Dead Horse Music Genre

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Improvisational jazz banjoists are shot on sight!

A genre of music that music critics hate on principle. If a band or song is from one of the forbidden genres, it is automatically bad, no matter what the band or song actually sounds like. A music critic who actually likes any of this stuff has to bend over backward, apologizing that these songs are Guilty Pleasures and they know they shouldn't like the stuff. Some critics seem unable to write a review of music they like without an obligatory kick to the dead horse -- "this is so much better than that other crap!" Times when these genres were popular are declared to be the Dork Age.

Amateur music critics on the Web aren't quite as dogmatic as the professionals, because the amateurs aren't part of an establishment that declares who is hot and who is not. But since anybody with an internet connection and music library can be a critic, amateurs often have their own personal Dead Horse Music Genre, which they flog as hard as the professionals do with theirs.

Of course, a lot of these genres really are full of rubbish. But so are genres that the critics like -- Sturgeon's Law strictly applies. If you're a fan of this stuff and you want reviews, you may have to go to a specialized web site that only covers that one genre.

So why kick a music genre until it's a dead horse? Because music critics regard what they do as Serious Business. They're trying to calculate the canon of Great Works of Western Music here, and there's no room for anything less. They seem to think that if enough people listen to good music, people will start giving out flowers and candy and overthrow The Man and cure cancer, but if they listen to bad music, people will have their souls crushed and vote to establish fascism. Critics with strong political beliefs go further—some are still angry that the decline of music in the late 60s prevented the revolution that was so, so close then. (They seem to forget, or maybe they never even realized, that so much of that music was brought to us - and perhaps could never have existed otherwise - by corporate entities.)

Another reason for this is that entire genres have been created by taking a style the musicians hate, and then doing the exact opposite. Critics who like these rebel genres have to pan the ones they rebelled against. Maybe both genres have something to offer? Don't be silly! This is music, and there's only one way to do things.

Sometimes, a genre turns into a dead horse through a mix of Hype Backlash and It's Popular, Now It Sucks; the music hits a peak level of popularity where it appears to be everywhere, and both the public and the critics get sick of it.

Most of these genres have one or two exceptions, the bands that the critics like in spite of it all. Of course, the critics usually spend their time trying to explain that no, these bands aren't really part of the hated genre at all.

For those people who haven't figured it out yet, most music criticism is very close to Fan Dumb. See also Sci Fi Ghetto.

Note that the list doesn't include very old nearly-forgotten genres like motet.

The Big List of Dead Horse Genres:

Arena Rock

There ain't no respect for 1970s bands who made songs specifically for arena spectacles, like Foreigner and REO Speedwagon. Critics regard them as pompous, fake, and not real music because their songs aren't really played—they're performed. Especially to fans of Three Chords and the Truth, this is unacceptable. And since arena rockers usually wrote straightforward lyrics, those who feel that True Art Is Angsty have nothing.

Exceptions Include:

  • Queen is often given a pass, since they were so successful (and the fact that they at least seemed to try new stuff with every new record). The fact that they showed a sense of humour and blatantly attempted to make every song as mock-operatic as possible with nonsense or otherwise jokey lyrics probably helped, as did Rolling Stone's infamous habit of bashing them at the height of their fame (they were once called "fascists"). However, there are still a ton of Queen haters among amateur critics, who think of them as normal arena rock with bad Goth poetry. The reviewers who like them especially like their theatrical, #1 "Bohemian Rhapsody", which is the second-most-played song on British radio. The video game Rock Band may very well rescue Boston from this hatred too, but not Styx. Never Styx.
  • Journey is played almost nonstop in just about every bar and karaoke joint in America and the United Kingdom.
    • Like Queen, Journey started out as a prog-rock outfit before embracing a more commercial sound. YMMV as to whether that helps or hurts them from a critical standpoint.
  • Boston also gets some grace since almost every song from their first album was a hit, and their riffs are distinctly harder than most arena rock.
  • Meat Loaf as well, especially in Britain and mostly for the same reasons as Queen.
  • U2 are the tail end of the movement that just won't go.
  • Kiss seems to have escaped this fate in spite of some epic fails along the way. They were actually harder than most other bands of their time when they debuted in 1974, and only became a prepackaged pop band as a result of their enormous worldwide success. They arguably redeemed themselves when they removed the silly makeup in 1983 and were reborn as a semi-serious band with more studious riffs and more socially relevant lyrics. (Of course, then they ended up turning glam-metal again, but at least they tried.)
  • Rush, mainly due to their massive success, as well as the presence of hits like "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight". They also are usually categorized as progressive rock, are heavier than most of their peers, and the members are heavily acclaimed for their instrumental skills.

