Thoughts, Opinions, Gripes, and Grievances

Kian Pfannenstiel, Writer

In the past, there were some absolutely fantastic genres of music that are now remembered fondly more than expanded by new or current bands, which is greatly disappointing. That said, there are also many that have been expanded and have evolved into a new, yet similar, form of music. I’ve provided you with a list of some of them and a vague description of the style. I’ve also included some recommended listening for you to follow if that genre interests you. For now, I’ll focus on the subgenres of rock, but there are many, many more.

Let’s start with grunge, a more recent genre with a band or two still playing it. Grunge gets its name from the dirty sound of the music and the unkempt appearance of most of its musicians. It uses feedback and fuzz with heavy guitars and lazy vocals to make its music. Some of the most successful grunge bands were Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Foo Fighters (one of , if not, the only current grunge bands), and Alice in Chains. This style of music rebelled against the overly groomed mainstream rock and the expensive style of punk. If you are intrigued by grunge, I’d recommend you listen to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “In Bloom” by Nirvana, “All My Life” and “The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters, “Jeremy” and “Alive” by Pearl Jam, and “Black-Hole Sun” by Soundgarden.

Punk, the parent of grunge, was incredibly popular for a while, and has its roots in garage rock. Punk was a deliberate rebellion against whatever was mainstream, ironically having a few mainstream bands like the Ramones. The music style varied greatly and had lots of different subgenres of itself. Should this interest you, I’d recommend listening to “Holiday/Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day, “Pet Semetary” by the Ramones (both more mainstream punk), and “Self Esteem” by the Offspring (maybe a little less well known, but still pretty popular).

Hair metal, or glam metal, wasn’t exactly good, but it was incredibly fun. That is, usually the quality of the writing of the music was pretty low, but it wasn’t supposed to be good, just fun. It used lots of electric guitar and loud, eccentric vocals. The theme was typally about sex or drugs or anti-authoritarianism, but there wasn’t really much consistency. Big bands in this genre were Twisted Sister, Ratt, Poison, and Quiet Riot. I use “big bands” loosely, because each band was a fad; wildly successful and popular but only for a short period of time. If glamorous and loud-ish are your cup of tea, the first songs to look into are “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister, “Round and Round” by Ratt, “Talk Dirty To Me” by Poison, and “Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot. (I know that the last song is spelled weirdly, but that’s how it is on the album, Metal Health).

Alternative rock, however, did stick around, and has evolved wonderfully into bands like Finger Eleven, Linkin Park, and Trapt (which can also be classified as punk). Prior to modern alternative rock, you had bands like the Cranberries playing their songs somewhere in between many genres of rock. If fusions of different genres and themes is right up your alley, look into “Zombie” by the Cranberries, “Numb” by Linkin Park, “I Will Not Bow” by Breaking Benjamin, and “Diamond Eyes” by Shinedown.

An honorable mention before I finish is heavy metal, which I personally cannot describe, so I have provided Wikipedia’s description: “With roots in blues rockpsychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre’s lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.” Some of the older heavy metal includes Dio (whose song “Holy Diver” was a massive hit, and I highly recommend), and Alice Cooper (he sang “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy, but the only people that really know anything else by him follow him pretty closely. I recommend anything by him). After that, Metallica took over as the rulers of heavy metal. Heavy metal never died, it just maintained a relatively small crowd, as best as I can tell. Modern heavy metal includes Five Finger Death Punch, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and the German band Rammstein. There are many subgenres of heavy metal, including hair metal and power metal. If loud and proud is your deal, look into any music by the bands above, there is too much variation in the style for me to give any sound recommendations.

I certainly hope y’all found this useful in some way. I only found Wikipedia as a source unblocked, and I’m a bit lazy, so if you don’t believe me on what I said, Wikipedia has all of these genres described on it, and I recommend you look them up. If you believe me, though,  just take my word for it. It doesn’t really matter. There isn’t anything of consequence in here.