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 Genres & Styles

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PostSubject: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:09

study
The array of '80s musical styles may be exhaustive, but the ones most closely tied to the era include new wave, college rock, synth pop, hair metal and early hip-hop. Explore the original styles introduced during the decade as well as the unique spin '80s artists gave to existing genres.

Profile of the Power Ballad, an Essential '80s Music Form
One of the most recognizable song forms of the '80s, the bombastic power ballad has built a powerful legacy over the years. Though far less common following its peak in the late '80s, the form has never quite faded away, remaining a significant hybrid form combining hard rock and commercial pop music.

Roots Rock - Profile of '80s Genre Roots Rock
A number of musicians and music lovers agreed that by the mid-'80s, a great deal of rock and roll's roots in country, blues and R&B had been lost amidst the slick, modern sounds of new wave, pop metal and other pop styles that seemed too modern for their own good. Such traditionalists found a distinctive if small niche in roots rock.

Arena Rock - Profile of Mainstream '80s Genre Arena Rock
Without arena rock, '80s music would have been a far different creature, and despite common attitudes to the contrary, probably not for the better. Despite its commercial nature, the '80s blend of progressive rock, radio-friendly pop/rock with huge hooks, and hard rock became a deserved staple of the decade's musical menu.

Soft Rock Profile
The golden age of soft rock came during the mid to late '70s, when the singer-songwriter movement and the propensity of country-rock and folk-rock blends combined to forge a gentle pop/rock sound popular among mainstream music fans. However, this trend also extended successfully into the first few years of the '80s.

Post-Punk - Profile of the Vital, Challenging '80s Music Genre of Post
In simplest terms, post-punk music is rock music of the late '70s and early '80s that put an innovative spin on the often simplistic punk rock that preceded it. However, artists of this movement generally lean far closer toward the avant garde than the mainstream pop favored in related genres like new wave and even much college rock.

Heartland Rock Profile
Heartland rock has exerted its influence on subsequent decades and certainly drew from previous rock and country styles, but it hit its peak during the '80s as a viable mainstream form.

Synth Pop Profile
As a unique and distinct subgenre of new wave, synth pop was quite a force in mainstream and underground pop music during the first half of the '80s. It helped standardize the use of synthesizers across genres as well, among its several influences on pop music moving forward.
College Rock: Alternative When Alternative Wasn’t… Commercial
College rock is a blanket term used to refer to early alternative music of the '80s that found its radio home on college stations with an eclectic, independent philosophy. Though much of the music was inspired by punk rock, only a fraction of it sounded much like that aggressive, revolutionary format.

Hair Metal
This hard rock subgenre originated in the '80s and became emblematic of the decade, a hedonistic celebration of partytime USA. Though the music started in the underground, it quickly embraced the mainstream, buffing the grit of heavy metal to a slick sheen.

New Wave, the Decade's First Original Genre
No matter how hard we try, decades don't have clean cut-off points between them that usher certain styles into one era or the other. Therefore, much of the music made in the '70s, '60s and even the '50s found itself still kicking in some form or another as the '80s began. Nonetheless, perhaps new wave's blend of punk, power pop, mainstream rock and disco constituted the first fresh genre to emerge in the Reagan Era. Skinny ties and all, this form announced the beginning of something new.

Gangsta Rap
Here's a brief profile of the rap subgenre that originated in the mid-'80s and has always been the most controversial type of rap music.

New Wave of British Heavy Metal
This was one of the most popular brands of heavy metal in the early '80s, when leather-clad bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden ruled the day.

Thrash Metal
This subgenre of heavy metal was born in the '80s and thrust eventually into the mainstream by such bands as Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer.
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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:11

What a Face
Profile of the Power Ballad, an Essential '80s Music Form
What a Face

Overview:
Even if some music critics and self-styled connoisseurs persist in contending that '80s music introduced little if any original, valuable content to the musical landscape, the era perfected one song style beyond the reach of practically any argument. An outgrowth of '70s stadium rock and a move toward boosting the popularity of hard rock, the '80s power ballad was all about maximizing appeal. To do so, it combined the thundering guitars and drums of hard rock with the keyboards, orchestration and tender lyrics of soft rock, finding its most perfect vessels in the popular '80s styles arena rock and pop metal.

