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Posted by6 days ago
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Posted by17 hours ago

I would nominate "Black Hole Sun"

despite not being a Metal song, I would argue this is heavier than any & every chart-topping hit that came out of the "Hair Metal" era (and I'm including Guns 'n Roses in there as well). According to wiki, Black Hole Sun spent seven weeks at number one and finished as the number-one track of 1994 (which is crazy considering how dark & heavy it is).

I couldn't imagine a song like this gaining traction in the most mainstream of music charts in any era other than the 90's....the 90's was just built different I guess.

Posted by18 hours ago

This is stems from a discussion about metal with a friend but really extends to all genres. We both like metal, but I am woefully under-educated when it comes to sub-genres within metal, which came up when the metal background playlist I'd put on jumped from Trivium to The Hü to Metallica to Powerwolf to Sundrowned. My friend argued it was tonal whiplash to jump between so many different types of metal, whereas in my brain it's all just metal - I can obviously see there are differences between the music, in the style of vocals, the other instruments in play and the general tone, but I hadn't really considered that they were separated areas of metal, or that individual genre names really exist.

I was introduced to a lot of labels here (I have been informed that the bands above are metalcore, folk metal, thrash metal, power metal and post-metal respectively, though I obviously don't know for certain if that's right) but I was most confused with the distinctions for early Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, where they were described as "just metal" and more of a sub-genre to rock at that point. This brings up my main question for you guys - Where does the distinction between a sub-genre and a new genre in it's own right begin? In a similar vein, Are there certain criteria that a sub-genre has to reach before it is classed as it's own full genre?

Our own discussion on this was... Varied, to say the least. We had pretty solidly agreed that metal was distinct enough from rock to be it's own genre, and the wide array of sub-genres of metal itself seems to back this up, until we opened our discussion up to a couple of other friends who them brought up that apparently there is a dilemma within the genres of rock and metal when it comes to bands like AC/DC and Guns n Roses, where they can be seen as either genre, which then blurs the line separating them. The discussion them spilled over into other genres - is Trap a district genre of its own, or is it a sub-genre of Hip-hop? Within the wide umbrella term of electronic music, it's easy to see that (for example) House and Drum & Bass are very different, but are they sub-genres of Electronic music as a genre, or are they distinct enough to be their own genres?

The biggest confusion came when asking how does pop music fit into this? When everything from The Beatles to Katy Perry is classed as pop music, what does that make the genre as a whole? A theory was posited that whatever is popular at the time is "pop" music, but a genre then gets retroactively applied once their style of pop is no longer the popular style, though I'm not quite certain of it's validity.

Finally, a question of my own - How necessary is sub-genre specificity to the music itself, and the enjoyment of it? I feel it is obviously possible to enjoy music without giving it a specific label, but learning to classify music seems to simultaneously lead to ease of exploration and gatekeeping between genres.

As an aside, I'd like to make it very clear that I know next to nothing about how to classify different metal sub-genres, so if I've mislabeled anything I can only apologise. I am more than happy to be educated on mistakes and/or recommended better examples of any genre I've listed or any others.

Posted by15 hours ago

As I'm reading about music history, the legacy of punk music seems to loom large. On one hand, what we primarily associate with punk music is a period in the mid-to-late seventies. Bands like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash are classic examples. But then, there's a lot of musical movements that are seen as predecessors, reactions, subgenres, and offshoots to punk.

And punk has a lot of different meanings and connotations. Whether it be tearing down the foundations of the old, bringing things back to classic rock n' roll but faster, having a DIY spirit, and so on.

  • There's genres like Garage Rock and Protopunk which were considered predecessors in some sense. Somewhat similar/adjacent genres like pub rock. Influences from Glam Rock.

  • The Velvet Underground is sometimes said to be "the first alternative band", setting in place many subsequent genres that would be under the alternative label.

  • After punk, there's Post-Punk, New Wave, Hardcore, Alternative Rock, Grunge, Emo, Indie, and so on. There's just this wide umbrella that's associated with punk when we look back.

Is there an excessive focus on linking genres to punk?

To be clear, my focus isn't a "true punk is this, these artists are/aren't punk". But that genres labels can feel really big, amorphous, and hard to understand as time goes on.

Then again, maybe there's a reason why punk seems to have such influence; creative endeavors in general require us to deal with the past and carve out something new. And this lines up with a number of definitions of punk.

Posted by11 hours ago

Most Christian music sucks. Every time a Christian friend plays Hillsong in their car, I tell them to shut it off. Sometimes they ask me if their religion offends me, and my reply always is, "No it's not Christianity that offends me, it's your music."

I know several evangelical Christians that agree with me. I can only stand so much music in the key of C that has no sense of progress. And why are all these worship bands obsessed with U2?

What's funny is that Christians can actually be pretty good when they're not making devotional music. One of my favourite bands, Starflyer 59, is Christian. They've made great music for decades. It's when Christians start singing about the Lord that everything falls of the rails.

It's not as though good devotional music has never existed. Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, and the Louvin Brothers did a good job. Mahalia Jackson's entire career was gospel. Joan Baez sang some good Christian songs. Nowadays, good devotional music is few and far between.

However, I recently heard Natalie Bergman's album "Mercy". Released last year, I think it's an incredible hidden gem and should have been on critics' top 10 lists. It's Christian devotional music that's actually good.

Why is this? I think it comes down to a few factors.

Natalie isn't just singing about how great Jesus is, she's wrestling with the fact her dad was killed by a drunk driver. Devotional music therefore becomes a vehicle to confront the reality of death.

For example, the first three lines in the song "Shine Your Light on Me":

Come on shine your light on me sweet Jesus

I've been walking in shadows


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