Genre Confusion

As a quick reminder of how you got screwed by "affordable" health care, here's a list of new taxes before tomorrow, when YPS will officially become unhinged over taxes for the day.

Anyhow, I was amusing myself looking for new music on the web the other day. I have come to the conclusion that sites which use social recommendations, like amazon, or have some kind of similarity engine, like Pandora, are really your best bet. Genre labels in the new millennium are, broadly speaking, next to useless.

The larger, overarching categories still have some use. If somebody tells you a band or artist is country as opposed to rock or pop, that has some small measure of validity. I say small because the three categories I just mentioned are bleeding into each other rather seamlessly. Turn on GAC or CMT and see if the music you hear would be out of place on a Top 40 or Alt Rock station. From my admittedly jaundiced perspective, I can't see much difference.

Of course, I listen to a lot of Metal and Industrial. Even these labels aren't much use, since there are a lot of bands that don't fit neatly into one category or the other. So in an attempt to differentiate between sub-classes of each, people have invented a bewildering variety of categories that are, frankly, completely meaningless except to the three guys who came up with them while arguing over music late one saturday night.

One band I was looking up was listed in the following "genres":
  • Metalcore
  • Thrash Metal
  • Groove Metal
  • Death Metal
Aside from the fact that I don't even know what some of these are, (groove metal? WTF?), if your genre labels have 4 different possibilities for one band, they're not much good. Another band was described as "a mix of progressive metal, grindcore, and hardcore". Umm. Yeah. Does that mean something to somebody, or is some music nerd with a journalism degree trying to justify his existence? I mean, I've been listening to metal in various incarnations for 25 years or so now, so I think I've got a decent grasp on the music. The labels? Not so much.

This is where Amazon, allmusic, and Pandora come in handy. I don't want to spend my time figuring out what all these bullshit labels mean. I want to listen to some good new music. Amazon tells me what CDs people who bought my CDs also bought. allmusic tells me what bands are similar to bands I like. Pandora, through the magic of their genome project, just plays music at me their engine figures I'll like. All three work pretty well, but the radical profusion of genres and sub-genres and terminology isn't real useful.

Anyhow, since writing about music is like dancing about architecture, here's a tune I found in the process. Perhaps you'll like it.

Lamb of God - Set To Fail (Official Music Video)

On the other hand, if you don't like it, you now know I am not a reliable source for music recommendations for you. Perhaps there's some websites that might be able to help you...

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