Description:
In general terms, the characteristics of a power ballad are explained quite effectively in the two-word name. They're either sentimental ballads with occasional shifts into overdrive or loud rockers slowed and quieted by romantic yearning, depending on how you look at it. At any rate, power ballads seamlessly combine elements of hard rock (guitar solos, strong vocals and theatricality) with a trend toward acoustic guitars, keyboards, reduced aggression, and subdued riffage. Although hard rock bands are the most common interpreters of the form, various pop, rock and even country artists have been known to dabble.

Origins:
It would be silly to argue that the power ballad absolutely did not exist prior to the '80s, but most proto-PBs contained only one or two elements of the songs that brought both the house and house lights down a decade or so later. So, if Bad Company's "Shooting Star," Boston's "More Than a Feeling," and the Scorpions' "No One Like You" qualify as vital '70s contributors to the style, they usually had a little trouble, one way or the other, balancing the "power" and "ballad" elements so perfectly blended later by artists like Journey, Bon Jovi, Heart and even Guns N' Roses on at least one occasion.

Arena Rock - the Early Years:
Circa 1980, bands that sported the label heavy metal generally stayed true to the connotations of those words, with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Metallica leading the way in that direction. Still, even if the power ballad found only sporadic favor among hard rock artists during the first years of the decade, another wildly popular genre, the more pop-oriented style of arena rock, became the testing ground for the alternately tender and tough sound that came to define the decade. Groups like Foreigner, REO Speedwagon and Styx even bought a few extra years of success by skillfully applying this technique.

Peak of the Power Ballad - Pop Metal:
By the time early pop metal bands began to show up on the pop charts, artists like Def Leppard, Night Ranger and Bon Jovi had begun to master the power ballad, leading to lengthy careers as major hard rock/arena/pop draws. But the form didn't become inescapable until the hair metal craze of the latter half of the '80s, during which almost every band was compelled to include at least one or two ballads to ensure decent record sales. Once Slaughter, Skid Row and Poison established their dominance, the power ballad had nearly run its course, and a certain blandness became all too commonplace.

Decline of the Power Ballad:
The rise of alternative music during the early '90s sounded warning bells for the power ballad that nearly caused the form's extinction. Of course, much of that trend stemmed from Nirvana, which led the way for a new style of hard rock - grunge - that explored darker subject matter and non-commercial impulses. Therefore, even '90s tunes that displayed some traits of the power ballad, perhaps Radiohead's "Creep" or Better Than Ezra's "Heaven," took edgy or mysterious lyrical and musical turns that followed few if any of the rules established by the '80s power ballad. Thus, the song style went on unintentional hiatus.

Survival & Persistence:
If the '90s helped launch a temporary Dark Ages for the power ballad (and traditional hard rock, for that matter), the new millennium has been considerably kinder to '80s-styled musical strains. With the revival of cultural credibility for all things '80s (which has sometimes ranged into parody), music fans find themselves far more receptive to both the classic ballads and fresh takes on the form. The commercial viability of emo and punk pop, for example, occasionally borrows from the spirit if not the sound of '80s melodic rock ballads. So watch out for the return of lighters held high anytime now.

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:13

What a Face
Roots Rock - Profile of Back to Basics '80s Movement Roots Rock
What a Face

Catalysts & Antecedents:
During the first half of the '80s, much pop and rock music had moved as far away as possible from the fusion of blues, country and R&B that birthed rock and roll a quarter-century before. With the increased use of synthesizers and an unprecedented, MTV-inspired focus on image, pop/rock had become glitzy, slick and ultra-polished, all developments that served to homogenize the work of many artists. A band of few resisted this process, insisting upon a stripped-down, guitar-oriented approach that emphasized the raw energy and emotion of blues, country, folk and early rock and roll above all else.

A College Rock Niche:
The earliest roots rock artists emerged from the Southern California punk rock scene, using that loosely connected movement as a practice ground for exploring retro rock stylings. Groups such as the Beat Farmers, the Blasters and Los Lobos certainly didn't seem to fit into the general flow of contemporary music, so they found a significant college rock audience, perhaps the one format that welcomed, instead of bristled at, eclecticism. Of course, this meant that the music stood little chance of receiving widespread attention, which was a sacrifice most artists didn't mind making to pay tribute to rock's beginnings.