Hair Metal

A sub-type of heavy metal from the 1980s, bands like Poison, Bon Jovi, and Motley Crue inspire a lot of hate, even from people who love other kinds of heavy metal. Amateur critics dismiss it as nothing but make-up, big hair, fancy costumes, and videos, with no room for actual music in there. (Wilson & Alroy, the first big amateur music reviewers on the web, refuse to review hair metal albums for any reason.) Among professional critics, hair metal had the misfortune of being too tied to the 1980s rock "establishment," especially MTV. 1990s Grunge music was a rebellion against hair metal, like Punk was a rebellion against Prog Rock, so when grunge became the critical darling of MTV, there was soon no place for hair metal among the pros.


  • The VH1 Classic channel, deep in its 1980s nostalgia kick, is still fond of hair metal, and goes through huge chunks where it seems to cover nothing else.
  • Los Angeles, owing to the fact that the genre was mostly born there, still has enough fans to have made it a Zombie Horse Genre if not Vindicated by History in all seriousness. One will still hear classic bands being played fairly often, and club lives will often include them if not use them as major headliners on occasion.
  • The band W.A.S.P. also gets a "get out of jail free card", partly for being heavier than most similar bands, partly for eventually abandoning hair metal with 1989's The Headless Children.
    • Skid Row did this as well, although, ironically, their hair metal debut is generally regarded as their finest album.
  • Def Leppard because they're also commonly associated with the much more well-respected NWOBHM along with Diamond Head and Iron Maiden than Hair Metal, the heavier riffs and more competent instrumentation than most other bands in the genre, and the fact that Pyromania and Hysteria are widely considered to be two of the greatest hard rock albums of all time. Importantly, they've never really gone out of their way to claim that they're some kind of super-serious metal band (guitarist Phil Collen has joked that they're "halfway between heavy metal and Duran Duran"). They still have their fair share of haters, but there are a lot of people who normally aren't fans of hair metal that still love Def Leppard.
  • Parody Hair Metal bands are generally liked, due to the fact that anyone who likes the genre can hide behind the fact it's not real. (Limozeen are a good example, as are Steel Panther)
  • Another exception is the Norwegian band TNT. They're dead in the US (except for a few faithful fans) but extremely popular in Japan and Europe. Mostly due to them leaning further towards hard rock than glam, and the fact guitarist Ronni Le Tekro is seen as something of a Guitar God among some.
    • Steel Panther are much the same, though they step into spoof territory pretty often.
  • Some of the more competent glam acts are being cautiously re-evaluated and rehabilitated by heavy metal journalists, nu metal apparently having replaced it as the established whipping boy of the metal community. Mötley Crüe are possibly the best example of this, having managed to re-establish themselves as a credible entity after the well received 2008 album Saints of Los Angeles and two popular Crüe Fest tours.
  • Whitesnake is often unfairly thought of as hair metal, but in fact their style is more closely tied to the original heavy metal of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Slide It In (1984) sounds noticeably "blacker" and bluesier than most white rock bands of the era, and their self-titled album from 1987 contains perhaps some of the most exquisite metal music ever released on a mainstream label. On the other hand, 1989's Slip Of The Tongue is largely pure glam.
    • Cinderella has largely been vindicated for much the same reason; they had far more pronounced blues and Southern rock influences and were far more mature songwriters overall.
  • Bon Jovi are just as successful as they ever were...except its mostly because they largely abandoned "hard rock" c. 1995 and became an adult contemporary band.
  • Lizzy Borden was glam in aesthetic only and was firmly entrenched in US Power Metal as far as their sound went, and their focus on Alice Cooper-esque theatrics helped further provide legitimacy.
  • In the 80's, several major Japanese rock bands spearheaded a movement known as Visual Kei, which took the theatrics of glam, took it Up to Eleven, and made such theatrics as important as the music itself. Unlike hair metal, visual kei actually managed to pass the test of time as a significant aversion, especially when it began to adapt itself into the harder sounds of the 90's.

