Electronic music genres, and musical guilty pleasures

Let me make an admission. I like electronic music. Granted, I have to be in the right mood to listen to it, and various bits of it make my head hurt if I’m not in said mood, but it’s an occasional guilty pleasure – in between all that Mozart, Nikhil Banerjee and Simon & Garfunkel.

Now Wikipedia has (are you surprised? I’m not) an extensive list of electronic music genres which, if my counting skills have not been impaired, weighs in at 188 items. Now call me an uneducated Philistine, if you like, but I refuse to believe that there are actually people who can distinguish between these styles. Not when some of them rejoice in names that are as similar as Breakbeat Hardcore and Breakcore. Do you really think people can make out what’s Freeform Hardcore, what is Industrial Hardcore and what is Hardcore Techno? Is there actually a difference between Dark House, Dark Electro, Dark Wave, Darkcore and Darkstep? Let me tell you, I am sceptical. I think every time someone came along with something vaguely different, he (and I’m not being sexist here; electronic music is dominated by men) had to give it a new, preferably cool-sounding name in order to point out that while the rest of the competition was at 116 bpm, he was at 117, yeah, baby! Thus such beautiful and essentially idiotic names as Turntablism, Indietronica, Neurofunk and Bubblegum Trance. If you don’t believe that those are actual names, just go check that list. It’s all about image and hence incredibly pretentious and pointless. So I’m a cynic about the names. I still listen to some of the music, though. I have a particular fondness for Progressive Trance. But not just any old Progressive, man. Some of that stuff is like, so 2005. Not for me. I like Progressive Downbeat Re-retro Uplifting Technocubic Metrofunk, thanks.

While I’m admitting to musical guilty pleasure, I might as well make a passing reference to a Eurodance synthpop technobilly/glam band called The Cartoons, which I discovered through while exploring music under the aegis of Kael. (For those too afraid to click on that link, they take novelty vintage rock-and-roll songs and overlay them with a dance track.) I know, I know. They’re terrible and their music is the auditory equivalent of a terrible, glutinous, nauseating, eye-poppingly sweet synthetic chocolate cake. But sometimes all you want, all you deeply, secretly crave is a terrible, glutinous, nauseating, eye-poppingly sweet synthetic chocolate cake. It’s a terrible burden to bear, but somehow I grit my teeth (ever tried to grit your teeth when they’re glued together? It’s a fine art, I can tell you) and survive. Let me, however, give you a sample of their lyrics, so you can also participate in the goodness:

Ooo eee,ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bang bang
Repeat 8x

I told the witch doctor
I was in love with you
I told the witch doctor
I was in love with you
And then the witch doctor
He told me what to do

He told me

Ooo eee,ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bang bang
Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla bang bang…
Ooo eee ,ooo ah ah ting tang

And then there’s this bit of genius:

Well she’s my hot potato
She’s my home dictator
Got her own sweet flavour
And she ought to know

She’s my girly Bono
She’s my Yoko Ono
She goes ‘Oh no no no’
But I love her so

Now I suspect the last line of the first verse there was something a tad more risque, but it seems to have been toned down, for which I am very glad. It’s bad enough having to deal with idiotic lyrics without having them offend moral sensibilities at the same time.

Well, there you have it. The Cartoons, ladies and gentlemen – long may their synthetic sweetness reign, to bring guilty pleasures to one and all.

3 thoughts on “Electronic music genres, and musical guilty pleasures

  1. CyberShock Media

    Actually, there is a huge difference in most of the genres listed. If you want to know the difference, actually listen to the different genres. Had you actually done that, you probably would no longer be a fan of progressive trance, considering how much better music is out there, in my opinion. The difference between breakbeat hardcore and breakcore for example, is that breakbeat hardcore was started in the early 90’s, as a precursor to happy hardcore, jungle, and drum n’ bass, and usually didn’t contain that bouncy sound with stabs you hear in hardcore so often, or really even the same kinds of synths or vocals really. Breakcore refers to a totally new wave of Hardcore (Bouncy techno) that uses breakbeats over the bouncy beat, with varying portions of the song including the bouncy part or just different drum n’ bass or jungle influenced breaks. The difference between jungle and drum n’ bass is that jungle generally has a more hollow snare than drum n’ bass, more snare in general, often a reggae or hip hop influence, and much of the jungle today is subverted, meaning it usually doesn’t focus on melody, but more on sound and a soothing, trippy, or harsh atmosphere. Drum N’ Bass is generally much more of a solid indentifiable beat, more solid snare, a focus on melody, and often has more or less harsh or overdriven saw bass synths, clearer sung vocals, and less attention on random obnoxious sounds. Freeform hardcore refers to hardcore that doesn’t have to be happy sounding, and is much more original that most happy hardcore, considering most happy hardcore, especially the stuff that is spun by DJs, is basically trance or house sped up to about 165 to 180 bpm, while freeform is mostly made in FL Studio. Industrial Hardcore is usually called Gabba/Gabber, Speedcore, and Terrorcore now, and its basically industrial music sped up to usually at least 165 to 180 bpm or more be more energetic. Hardcore techno is basically pre-happy hardcore, some of it being bouncy and some not, because at that time the bouncy sound wasn’t necessarily a staple of rave music. Any more questions, and feel free to e-mail me. There is a huge difference in most of these genres, but Wikipedia isn’t going to state difference as clear as I have. All I’m saying is that there are a lot of genres worth checking out, and once you have listened to them enough, you will be able to tell the difference. I do because I produce many of them. PLUR

  2. CorruptKitten

    That Cybershock fool doesn’t know what they are talking about. If you really care to do research instead of just judging without listening and going anywhere beyond wikipedia check out some hardcore techno communities online, there are a ton. Hardcoreheadz.com has a community so you can ask questions there are also tracks uploaded so you can listen to the music online without having to download anything. If you are not interested, then you shouldn’t be making such an uninformed block post talking crap unless you have better research to back it.

  3. Grammaboy

    Corrupt Kitten, dont be such a stereotype closeminded hardcore fool. Cybershock was right in every way. What point did you want to make with your post? I just don’t understand how people can be so foolish…

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