Preserving the Vital Thread of Eclecticism:
Simplifying labels have always been common in pop music, as people try to compartmentalize artists and better understand their impulses and aims. But that's what's so wonderful and fully necessary about pioneering roots rock artists from Lone Justice to the Del Fuegos to Green on Red: it's difficult to nearly impossible to describe their music simply or easily according to categories. That complexity served as a defiant announcement that music cannot be utterly commodified no matter how much the music industry machine may want it to be so.

Continuing Influence of Roots Rock - A Gift That Keeps on Giving:
Although the active roots rock movement had pretty much dried up by the early '90s, the ongoing renegade urge to celebrate retro music draws heavily from the trails blazed by the previous decade's roots rockers. Various forms of alternative music have served as havens for bluesy country rockers, soulful, rocking folkies and everyone in between, most notably in movements such as alternative country and even more than a few strands of hip indie rock. Ultimately, we have '80s roots rock pioneers to thank in a big way for an ever-changing, constantly enriched musical landscape.

Other Key Roots Rock Artists of the '80s:
Steve Earle
Jason & the Scorchers
BoDeans
Drivin' N' Cryin'
Georgia Satellites
The Long Ryders
Dash Rip Rock
Gun Club
James McMurtry

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:14

What a Face
Arena Rock - Profile of Mainstream '80s Genre Arena Rock
What a Face

Arena Rock Right at Home in the '80s:
It could certainly be argued that the classic era for the style of mainstream rock music known as arena or stadium rock was the latter half of the '70s, when larger than life bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen, as well as understated, even anonymous acts like Boston and Foreigner ruled the rock airwaves and concert box office receipts. However, the '80s may well be the decade that squeezed the absolute maximum commercial potential out of arena rock, starting with the blending of arena rock and new wave common at the start of the '80s and reaching its pinnacle with the specialized, wildly popular strain of pop metal.

A Transitional Period:
Although the '70s certainly had its share of big, sweeping stadium rock, the combined influences of hard rock and progressive rock that would define '80s superstars like Journey, Foreigner and Styx remained relatively separate in the times of Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Thin Lizzy. The other secret of '80s bona fide arena rock probably lies in the increasingly catchy hooks that drove the boost of mainstream commercialism that took place within the genre by 1980. The magic of the decade's turning seemed to launch a new level of lighters aloft, spandex, and the marriage of guitar and keyboards.

Journey Through the '80s - the First Half:
Former, struggling progressive rock bands typified by Journey were perhaps the most profound beneficiaries of the streamlining and hybridization of arena rock, as an increased pop aesthetic paved the way for bombastic singers from Steve Perry to Dennis DeYoung to rise to the top of the charts. Additionally, more than ever, bands like Canada's Loverboy freely used elements of new wave keyboards to dress up hard rock guitars and, especially, to perfect the important '80s art of the power ballad. Songs like "Open Arms," "Eye of the Tiger," and even "Caught Up in You" exemplified this initial arena rock sound.

Heavy Metal Hijacking Yields Pop Metal Machine:
During the '70s and throughout much of the first half of the '80s, heavy metal remained distinct from stadium rock, wallowing in menace and aggression far more often than it played the romance card. But following the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, that all began to change, kick-started by the glam rock-influenced Def Leppard, a genuine hard rock band that crossed over successfully and almost effortlessly into polished arena rock. The rise to superstardom of Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and Poison seems positively inevitable in retrospect, given the flashy yet straightforward concoction hatched by hair metal.

The Late '80s Death Knell:
To say the least, things got a bit out of hand as the '80s drew to a close, as just about every '70s band imaginable from Kiss to Aerosmith to Bad Company manufactured significant resurgences by combining the mainstream hard rock approach of the early '80s with the flair of pop metal to take advantage of arena rock's powerful dominion over a daunting percentage of successful pop music of the era. This undoubtedly increased the form's vulnerability, and the aggressive, greasy hard rock of Guns N' Roses and even quasi-hair metal acts like Skid Row foreshadowed the changing of the guard to come in '90s grunge.