Show Tunes

Rock critics don't usually like (or know much about) music that isn't rock, but they're wary of attacking genres that they know they don't understand. So they leave Classical, Blues, Jazz, and "World" alone. But Broadway show tunes don't have the mystique that makes those other genres so scary. If it was sung in a theater, rock critics dismiss it as sappy, soulless stuff for lame fifty-something white people in 1955. One of the stock funny anecdotes among music critics is that Marvin Gaye, the master of suave Motown love ballads with soul, originally wanted to sing showtunes.

Exceptions: The recent Broadway musical Avenue Q, due to twisted lyrics and a subject matter for twentysomethings (i.e. Dead Baby Comedy), is exempt from this criticism. It is unclear whether other musicals with unusual subject matter can break the stigma. Musicals with "Horror" in the title seem to get an exemption also, with quite a few of the songs from Little Shop of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Picture Show getting a pass from many rock fans. It probably has more to do with the comedy/quirk of the songs than the word "Horror" being attached to the shows, but still. The rock-influenced musical Passing Strange also seems to get a pass.

Incidentally, musical theater fans have their own Dead Horse Genres: Jukebox Musicals, European pop operas such as the output of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Disney musicals, etc. The hate for those is similar to the hate others have for Manufactured Bands (see below).

Mainstream Radio

Albums by the likes of Fleetwood Mac or Eagles—which seem to consist of the same song repeated for seven tracks or more—send a shiver down the spine of every amateur critic. After all, it's produced by The Man, who is the root of all evil (but not that one); and it probably got played due to payola anyway. The fact that lots of people love it is only proof that it's bad—what do the proles know, anyway? Also currently applies to bands such as Nickelback which have the "sold 10 million albums but I don't know anyone who owns one" type of fanbase.

Exceptions: Professional reviewers like this stuff more (for obvious reasons.) Every now and then, a mega-hit album like the Eagles' Hotel California Crosses the Line Twice for amateur reviewers—first it's so popular and formulaic that they hate it on principle, but then it gets bigger and bigger until they feel they can't dismiss it. Fleetwood Mac usually get a pass, on account of being incredibly successful, being famous for their troubled history, being actually really good at catchy pop-rock and not being as wimpy as the soft rock bands they were usually lumped with.

  • Lady Gaga seems to be a more recent exception to this rule. She was near-universally hated by everyone but clubgoers and 13-year-old girls when her first single (Just Dance) hit the radio, and her first album had very mixed reviews. By the time her second album (technically an 8-song addition to the first) hit stores she was a critical darling. Now many, many adults who had originally professed hate have not just grudgingly accepted her but are fervent fans. Both her bluesy live acoustic performances of her dance tracks and her elaborate, ten-minute, symbolism-heavy music videos have helped with this. It is now cooler to worship Lady Gaga than to hate her, even among hipsters who would normally not touch anything produced by a major label. (Well, some of them.)
  • Adele is also a more recent exception to this rule, mostly because she does write some if not most of her own songs, she is a fairly talented singer, and her image, while controversial in its own ways, provides its own appeal as "mainstream but not mainstream."

