Top 10 inarguably terrible music genres
We've all been there.You find yourself at a party finding your face gurned into a deformed pumpkin as it bears witness to a bunch of people dancing to music so heinous it ought to be banned by the Geneva Convention. "It's Dubstep," they'll peep, "It's everything that's great about music right now."* Brimming with more scepticism than a James Randi convention, you clamour for a bunker in which your own music collection is lowered into to, wait until the plague flushes through the intertubes. Once the toxicity fades proper music is allowed to flourish once again.
Luckily, when it comes to these musical aberrations, our consensus realities are in agreement for about as long as a lunchbreak at a Student Union committee meeting ("Lunch is oppressive, I propose that we serve organic vegan lunch from now on" implore the Communists for Disabled Whales faction) and it only takes a few months (or days in this day and age) to initiate a ritual cleansing of any unpalatable music style. So what are the top 10 boils on the arse of music that, when left untreated and ignored thankfully vanished of their own accord?
*This has probably never happened ever.--
10. Brostep (nee: dubstep)
Yeah, I know, it's like, here. But brostep will walk off into a amphetamine-neon sunset and keel over in a seizure soon enough. It'll be remembered as the 2010s equivalent of ostentatious shoulder pads and hypercolour t-shirts. The poster child of brostep, Sonny "Skrillex" Moore fashions himself (quite literally) like some sort of trend-leech. He asked to join screamo band From First To Last in 2004 as vocalist and keyboardist just as their black-dye star was rising. He repeatedly told his dear diary his teen angst had a body count for a couple of years only to cruelly (or is that simply 'unusually') abandon the skinny-jean gravy train to make music that sounds like breaking glass inside the holodeck of the Starship Enterprise while startled cyborg reptillians make love on some kind of mechanised bed. [That sounds awesome. - Ed.] I mean, how many 'covers' of past pop songs can you 'augment' (see below) until you exhaust the stockpile? As many until your friends hate you for dragging them out of a party in its death throes to play amateur VJ on YouTube? I mean, come on man, by that time rage is on too.
The most apt description of the junkie fuelled rise and fall of disco was courtesy of (the golden-era of) The Simpsons. Bit-part stereotype and part-time Leo Sayer look-alike Disco Stu, bedecked in flares and mini 'fro told franchise-shopping Marge Simpson that his disco dancing school was a solid investment, inquiring if she knew that "disco record sales went up 400 percent in 1976?" He thrust his finger to the sky, in a worrying and saddening act of defiance against thirty years of progress and most likely Joy Division.
Drenched in syrupy strings and the offcuts that Parliament-Funkadelic would probably deem "not funk enough" combined to lay the fundament of disco, emblematic of now very dead cultural trends of the late 70s. The period saw three falsetto obsessed Anglo-Australians climb the charts and stay there for most of disco's heyday. A German producer by the name of Frank Farian cobbled together three African women and a groovy bassy dude to sing Anglicised tracks about corrupt Russian clergymen (who turn out to be borderline unkillable.) If you want to hear disco now, just fire up any Daft Punk or Justice track and concentrate on the three or so seconds that are actually listenable. The entire clusterfuck of logic eventually imploded once ELO frontman/producer Jeff Lynne figured out his 1979 'Discovery' album was being derided as "Disco, very" in the press and we all never mentioned the genre again. Well, until 1981, anyway:
8. Spice Girls Clones
If you even glance at Twitter once every three weeks, invariably you'll see some kind of teen tweet rampage propelling yet another bollocking One Direction topic to trend at number one. Worldwide. But where's the Girl Power? (I still don't know what that's meant to be.) There was a mad rush to capitalise on the Spice Girls' sprinkling of British (and imported from foreign sources) Spice down from a three-ton shaker held aloft by helicopter. The alchemical wunderkinds that occupy Stock, Aiken and Waterman Alley rushed through almost hundreds of female pop vocal groups to vie for our already fractured attention (I mean, back then you could only Yahoo! the weather so many times in one day before someone called through to knock out your dial-up .) B*witched, Destiny's Child, TLC, Sugababes, All Saints, Girls Aloud and Atomic Kitten (why isn't that the name of a death metal band?) jostled for spins on pop radiowaves in the late 1990s, harmonising rather inoffensively about friendship, boys and the confused states of temporality versus intimacy: If you want my future/forget my past/if you wanna get with me/better make it last, Spices Sporty and Baby semi-rapped on 'Wannabe.'
If A&R failed to manufacture any of that pop pizzazz, we'd conduct a market research campaign, televise it and call it "reality TV." Who remembers the Australian "Popstars" winners Bardot? I sure as shit don't. And neither do you. Thankfully like all great Western institutions, we outsourced girl groups to the East, where they are now 75% more kawaii and run twice as efficiently:
7. Save-the-world vanity pop groups
There's been about twenty thousand save-the-world vanity groups formed and summarily disbanded, mostly through the 80s because the world, they figured, really needed saving. Of course, they mostly patronised Russians and Ethiopians wondering if they knew it was Christmas or if they loved their children too (well, that's mostly Sting's fault.) Just who are they, this semi-benevolent cabal of self-absorbed pop and rock artists anyway? Well the ringmaster of this rich folk backslapping procession is none other than Bob Geldof, leader of the Boomtown Rats, hater of Mondays and bedraggled millionaire who cares about the world. A lot.
He cobbled together every god damn artist active in 1984 (almost literally) recording 'Do They Know it's Christmas?' ahead of the Live Aid concert to raise funds for a then current Ethiopian famine. Far from filling the bellies of the desperately needy, this only really served to spawn...even more charity supergroups. In 1985 alone saw the creation of Deep End, a The Who-Pink Floyd collaboration; USA For Africa; Hermanos, a Latin effort to help raise money for sub-Saharan Africa; the Yugoslav Rock Mission; Artists Against Apartheid and the heavy metal flavoured Hear N' Aid helmed by the late, great Ronnie James Dio. I guess we figured we'd give the needy our money regardless if Phil Collins told us to in 1986. Then again, you can convince Phil Collins to take up pretty much any cause you want, as UK comedian and director Chris Morris demonstrated in his ultra-subversive news parody, Brass Eye here:
6. Eurodance (and Eurobeat)
In the 1990s it was as if technology caught up with Europe and they intended to reclaim their place at the forefront of the world music scene. The Berlin Wall fell and an optimism hummed across the European Economic Community. They could now sell all this shit to the Eastern Bloc! I mean they'd never even heard of, like ham and cheese or...drum machines for instance. Lots and lots of drum machines.
Got a decent (American) flamenco act? Get Boney M producer Frank Farian (this guy sure gets around) on the case and add a drum machine.
Do you have two straight laced Spanish dudes in suits surrounded by colourblind women that like to line dance? Add a drum machine.
Are you Tom Jones and your sales of Pussycat, Pussycat are flagging? Add a drum machine.
You get the picture. Then again, one song escaped the inviolable dungeon of repressed memory (maybe two), but let's be honest - it's courtesy of the Butabi Brothers and without their charmingly overeager naivete, a certain Mr. Haddaway would not have been able to retire to his chalet in Austria having conquered the globe ever so briefly in 1998.
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