Key Arena Rock Artists & Albums Across the '80s:
Loverboy - Loverboy (1980)
Journey - Escape (1981)
Asia - Asia (1982)
Def Leppard - Pyromania (1983)
Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry (1984)
Night Ranger - Midnight Madness (1985)
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986)
Whitesnake - Whitesnake (1987)
Cheap Trick - Lap of Luxury (1988)
Skid Row - Skid Row (1989)

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:16

Soft Rock - Profile of the Mellow, Romantic Sounds of the '70s and Early '80s


Overview:
Although soft rock never officially died and the term continues to maintain general application to various kinds of mellow, light rock still today, the style thrived in its purest form for about 10 years spanning most of the '70s and the early years of the '80s. Characterized by gentle, unimposing arrangements and lyrics focusing on love and romance, this music was typically unoffensive enough to gain favor among the parents of hard rock fans or serve as a generally pleasant soundtrack at retail establishments during shopping trips. Though sometimes regarded with disdain, soft rock also harbored its share of quality.

Soft Rock's '70s Emergence:
Following the chaotic political climate and radical musical experimentation of the late '60s, a niche sprung ready to be filled by the quiet, confessional sounds of the growing singer-songwriter movement. Much of the resulting music relied heavily on acoustic guitars, piano and soft layers of orchestral instrumentation, with heartfelt lyrics sung in calming, melodic tones. Artists like James Taylor, America, Bread and Firefall exemplified the accessible sound of soft rock and turned the form into one of the most popular and accepted rock music styles of all time.

Dismissal & Backlash in Some Circles:
For "serious" rock fans, the soothing sounds of soft rock seemed overly sentimental and watered down, sidestepping controversy and a distinctive voice for maximum mainstream appeal. This criticism sometimes held weight but more often served as a way of segregating the largely white, middle-class proponents of the form from fans of hard rock, soul, funk, punk and other edgier, earthier '70s styles. In fact, terms like yacht rock and corporate rock began to enjoy growing usage as a way of marginalizing the often privileged, clean-cut types presumed to be the prevailing audience of soft rock.

Soft Rock Evolves into Adult Contemporary as the New Decade Advances:
The unique sound of soft rock persisted into the early '80s, but before long the blend of pop, rock, country and folk that had defined the form became less common, replaced often by glossy pop music with very little if any resemblance to rock. Whitney Houston, Cher and Luther Vandross generated considerable '80s success of this type, while latter-day soft rock artists like Ambrosia, Little River Band, Toto, and Kenny Loggins began to fade somewhat or at least change significantly with the times by the mid-'80s.

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:17

Post-Punk - Profile of the Vital, Challenging '80s Music Genre of Post-Punk


Overview:
Among music writers, terms get thrown around sometimes without full consideration of what they mean or why they mean what they do. This is probably a relatively common problem for post-punk, the sweeping, generalized form of '80s early alternative rock that can be overwhelming to grasp upon first glance. However, the simplest and most precise way to summarize this form, I think, is to focus first on the name, which suggests music that followed the punk rock explosion of the mid-'70s in America and 1977, more famously, in England. But like any creative movement, it takes time for the bread to rise.

Early Years:
That, of course, is where the '80s come in. To be sure, there was certainly some '70s music that qualifies as post-punk both on a timeline as well as in terms of the second, more important part of the genre's definition: generally experimental, strange and challenging interpretation of the basic aggressive three-chord anger of punk. Therefore, while the Knack were a little punky, that band was always essentially a pop band working strictly within such orderly conventions. On the other hand, bands like Gang of Four, Wire and Magazine took the basic punk template onto fresh paths as the new decade began.

The Golden Years of Post-Punk:
Amidst the popular early-'80s genres of new wave and synth pop (which seldom if ever overlap with the form on which we're focused), post-punk truly exploded during the first half of the decade. As bands moved further away from imitating or repeating the *** Pistols or Ramones sound, a choice often thrust itself upon early-'80s artists of this ilk: go pop (new wave), take punk rock even further in its purest form (hardcore), or use the music as a palette for experimentation, the exploration of various musical and lyrical complexities and arty daring (post-punk). Luckily, many took that third choice.

Further Differentiation From College Rock & Indie Sounds:
While post-punk music certainly fit into the college rock or indie files of the early '80s, it's actually far more specific than either of those forms. For example, the gloomy, romantic dirges of Nick Cave, the psychobilly buzz of the Cramps, and the dreamy, provocative weirdness of the Soft Boys seem to me far more squarely in the post-punk camp than the more straightforwardly accessible work of Simple Minds, Adam Ant or even U2. All of these groups share post-punk elements, to be sure, but the immediately jarring, unprecedented nature of, say, the Violent Femmes' music raises a post-punk flag more than any other.