Manufactured Bands

Probably more of a target for amateur critics than professionals, this genre is also the one that most non-critics who start getting interested in music will hate the most. From Fabian and The Monkees to N'Sync and Britney Spears, performers who serve as faces for a faceless team of composers are viewed as outright traitors to music. They are the monster, the roots of the evil corporate machine that suppresses true music. They perform catchy but empty pop designed to hypnotize teenagers into becoming shopping-obsessed zombies. They... well, you know the drill. The average critic cares a lot about sincerity, so singers who only sing (instead of writing their own material) are unacceptable (depending on how long ago the artist came to prominence—no one's criticising Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra for not writing their own tunes...) Professional critics have to (publicly) give 'equal time' to modern manufactured bands for obvious reasons, but are free to trash selected out-of-date whipping boys (like the Monkees) with gusto. And don't even mention the words "Milli Vanilli" around them.

The older bands suffer the same fate as hair metal—manufactured bands prospered most between Elvis getting drafted and the Beatles arriving, so they are seen as the horror which the Beatles saved music from. Speaking of "older", note that in recent years manufactured bands and their intended demographic are getting younger- Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and The Naked Brothers Band are presumably marketed to kids whose parents think they're too young to go on the Internet. Interestingly, manufactured bands targeted toward girls get far, far, far more criticism than those targeted toward boys even if their music is of the exact same quality. Manufactured bands targeted at girls almost always acquire the Periphery Hatedom of their generation.

In Britain, much of the ire for manufactured bands is specifically directed at contestants from The X Factor or Britains Got Talent who actually started musical careers. While some manage to acquire mainstream acceptance, many are derided for appealing to the Lowest Common Denominator and existing solely to "steal" the Christmas Number One single spot with a cover version to validate the existence of the programme (with the back cover of several Pop Stars: The Rivals VHS tapes actually implying the the Christmas number one was the prize for winning the programme). The backlash against this seems to have culminated with the successful 2009 Facebook campaign to put "Killing In the Name" at the top of the Christmas singles chart. Generally, the ire isn't really directed at the singer themselves - evidenced by the success of Leona Lewis and the praise for JLS attempting to be original with their material - but at the system which got them into the position (and Simon Cowell).

Exceptions: The formulaic hit factory of Motown, which—as a black-run business with heavier blues and jazz influence—doesn't seem bland or inane to critics like the whitebread Monkees do. Motown also has the advantage that a lot of its bubblegum acts (like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson) showed some creative talent and eventually moved on to their own things, while tools at other companies rarely did. Even the major studio band of the company's golden age, The Funk Brothers, got their belated due as the craftsmen that made the company sound so good. Recently, some critics have discovered manufactured bands—they're so hated that liking them ironically seems cool and daring. Other amateur critics, in a reverse of what the pros do, don't like the Monkees but make a point of how much better they were than today's manufactured groups. The Monkees themselves also often get bonus points for successfully rebelling against their puppetmasters (and for Mike Nesmith being one hell of a songwriter).

As noted above, many critics generally don't hate manufactured artists as much as one would think. Britney Spears? Oops!... I Did It Again, Britney, In The Zone, Circus and Blackout have all averaged around three stars or more in reviews. The Monkees have also been somewhat Vindicated by History lately. Justin Bieber and The Jonas Brothers also don't receive, for the most part, overly negative reviews on their albums. Indifference moreso than dislike is probably the most common critical reaction.

Viewpoints about the Sex Pistols vary: they started as a band manufactured by Malcolm McLaren, but with the addition of John Lydon his influence over them was heavily diminished. Subsequently they initiated the first wave of British punk, with bands like the Clash and the Buzzcocks citing them as the direct reason they formed. After Lydon left, McLaren tried to keep the band going, resulting in disasters such as The Great Rock and Roll Swindle.

