The idea of genre in music — especially pop music — is pretty much meaningless these days (assuming it ever had meaning). For some time now the order of the day has been to blur, erase, and ignore boundaries between types of music that previously had been somewhat compartmentalized. Hence, Kanye West can team with Daft Punk, Johnny Cash covers Nine Inch Nails, and Beck simply exists.
I’ve been sifting through my mp3 collection lately (more on that later) and have been vastly entertained by what’s in the “genre” fields of them. This is a field I’ve never touched, so Someone Else described all these.
First, here are all the genres represented in my collection:
|alternative (pop/rock)||freak-folk||pop underground|
|alternrock||free rock||pop vocal|
|art rock||garage rock||progressive (rock)|
|avantgarde||geek rock||progressive metal|
|beat||general folk||psychedelic (rock)|
|bluegrass||general world||pub rock|
|booty bass||gothic (rock)||r&b|
|chamber fusion||horror rock||rockabilly|
|christian gangsta rap||indie electronic||ska|
|christmas||indie folk||slash records|
|classic pop/rock||industrial||slow jam|
|country (rock)||j-pop||space age pop|
|covers||kbd punk||surf instumental|
|default||lo-fi||techno punk rock|
|dictionaraoke||lounge||this van’s a rockin’|
|disco||mashup||tin works catalog|
|dsp; electronica||modern classical||twee|
|easy listening||mutant disco||unclassifiable|
|electronic j-pop||neo-psychedelia||v2 records|
|electronica||new age||vocal jazz|
|electropop||new wave||weird punk|
|eli’s recordings||noise (rock)||witch candy pop|
Some of them are obviously joke categories (“this van’s a rockin'”), and some are obviously in certain categories as jokes (Beck as “Christian Gangsta Rap”).
Here’s an example of some bands that are “Punk”: Apples in Stereo, Arcade Fire, Bloc Party, Decemberists, Happy Mondays, INXS, John Vanderslice, Lightning Seeds, Radiohead, Robbie Williams, The The, They Might Be Giants, Underworld.
(Nirvana’s in there as “Grunge”, even though I was once told in a Napster chat room that they invented punk rock. When this individual was given concrete evidence that this was not the case, he corrected himself by saying that punk rock was relatively unknown until they came along. Kids!)
Evan and Jaron, who are about as commercial pop as you can get, are marked “Slow Jam”. Big Audio Dynamite and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are “Retro”, which I guess might be true these days. The “Porn Groove” category belongs to Scissor Sisters (sure) and Goldenboy (no). Corey Hart and the Cutting Crew were part of a New Wave of…something. Trent Reznor’s vocals have apparently been removed from the “Instrumental Rock” album Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. Jonathan Coulton’s “Mandelbrot Set”, a tribute to fractal mathematics. Geek rock? Nope, “Folk”. I’ve got four songs tagged “Celtic”:
The Alarm – Sixty-Eight Guns
Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy
Peter Godwin – Images of Heaven
Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plan Pour Moi
all of which came out in 1996, according to the “Year” field. However, it’s been suspected that these songs were sabotaged by nefarious persons with a dark agenda.
As you can imagine, the bulk of my music is tagged with the labels that are the vaguest: Rock, Alternative, Pop, and Other. Also: Unknown. In addition, three tracks I own are not just unclassified, they’re apparently unclassifiable!
On the other hand, every single track tagged “Beck-like” is by Beck. I can’t argue with that, I suppose.