The Ultimate Subjectivity of Post-Punk:
So now that we have all that straightened out... Actually, the many perspectives of music fans either render this kind of careful categorization completely moot or turn it into a fascinating exercise, depending on one's approach. Still, as a rule of thumb, the more angular, jagged, complex, esoteric and unselfconsciously quirky the music, the more likely it stands up to scrutiny as classic post-punk. As yet another example, I'm listening to the Smithereens right now, a guitar pop band and college rock act for certain but only marginally post-punk at best, due mostly to the group's exquisite hooks.

Key, Definite Post-Punk Artists - the Debate Rages:
The Cure
Joy Division/New Order
Mission of Burma
Psychedelic Furs
Jesus & Mary Chain
Echo & the Bunnymen
Killing Joke
The The
They Might Be Giants
Certainly NOT Culture Club, the Hooters or ABC

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:19

What a Face
Heartland Rock Profile
What a Face

Overview:
The heavily '80s-centered genre of heartland rock has never been particularly difficult to grasp, and yet its broad umbrella comfortably covers many artists of the late '70s and '80s. In the simplest terms, heartland rock refers to slightly countrified rock and roll that often embraces, espouses and defends rural, blue-collar values. It also represents one of the most commercially successful blends of country and rock now widely referred to as Americana music, trumping the more revered country-rock of the late '60s and early '70s in that area.

Origins:
In many ways, heartland rock grew out of the '70s singer-songwriter movement, as composers of confessional story songs during the late '70s began to gravitate toward electric guitars and roots music more than ever before. Bob Seger, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp clearly stand as the most famous and significant practitioners of the style, infusing their work as the '80s began with a growing tendency toward message music in the folk tradition. However, heartland rockers typically clung to rock in place of gentle, acoustic sounds.

Mellencamp Defines '80s Heartland Rock:
Although Seger, Petty and Springsteen were certainly active during the '80s, they had all begun as distinctive artists of either the late '60s or mid '70s. That made Mellencamp unique in that he came of age by forming his core sound and enjoying his greatest success throughout the '80s as a homegrown icon of the decade. By the time the singer-songwriter dropped his Cougar stage name, he had basically perfected the style of heartland rock, unleashing rebellious rockers alongside acoustic numbers and populist social commentary.

Variety & Evolution:
The latter part of the '80s saw the confines of heartland rock expand even further, welcoming important artists from various musical disciplines, chief among them Steve Earle out of the country-rock outlaw troubadour school, John Hiatt out of bar band/new wave beginnings, and Bruce Hornsby out of a less raucous form of bar band/singer-songwriter niche. Almost all heartland rock artists fit into at least two or three other musical categories, but what they have in common is a highly literate if salt-of-the-earth lyrical approach and careful musicianship.

Heartland Rock Recedes but Refuses to Fade Away:
By the last few years of the '80s, heartland rock in its purest form grew quieter, overshadowed by flashy, impermanent styles like hair metal and emerging movements such as early alternative rock. However, the blueprint of the genre offered important contributions to the burgeoning '90s movement of Americana and alternative country. Bands like Missouri's Bottle Rockets and the trendsetting Uncle Tupelo certainly put their unique spin on heartland rock, but the core melodic accessibility and lyrical intrigue of '80s trailblazers proved quite influential.

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:20

What a Face
Synth Pop Profile
What a Face

Origins:
Synth pop emerged during the early-'80s, as much a variation of new wave as a subgenre of that form. After all, almost all new wave utilized guitar considerably, where synth pop often pushed that traditional rock and roll instrument completely out of the picture. Still, both styles placed quite a premium on visual imagery, lush pop melodies and the smoothing away of punk rock's rough edges. Early practitioners of synth pop, such as Gary Numan, Human League and Devo focused on the mechanization of modern society in either image or sound. This differed highly from the power pop fixation of much new wave.

Duran Duran Takes Synth Pop Mainstream:
Of course, the dark and sometimes satirical nature of the form changed forever when Duran Duran broke through with a flourish in 1983. Using a much more eclectic, hybrid approach to the form than its originators, the freshly anointed Fab Five employed dance beats and prominent guitar to make the most of catchy and accessible hooks. Unfortunately, the fallout from the band's success resulted in some pretty disposable music, released by more than a few ultimately forgettable few-hit wonders like Kajagoogoo and Naked Eyes. Imitators continued to clog the pop charts even as they diluted synth pop.