In some cases, if a manufactured band breaks up then regroups a few years later when they're a bit older and wiser, there's sometimes a good chance that they will manage to win the favour of critics and the public. Take That is a pretty good example.

Also, starting in The New Tens there is a small boy band resurgence in the Britain but girl groups are still out of the question.

Finally, outright parody bands such as Spinal Tap may get a bye on the basis that they were really attacking the sort of band they pretend to be.

In Asia, there appears to be somewhat less resistance in accepting Boy Bands/Girl Bands; groups like Big Bang and the Hello! Project still sell in Korea and Japan. It likely helps that they're generally willing to mock themselves relentlessly. Furthermore, J-Pop singers often have other people write and/or compose their songs (Yoko Kanno partnering with Maaya Sakamoto on numerous albums, for example). It's not really a negative, nor is it decried as "manufactured" (at least not over and above what American critics think of the dancy, peppy J-pop genre as it is).


Nu-Metal is an umbrella term coined in the mid-1990s to refer to music that blends heavy metal elements with other styles, typically Industrial and Alternative Metal. Nu-metal is hated by many metalheads, who stereotype it as commercial and musically simple. In fact, there are many that argue nu-metal isn't even a subgenre of metal, although some music critics argue that it is an experimental and diverse genre.

Exceptions: Deftones and Disturbed are more Alternative Metal than the rest of the bands they're often grouped with, and as a result they are more well-respected; Deftones in particular seem to have attained an Ensemble Darkhorse status within nu-metal. Slipknot, at least with the release of All Hope is Gone, has seemed to have shed the nu metal tag and there have been arguments among music critics concerning whether or not they were really a nu metal band. Korn and Limp Bizkit are also sometimes given a pass, possibly due to them being the first bands to play the style (and, as a result, their bands that tried something "different"). However, have fun mentioning the last two bands to a metalhead. In the case of Korn, their latest album has arguably made them Acceptable Targets not just to metalheads, but even to some NuMetal fans as well. Limp Bizkit, being one of the originators of Nu-metal are still popular, their 2011 release Gold Cobra sold very well and even received considerable praise from music critics, even the ones who had trashed the band's previous releases.

  • Two lesser-known (but still somewhat popular) bands, Ill Nino and Nonpoint, are also labeled (or were labeled) by many as nu-metal bands. The latter especially, due to their vocalist's rap-like harsh vocal delivery and youthful clean vocals. Nonpoint is still going strong, however, having been a band since the mid-90s, and are ready to release their 7th studio album later this year. Critics love them, though they still consier them nu-metal, with some stating they are 'one of nu-metal's most talented acts', implying the genre still is around in some ways. Ill Nino is a bit more of a controversial example. All of their albums have a new sound, so it's debatable that they have moved away from the genre, but even fans agree that their first two releases qualify. Their diversity as writers, as well as their Latin influences have somehow allowed them to get away with the nu-metal label, as the band is very well-received critically and has a rather passionate fanbase in the metal community. Also, while Sevendust is more of an Alternative Metal band, they are still classed as nu-metal by some, and nobody dares to insult them.

Gangsta Rap

Many think the genre died in the late 90's (Dr. Dre himself thinks so as well). But this is somewhat contested because some think it's still the popular hip hop genre. The problem with this is that a lot of hip hop that didn't fall into the indie, pop, or alternative banner was automatically placed under the gangsta rap umbrella term...unfairly or not. A more accurate explanation is that the grittier type 1 variants are dead, while a glossier Lighter and Softer version exists in it's place.

Exceptions: The early innovators of the genre (Ice T, N.W.A. (including Dr. Dre, Ice Cube), Scarface, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., et. al) get a free pass here, mainly because their version of gangsta rap was the type 1 variant. Because they tempered gangsterism with sociopolitically concerned lyrics. Also Bone Thugs-n-Harmony which is essentially a Progressive Gangsta Rap group (if that was even possible). Unfortunately the aforementioned artists aren't particularly popular anymore out side the core hip hop fans.

