How “genres”, once thought to be reductive in music, are now undergoing tectonic changes-Entertainment News, Firstpost


Last week, Adele, the musical force of nature, added to her ever-growing list of great achievements with the release of her new album 30. Besides the impressive sales figures and she makes Spotify unravel his pieces, there was a milestone that slipped somewhat under the radar: lead single ‘Easy on me ‘ become the first song to scale a combination of Billboardthe pop, rock, hip-hop and country charts, as a result of which Adele matched Mariah Carey by appearing on no less than 17 of the various release surveys of the publications. (There are 25 in total.)

The list, in alphabetical order, includes Adult Alternative, Adult Contemporary, Adult Pop, Adult R&B, Alternative, Country, Dance / Mix Show, Latin, Latin Pop, Mainstream R & B / Hip-Hop, Pop, R & B / Hip-Hop, Rhythmic, Rock & Alternative, Smooth Jazz, Tropical and all kinds of radio songs. The charts she hasn’t yet graced are Christian, Christian AC, Gospel, Holiday (aka Christmas Carols), Latin Rhythm, Mainstream Rock, Rap and Regional Mexican. It’s only a matter of time, I say.

Chances are you may not have known that many of these genres and subgenres exist. Most surprisingly, they represent only a tiny fraction of the number of genres on Spotify. Raise your hand if you are a fan of “hard dance” or “mallsoft”. It turns out that there is almost 5,700 models under which the streaming service classifies the sounds. So it’s no wonder that some artists, perhaps out of sheer exhaustion or frustration, choose the more generic names from the list, for example “world”, when categorizing their music.

Adele is often described as a singer-songwriter, a term that has become synonymous with pop. However, as the range of charts she has climbed shows, her songs cross multiple formats. “Singer-songwriter,” I observed, is commonly used by independent Indian artists to describe themselves. To me this indicates the involvement of the guitar or keys to accompany self-written introspective lyrics. But like the words “electronic musician” which don’t say much about the range of styles a DJ / producer can play, it doesn’t quite do justice to the range of sound of an act.

Today’s most exciting music comes from artists who draw on and incorporate a range of musical influences. This year Indian singer-songwriters including Dhruv Visvanath, Mali and Tejas have released albums that showcase a vast and diverse set of inspirations. Recently, the music that has excited me the most is that of more recent artists such as singer duo Ranj x producer-guitarist Clifr, who blend harmoniously with R&B, pop and hip-hop, and the ensemble by T.ill Apes, which brings together rap, jazz, funk and rock.

I was attracted enough by their outings to finally venture out and attend my first real concert since March 2020, knowing full well that the number of people wearing masks on the site would be single digits. (The advantage, if you can call it that, whether these were upcoming acts, was that there were places where one was available to maintain a reasonable distance from the other participants. .)

I admit that as a journalist, I find genres useful because they help me describe music. At the same time, I can fully understand why musicians find them restrictive, even though it is unfair to say that they are only used for commercial purposes, to help music slots in record stores and radio stations. .

Yet in today’s playlist-driven world, where songs are tagged and heard by mood, genres seem to become less and less relevant, especially during the songwriting process.

Other areas where gender-lisation of music remains important are festivals and awards. Then again, more and more festivals are scheduling line-ups by matching artist popularity with stage sizes, indicating that audiences care less about genres. As for the awards, in recent years artists have expressed their displeasure at being poorly categorized. Last year, Justin Bieber was upset as the songs from his 2020 R&B album Changes was nominated in pop fields for the 2021 Grammys. This time around (2022) his nods have been split across both categories.

The denomination of genres has also been criticized. When Tyler, the creator won the award for best rap album for his 2019 record Igor in 2020 it critical the organizers for always putting “guys who look like him” in the “rap or urban” categories every time they do “anything of the genre”, adding that the term “urban” was only a substitute politically correct for “the n-word.”

The Grammys responded by abandoning the “urban” awards, but this year have again named Tyler, The Creator in the best rap album. In the same vein, they renowned “Best Music in the World” to “Best Music in the World,” a decision which suggested that the Recording Academy was in such a dilemma with this particular problem that it decided that the only way to solve the problem was to invest in a thesaurus.

The 2022 nominations are more a reflection of how artists transcend genres. With 11 nods, the most for any act, Jon Batiste is ready to have a great night out at the ceremony in January 2022. Songs from his LP We are, which is in the running for Best Album, have been nominated in R&B, Jazz and American Roots. The versatile American musician is also up for the trophy for best contemporary classical composition.

Closer to home is Bollywood music, which is frequently and wrongly referred to as a genre. Hindi film composers are infamous for co-opting new musical styles soon after their appearance, and while Bollywood music is not a genre in itself, it and its ‘non-film’ brother do include genres. unofficial. One joke I make at music conferences that never fails to amuse international delegates is that in India, instead of traditional genres, mainstream music is categorized as “sad love”, “happy love” and “party.” ”, With“ sad love ”being the most popular by far.

But this is no joke. In this year’s edition of All About Music, submissions for the “Pitch Your Songs To Filmmakers” session were categorized into three themes: “Love”, “Pain” and “Party”. Love them or hate them, genres are what you make of them.

Amit Gurbaxani is a Mumbai-based journalist who has been writing about music, especially the country’s independent scene, for nearly two decades. he tweets @TheGroovebox.

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