Continuing Influence on Commercial Pop:
Although synth pop as a distinct genre probably didn't make it past 1985, the prominence of its namesake instrument would exert an impact on much of the charting pop music of the rest of the decade. Even better, its heavy keyboard focus helped reveal some signature songwriting talents in acts like Howard Jones, the Eurythmics and ABC. Artists like these recognized the need to diversify and injected heavy doses of R&B, soul and singer-songwriter aesthetic into their sophisticated pop offerings. Lesser-known synth pop bands like Talk Talk and Heaven 17 actually fared better by embracing originality over imitation.

Other Key Synth Pop Artists:
Depeche Mode
Thomas Dolby
New Order
Soft Cell
The Buggles
A Flock of Seagulls
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Ultravox
Alphaville

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:24

What a Face
College Rock - Alternative When Alternative Wasn't Commercial
What a Face

Overview:
College rock took its name from the fact that most music falling under this umbrella during the genre’s mid- to late-'80s heyday could garner significant airplay primarily on independently minded college radio stations. Musically, it extended across a variety of styles, but much of it drew inspiration somehow from the punk, new wave and post-punk of the late '70s and early '80s. In essence, college rock represented the first explosive wave of what would later be termed (ironically, right after it hit the mainstream) alternative rock.

College Rock Origins:
Just as punk rock can trace its roots as far back as the late '60s in the MC5 or Velvet Underground, college rock took its cue from the defiantly unique work of arty punkers like Talking Heads and Devo. The punk revolution had opened the ears of music lovers who, whether they realized it or not, hungered for an alternative to the bloated, egocentric and often pedestal-resting rock music of the '70s. By the early '80s, executives with dollar signs in their eyes tried to hijack punk and smooth its edges to form new wave, with some success. But truly independent artists were often untempted, seeking a different path.

Early Years:
Perhaps the earliest true college rock band would later become one of the biggest in the world, an irony that is somehow right at home in connection to the the quirky, unpredictable nature of the genre. U2 emerged at the onset of post-punk and genuinely and immediately set itself apart from both punk and new wave. The band’s politically charged, anthemic rock was too self-conscious for pop radio, so college DJs gladly took up the cause of great music that might otherwise have gone unheard (for a little while, anyway).

An Underbelly Neither Soft Nor White:
It could be said that while the music mainstream embraced simplistic, safe but successful artists like Bryan Adams and Huey Lewis & the News, almost all the interesting, groundbreaking stuff was going on underground, in small clubs and with a distinct flair for the offbeat. From jangle pop to roots rock to noisy post-punk, the music that fueled the college rock scene refused to subscribe to rules and boundaries in the same way mainstream music did, and that maverick attitude made for some delightfully eye-opening music for anyone daring enough to go looking for it.

College Rock Stars Pave the Way for Nirvana:
By the latter part of the decade, more than a few of the legends that arose from college rock (Husker Du, the Replacements and, of course, R.E.M.) began to sign major-label contracts, decisions that drew gasps from some of those bands’ formerly most ardent supporters. But the slow move to the mainstream was probably inevitable, steeped more in the music industry’s evolution than a greedy urge to “sell out,” a charge leveled at many of these artists by disgruntled fans. Ultimately, this slow shift helped nudge open the door that Nirvana would crash through so thoroughly in 1991.

Key Artists & Albums:
The Church-Starfish (1988)
The Cure-Disintegration (1989)
Pixies-Doolittle (1989)
R.E.M.-Murmur (1983)
Replacements-Tim (1985)
The Smiths-The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Violent Femmes-Violent Femmes (1983)
Meat Puppets-Meat Puppets II (1984)
Smithereens-Especially for You (1986)
Sonic Youth-Daydream Nation (1988)
Jesus & Mary Chain-Psychocandy (1985)
U2-War (1983)

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:25

What a Face
Hair Metal: Hard Rock Buffed Up to a Glossy Sheen
What a Face

Origins:
Hair metal grew out of the dirty streets of Los Angeles, where disaffected youth searched for kicks in a society whose unsavory underbelly often escaped notice, at least on the surface. Some of these lost youth turned to punk rock and found an outlet for their anger and aggression. Others coming from perhaps more stable backgrounds preferred the party-hearty hard rock scene, which emphasized ***, drugs and rock & roll far more than its edgier underground cousin.

