vibrant; without this, culture stagnates. We have been seeing a rash of indie and alternative music popping up in the 2000s, but so far we still see genres that seem to be clinging to life a little longer than you'd think were welcome.

In one sense, the Internet is to blame for this. See, the Internet is great at historical preservation. For instance, take memes. Consider that "Beam me up Scotty!" is from the '60s Star Trek, "All your base are belong to us!" is from a 1991 video game, and "I for one welcome our (X) overlords!" is from a 1994 episode of The Simpsons... itself an animated TV phenomenon that got its start as bumper shorts for the Tracy Ullman Show... in 1987. And so, the old glut from Usenet and Geocities is side-by-side with today's blogs and Twitter feeds. Why make new culture when we can just keep the old stuff recycling?


Actually, if you go to Europe, disco really never died. It didn't have the backlash it did in the US with Disco Demolition Night. In Europe and many Asian/Middle Eastern countries, disco morphed into electronica, house, techno, and general dance music. Repeatedly, the influence comes back across the Atlantic and is felt in genres like trance and rave music.


Grunge in the US has begotten post-grunge, and basically that's just like grunge. But Grunge, as a genre, was pretty much born and died with Kurt Cobain. Look at the backlash against groups like Nickelback. The thing is, (post) grunge hasn't done a thing in 20 years, still stuck in a rut.


There's a tight, core base of cult fans who will never give up nu-metal, and then there's everybody else who reflexively clenches their fist at the mention of the term. Who thought that crossing rap and metal was a good idea in the first place? We keep hearing that nu-metal is dead. Yet groups like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park are still out there touring and cranking out albums like it was 1996.

Boy bands

Literally a genre whose name prohibits aging well. The Backstreet Boys just put out another album in 2009, and are still touring strong. Brian Littrell, front-boy for the group, is 36 years old at this time. Hey, at what point can you no longer call yourself a "boy"? Girl groups don't do this; the Spice Girls knocked it off in 2000, except for a brief reunion in 2008, that was played for the nostalgic event that it was.

Heavy metal

The descendants of metal, such as black, death, and thrash, are still going like blazes in the 2010s, particularly in Scandinavia where they're a national obsession. We'll admit, this metal thing can still produce something interesting, but to steal a phrase from Frank Zappa, it's not dead... but it's starting to smell funny.

Insane Clown Posse

They get a whole genre to themselves. We've never quite seen a phenomenon like the Juggalos before, these unholy mixtures of wrestling, rap, and circus. It's kind of weird, because ICP has a cult following that is a bit too insulated and secretive for just any culture. It's starting to get to be like the Skull and Bones Society out there in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois. If you try to infiltrate the group and they catch you, they'll pour Faygo down your throat to test you. Yet they're still making news. We're starting to see second-generation Juggalos here. How is this happening?


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