Political Rap

Most rappers who get on their soap box are considered preachy, pretentious and irrelevant now. In general there's a backlash towards rap music like this (including the aforementioned Gangsta Rap, and alt rap) from the mainstream rap fans. Likely because of the resentment from the fans of those particular genres that's usually aimed at pure mainstream rap fans. So in essence its a backlash against the Critical Backlash....If that makes any sense. So a lot of mainstream rap fans, and mainstream rap outlets (including BET, and apparently MTV) dismiss them as irrelevant. Basically any hip-hop that isn't club-oriented, trendy, safe, and radio-friendly is considered "played out" or not cool to like. Or it could all just be a defense mechanism for mainstream fans to justify their taste in current pure mainstream hip-hop.

Exceptions: Public Enemy and X-Clan are still widely respected as trailblazers. More "underground" rappers that straddle the line between hardcore and politics such as Dead Prez, Mos Def and Nas (to name but a few) also get a pass. Immortal Technique has something of a cult following, if only for the pure Shock Value of how extreme he is in his leftism. Rage Against the Machine may or may not fall under this, as they are a Rap Metal band, but Zach de la Rocha's lyrics are very political in nature.

  • Even those artists tend to suffer from Hype Backlash, and other criticisms from mainstream rap fans. Public Enemy never fully recovered from the Professor Griff controversy.
  • Depending on who you ask, Rage Against the Machine (more alternative metal than rap, but still extreme in their political statements) might get a pass because of their technically skilled musicians.


After floating around in the outer reaches of the record industry for decades, the success of African-American musical genres like jazz, blues, soul and funk in the 1960s finally brought it to the forefront by the beginning of the 1970s. However, many objected to the glitzy, camped-out commercialism, claiming it "sucked all of the soul" out of the music. Disco came under a backlash from two sides - white rock fans despised the genre due to its ubiquity and perceived threat to Rock and Roll's dominance, while black Funk fans trashed the genre as soulless, vapid and stupid, angry over how it pushed their heroes (James Brown, George Clinton et al.) and hard-edged funk out of the charts. When the hammer fell on the genre, it fell hard, and practically no one will now admit to having come within a billion miles of it at its height. "X was into disco in the 70s" jokes are practically a staple of the Sitcom genre. It tried to resurrect itself in disguise as 80's High-Energy, but could not reclaim its once-lofty position.

Exceptions: Though Chic is still considered one of the basic disco bands, try to find a funk (or funk-influenced) bassist not influenced by Bernard Edwards. That isn't Bootsy Collins or Larry Graham. A handful of acts will get a free pass on sheer Camp, as well, most notably The Village People. Many hip and trendy contemporary house and "dance-punk" bands, including Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, Justice, Simian Mobile Disco and Basement Jaxx, have a much more charitable view of the disco genre as a whole and incorporate many of its signifiers into their sound. And while disco received a major backlash in America, the same didn't happen to the same degree in Europe and Italo Disco flourished there. Finally, Giorgio Moroder's productions (like Donna Summer's "I Feel Love") are usually given a pass because of how much he contributed to house and Electronic Music - probably the main thing people hate about disco is its overblown, campy arrangements with a ton of strings and various instruments, so no one really minds monotone, Kraftwerk-style electronic productions.

  • The Disco/Rock Mix songs "I Was Made For Lovin You" and "New York Groove" by Kiss tend to still be loved.
  • Dschinghis Khan is considered by many to be So Bad It's Good, and made a comeback thanks to their song "Moskau" becoming an internet meme.
  • To a great extent, disco morphed into house and trance, and is played straight by retro R'n'B bands such as Jamiroquai.
  • Laura White and Katy Perry keep disco in fashion, as does Eric Prydz.