Early Years:
Following the West Coast punk explosion in the late '70s, the club scene of Los Angeles began to flourish with would-be glam rockers of a new generation. Pioneers like Van Halen laid the groundwork for a scene in which bands could emphasize style, fashion, and the search for a good time above all else. As the raw, power-chord-fueled music began to reach wider, the recording industry began to take notice, a development that helped launch this heavy metal derivation.

Metal Or Not?:
Once fully realized, hair metal bore little resemblance to any form of its partial namesake heavy metal. After all, the former stripped away most traces of the dark explorations of bands like Black Sabbath and the mystical fixations of Led Zeppelin or Iron Maiden in favor of a fun-in-the-sun mentality. Therefore, hair metal songs tended to focus on lighter and more shallow subjects than genuine metal, including romantic relationships, parties, glitz and glamour.

MTV & the Triumph of Image:
As MTV began to take notice of early hair metal bands like Motley Crue, the subgenre's popularity took off like a rocket. As a result, aspiring rock bands began to see the advantage of putting on same makeup, teasing or curling their long hair and primping on stage or before the camera. After all, a gritty and very masculine band like Twisted Sister even jumped on the makeup bandwagon after years of pointless toiling in clubs.

Inevitable Decline:
By the late '80s the hair metal phenomenon had begun to run its course, as more and more formerly successful bands like Quiet Riot and Ratt began to fade into oblivion. Still, the success of Def Leppard and Poison kept the form alive even as the gritty, threatening new breed of hard rock introduced by Guns N' Roses began to gain popularity at hair metal's expense. The genre's death knell, of course, would effectively come in 1991, with Nirvana and the advent of grunge.

Key Artists & Albums:
Van Halen-1984
Motley Crue-Shout at the Devil
Def Leppard-Pyromania & Hysteria
Twisted Sister-Stay Hungry
Ratt-Round & Round
Dokken-Tooth and Nail
Cinderella-Night Songs
Bon Jovi-Slippery When Wet
Poison-Open Up and Say... Ahh!

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:27

New Wave, the Decade's First Original Genre


New Wave - A Disguise for Chaos:
Oh, what a chaotic time it was in America as the '70s limped to a close. Fuel and hostage crises, Cold War anxiety and recession had combined to give us an uneasy feeling. So even as punk rock tried to express and interpret this frustration, it was up to the '80s to figure out a way to sell it in a more compartmentalized, less threatening way. So some folks commercially minded in the music biz decided to file down punk's rough edges, throw in some Top 40 hooks and glitz, and a pinch of disco.

Quality Shines Through:
Despite a somewhat inauthentic catalyst, the advent of new wave most certainly brought a significant amount of quality music. Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Blondie, Duran Duran and the Police all fell under the new wave umbrella at some point in the early '80s, but they managed to create independent and creative music for the most part. Even lesser lights and somewhat passing fads like A Flock of Seagulls were not without charms, helping this pre-fab form not always feel so forced.

MTV - the Beginning of the End:
While the video age initially proved favorable for new wave acts, it ultimately led to their demise. Many of these artists were photogenic and therefore thrived, but an emphasis on visuals almost always brings about an immediate outcry for the Next Big Thing. As the makeup- and costume-heavy synth pop began to replace guitar-based new wave, the form began to show a serious shelf life. After all, Spandau Ballet and the Human League could only hold on so long in the face of hard rock's new image.

Key Artists:
Blondie
The Cars
Elvis Costello
Duran Duran
The Human League
The Police
The Pretenders
Talking Heads
Devo
Joe Jackson

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:28

Gangsta Rap

What Is Gangsta Rap?:
Gangsta rap is a genre of hip-hop that reflects the violent lifestyles of inner-city youth. The genre was pioneered around 1983 by Ice T with songs like "Cold Winter Madness" and "Body Rock/Killers." Gangsta rap was popularized by illustrious rap groups like NWA and Boogie Down Productions in the late 80s.

Elements & Style:
Gangsta rap revolves around aggressive lyrics and trunk-heavy beats. Despite its huge acceptance in the early 90s, gangsta rap has been condemned for its violent themes. Rappers often defend themselves by saying that they're only depicting actual inner-city struggles, not promoting it.

