There are an awful lot of musical genres in the world, but are they A) a useful tool designed to guide people towards a band or artist that they will like; B) a constrictive framework that means bands get tagged with a label that they cannot shake off regardless of how much they try; or C) an outdated irrelevance that helps no one because of the sheer volume of different genres on offer?
Here’s my opinion, and please do feel free to disagree with me in the comments section.
For 5 years between 2003 and 2008 I was a DJ (in the loosest sense of the word) in several different drinking establishments throughout Aberystwyth. I played largely alternative music – rock, punk, ska, metal etc. – but I also worked every Friday night in a dingy (and very sticky) night club called Y Bae (or The Bay for those who do not live in Wales). This, unfortunately, meant I had to dabble in the dark arts, or “popular music” as it is also known. I played all sorts of music from Girls Aloud to Cradle Of Filth. Requests are an unavoidable hazard of the job and quite often, rather than asking for a particular track or artist, the customer would ask for a whole genre of music. This led to the night when someone asked me for “Funky House”. I still to this day have no idea what Funky House is. I can’t name an act that fits into this genre, but the most ridiculous thing about the whole situation was neither could the guy making the request. Turns out in the end he wanted something like Pendulum which I am fairly sure is classed as Drum and Bass, but who even knows any more and this is where the problem lies. There are so many different genres that, for the most part, people don’t know what they mean, and as such they are of little help at all.