Lounge Music/Easy Listening

Lounge Music has always earned the loathing of critics even in heyday of the mid-1960s and early 1970s, being typified as the musical equivalent of Valium. 'Easy Listening' derivatives of Jazz especially earn the enmity of rock critics—even those unfamiliar with jazz in general—because it is seen as a neutered form of a real genre. Popular acts such as Barry Manilow in the 1970s and Kenny G. in the 1990s are especially reviled for being both banal and successful—Manilow especially for admitting to doing the most soulless of music before turning to pop: commercial jingles. New Age/Worldbeat music, like Yanni or Enigma's output, is usually lumped into this category.

Exceptions: Lounge music may be considered acceptable so long as one is consuming it ironically. Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine have essentially made an entire career of this, exclusively performing lounge covers of various modern pop/rock/rap hits. Easy listening is also acceptable genre on many free music portals on the Internet.

  • There's also Martin Denny's cult following among a certain breed of hipster that is surprisingly unironic, with Industrial fans and musicians being especially fond of his work (Boyd Rice and Genesis P-Orridge in particular). Of course, one must take into account the sheer dearth of quirky musicality and Nightmare Fuel in Denny's music to really get why...

Songfestival pop

In Europe, everything and everyone that has anything to do with the Eurovision Song Contest is reviled by critics. This includes such acts as ABBA.

  • The German Eurovision group Dschinghis Khan, however, managed to get some Memetic Mutation thanks to its song "Moskau", and especially after a Japanese guy made a Doitsu Mondegreen video of the song.
  • And don't forget Lordi!
  • What about Telex? Their 1980 song "Euro-vision" was one of the few to parody the event, and was apparently written in order to get the lowest score possible.
  • Indie types are far less critical of Eurovision after indie dance hero Sébastien Tellier was the performer for France in 2008.


Some say Neo-Soul is dead. Considering in the early 2000s it was getting A LOT of mainstream buzz (Mostly because of Alicia Keys). With singers like Maxwell, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Lina, India.Arie, Music Soulchild Et Cetera. But by the mid 2000s interest faded away.

Exception: Alicia Keys is still around but she tweaked her style though.

Contemporary R&B

In the words of P!nk (whose first album was R&B) "Nobody wants to hear a love song that you don't mean". Not just the genre itself but arguably the love and romance of Contemporary R&B is dead. Replaced by songs dealing with trashy soap opera, Jerry Springer topics. With more vocal gymnastics and some vague, treacly high-pitched sound in the background. The fusion of modern R&B to hip-hop tends to dilute both these Genres. Interestingly enough Contemporary R&B pushed soul music off the charts.

New Jack Swing

Ironically the genre that pushed Contemporary R&B off the charts is also deader than a door nail.

Exceptions: It could be argued that Hip-Hop Soul is more or less a modernization or continuation of New Jack Swing.

Traditional Anime Theme Songs

Back in the 70's most animes had their own catchy theme songs. However during the 80's it was slowly phased out for J-pop or J-Rock tracks which are easy to license and seem more normal for listening. Good luck finding a theme song for anything past kids shows nowadays. Even Kamen Rider is a bit more unconventional with its newer openings and end theme songs than say Super Sentai. This was heavily lampshaded in Kämpfer as Kaede speaks of anime openings being normal compared to say cartoon opening

Exceptions Some Super Robot Series kept this alive even in the modern era. Groups like JAM Project are a good example of keeping the traditional Anime Theme Songs alive.

  • An exception (or possibly a subversion) can be found in Kyoto Animation's works, mostly Suzumiya Haruhi and Lucky Star. The songs for Haruhi are sung by Aya Hirano, and although they are J Pop, they still relate to the show and could easily be considered them songs in their own right. Both Haruhi and Lucky Star have dance sequences that merge perfectly with their respective songs.