Gangsta Rap + Commercial Beats = Success:
Gangsta rap gained commercial momentum after the release of Notorious B.I.G's Ready To Die. B.I.G. and his producer, Puff Daddy, meshed gritty narratives with polished pop beats entirely designed with clubs and pop charts in mind. Since then, the same blueprint has been reproduced over and over by today's rap artists.

Notable Gangsta Rappers:
N.W.A.
The Geto Boys
Ice-T
Snoop Dogg
Westside Connection
Kool G Rap
50 Cent
Ice Cube
MC Eiht
Kurupt


Notable Gangsta Rap Albums:
Roots of Evil – Kool G Rap
Criminal Minded – Boogie Down Productions
Straight Outta Compton – N.W.A.
The Chronic – Dr. Dre
Efil4Zaggin – N.W.A.

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:30

What a Face
What Is New Wave Of British Heavy Metal?
What a Face

New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, or NWOBHM started in the late '70s and early '80s after the initial wave of heavy metal bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. It was a purer form of heavy metal with fewer rock and blues influences than the first metal bands. It set the stage for the rise of heavy metal across the world. It also was the precursor and inspiration to thrash and speed metal.


Musical Style

NWOBHM didn't really have a signature style or sound. It was more a matter of location and time than specific style. Some bands were more progressive and epic sounding while others were straight ahead metal. One thing the NWOBHM bands did have in common was their sense of melody.


Pioneers

Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden are one of the most well known metal bands of all time, although they didn't have the commercial success as some of their counterparts. After recording a couple of albums in the early '80s the band recruited lead singer Bruce Dickinson, recorded the legendary Number Of The Beast and took off from there. Their mascot Eddie is also famous worldwide.

Def Leppard
Formed in the late '70s in Sheffield, Def Leppard were the definitive metal band of the '80s. They had multiple radio hits and their albums Pyromania and Hysteria are among the best selling albums ever. They brought metal to the mainstream. They experienced several tragedies, including the death of guitarist Steve Clark and the loss of drummer Rick Allen's arm in a car accident. But they persevered and continue filling arenas today.

Recommended Albums
Iron Maiden - Number Of The Beast
Def Leppard - Pyromania
Diamond Head - Am I Evil
Motorhead - Ace Of Spades
Saxon - Strong Arm Of The Law
Judas Priest - Hell Bent For Leather
Girlschool - Take A Bite
Angel Witch -Angel Witch
Raven - Wiped Out
Samson - Shock Tactics
Grim Reaper - See You In Hell
Quartz - Stand Up And Fight

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PostSubject: Re: Genres & Styles   22.11.08 18:32

What a Face
What Is Thrash Metal?
What a Face

Thrash metal is also known as speed metal, and since many of the early thrash bands were from San Francisco, it became known as Bay Area Thrash. It started in the early to mid '80s and was at its peak in the late '80s. Thrash bands were influenced by New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and hardcore punk. Thrash was also the inspiration for later extreme genres such as death and black metal.


Musical Style
Thrash is driven by the guitar. It's played at a furiously fast pace with a staccato, percussive guitar sound. It layers fast riffs with higher pitched solos. Many thrash bands use the double bass drum.


Vocal Style
Thrash vocals are usually very aggressive and sometimes angry sounding, but unlike death or black metal, they are still understandable.


Pioneers

Metallica
Although there were some artists that incorporated elements of thrash into their music, Metallica's 1983 release Kill 'Em All is generally considered to be the first thrash album. Former member Dave Mustaine wrote some of the songs on that record and went on to form another seminal thrash band, Megadeth. Metallica went on to release several classic thrash albums, and although their style has evolved, they still hold on to their thrash roots.


Slayer
Slayer is a little more extreme than Metallica, and their debut album Show No Mercy was released in 1983. 1986's Reign In Blood is probably the best thrash album ever recorded. Like Metallica, Slayer has had longevity and continue to show the younger generation how it's done.

Recommended Albums
Metallica - Master Of Puppets
Slayer - Reign In Blood
Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying
Anthrax - Among The Living
Exodus - Bonded By Blood
Nuclear Assault - Handle With Care
Annihilator - Never, Neverland
Stormtroopers of Death (SOD) - Speak English Or Die
Testament - The New Order
Overkill - Horrorscope
Metal Church - Human Factor
Sepultura - Beneath The Remains

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