A fusion of Metalcore and Death Metal, deathcore has become the Spiritual Successor to Nu-metal for similar reasons. It has become hated largely due to the "scene" kids associated with the fanbase, bands' usage of Myspace to gain popularity, overall lack of technicality and excessive usage of breakdowns, and Oli Sykes. Also like Nu-metal, many metal fans argue that it is not a subgenre of metal and is instead more closely related to Hardcore Punk. While the genre still has fans and some popularity, it has seen a decline recently, as evidenced by many of the most popular bands changing their sound or abandoning the genre altogether.

Exceptions: The Red Chord is often given a pass, due to being the first band to play the style and for having far fewer hardcore influences and breakdowns than many of the bands that followed them. A few bands like The Faceless and Through the Eyes of the Dead are also generally well received by metal fans and critics due to their technicality and more metal approach to the genre. In addition, some bands have gained some level of approval by critics by abandoning the genre in favor of straight up Metalcore (Bring Me the Horizon) or Death Metal (Job For A Cowboy). Of course, still be careful when mentioning the last two around a metalhead.

Smooth Jazz

Kenny G and all that. It's often the only jazz you'll hear on the radio unless you listen to NPR at 1:00 AM Saturday morning, or as non-offensive background music for the local forecast on The Weather Channel (which has actually issued compilations of smooth jazz in the past). It's also the one form of jazz critics feel free to trash. It probably doesn't help that most porn now uses smooth Jazz for the "action" scenes.

Exceptions: Smooth Jazz Nyan Cat

Super Eurobeat

It's been produced for more than 20 years, but it looks like its number is almost up, it's fallen out of popularity even in its main market, Japan. Para Para dancing, its raison d'etre, has also mostly gone out of style and is largely considered a passing fad. Dave Rodgers (Giancarlo Pasquini), one of the founding fathers of the genre, is himself abandoning Eurobeat and moving to other styles. There's no sense in {Euro}beating a dead horse.


As in Mainstream Radio above, these bands are often accused of being repetitive and banal - if not outright bashed, there's a good chance that they'll be described as "middle-of-the-road, comfort food rock". These bands tend to fall in the sold millions of albums but nobody seems to actually like them trap. It's also unpopular among fans of the original grunge bands, who see it as a watered-down, mainstream-baiting response to an "authentic" rock movement.

Exceptions: Foo Fighters get a pass from most critics, probably because of their association with Nirvana (and because they're actually pretty good). Post-grunge bands that hew closer to Alternative Metal, such as Stone Sour, Breaking Benjamin and Flyleaf, also seem to be better received, since the additional metal edge means they don't look bland or middle of the road like the other post-grunge bands. Alter Bridge, while not as well known, have also been much-beloved by critics since their second album.

Progressive Rock

Similar to the criticisms of Arena Rock: these bands offend critical sensibilities, which tend sharply toward Three Chords and the Truth. Not only do they do extremely long songs, they tend to write incomprehensible lyrics to go with them.

Exceptions: Pink Floyd was massively Vindicated by History, after being regularly trashed in The Seventies.

Ska Punk

For about a year between the start of 1996 and the end of 1997, third wave ska was pretty big in America, propelled into the charts by multi-platinum albums like Tragic Kingdom and Sublime. However, after it's brief time in the limgelight third wave ska basically disappeared, and many bands (including No Doubt and The Aquabats!) changed their sound.

As far as the fandom went, ska punk occupied an uncomfortable position; it was simultaneously seen as geekish (many ska groups were former band geeks, and there's a curious tendency towards ska musicians being One of Us) and fratboyish (due to the party anthems many groups became known for and the inclusion of ska songs in late nineties comedy movie soundtracks). Further, third wave ska was often criticised for straying too far from the original Jamaican style (and even the British revivalists who'd been popular in the eighties), hence the derogatory "punk with horns" nickname.


  • Reel Big Fish are still pretty well-liked, due in part to their ability to poke fun at themselves.
  • Any number of ska groups whose popularity dwindled in America have been able to maintain larger followings in Europe, South America and Japan.