Last week we published a rather lighthearted selection of musical genres that should never, ever be revived, a selection that nevertheless managed to upset a bunch of our readers (apologies, Phil Collins and acid jazz fans, I had no idea there were so many of you). As a thought experiment, we got to thinking about genres we would like to see revived but aren’t currently undergoing any such process. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, given that music is in a constant state of self-renewal — there are very few genres left fallow for long, and if they are, it’s for a reason (it’s no accident, for instance, that no one is screaming for a crunkcore revival). But still, here are ten genres that are well overdue renewed attention. Let us know if you’ve any to add.
Just as music goes in cycles, so too does its aesthetic — from flamboyance to the lack thereof and back again. This is all very well, but with the occasional exception, rock ‘n’ roll has been mired in the we-just-play-our-instruments-and-everything-else-is-a-distraction philosophy for far too long. It’d be great to see at least a few (good) bands glamming up again, if only to provide an antidote to the determined anonymity of the majority of today’s indie bands.
808 beats, big dirty basslines, and decidedly lascivious lyrics — this was (and is) the best genre ever for cruising along a palm-lined boulevard in a low-riding car that can bounce up and down on those hydraulic wheel pump thingamajigs. Bring back the booty bass! See also…
If you transplant booty bass from the boulevard to sweaty Detroit clubs of questionable legality, turn down the lights and speed up the beats, this is basically what you get. It’s nasty, it’s dirty, and it’s all kinds of awesome. In fairness, ghettotech has never really gone away, but it’s never hit the mainstream, either. With the popularity of tech house these days, maybe this is finally the time for it to do so.
This is a rather nebulous genre descriptor, but basically we’re talking about Arab Strap. Bring back Arab Strap. And basically any other band who slur sordid kitchen-sink dramas in thick Glaswegian accents. But really, Arab Strap. The world needs you.
Sure, there’s Dam-Funk over on the West Coast, invoking the power of his magical keytar to keep the sputtering flame of the funk alive. But he’s fighting a lonely fight — and it’s shame, because funk was fun. It’s curious that no matter how much people have mined the legacy of the ’70s, there’s never been a full-blown P-funk revival. Given how influential funk has been on the evolution of hip hop — Parliament and Funkadelic have been sampled to death over the years — it’s a surprise that there aren’t more contemporary bands exploring the music’s legacy.
This was always a problematic genre — its protagonists generally wanted no part of the label, and it was over almost before it began. But boy, it was fun while it lasted, an antidote to the stodgy seriousness of late-’90s techno and the overwhelming cheesiness of commercial trance. Sadly, by the mid-’00s, electroclash’s luminaries had generally disowned the genre — what was left of the sound devolved into the largely dire electro-house, and that was basically it. But nearly a decade has passed, so maybe the time is nigh for a revival?
Its pounding, high-tempo beats and frenetic rhythms live on in a variety of genres — most notably the sound that’s come to be called dubstep — but the dark, claustrophobic sound of old school jungle is rarely to be found in clubs or on record these days. Given how insanely successful dubstep has turned out to be, it’s surely time to return to the origin — and anyway, Goldie’s teeth are way better than Skrillex’s haircut.
This is pure nostalgia, but the relatively hard-edged, coke-fueled, dancehall-centric direction Jamaican music has taken over the last decade or so has left your correspondent rather wistful for the gently melodic sounds of 1960s rocksteady, the genre that gave birth to what we eventually came to know as reggae. It’d be pleasing to hear it make some sort of a comeback.
A sort of club-centric ’90s take on New Romanticism, romo was briefly championed by Melody Maker but never achieved anything like mainstream popularity — which is a shame, because it was pretty great. The short-lived but entirely awesome Plastic Fantastic’s genre classic “Fantastique No. 5” was like a three-and-a-half-minute distillation of Brian Eno’s entire Here Come the Warm Jets album, packaged up for the indie club dance floor, and it’s a fine introduction to romo’s charms.
No, not punk rock, which has never really gone away. I’m talking about pre-orthodoxy punk, before it got splayed between the twin poles of no-fun-ever hardcore and look-at-my-wiener-dude cartoon pop punk. Before it devolved into a creative straitjacket, punk was about self-expression and self-exploration. If we’re going to continue to make the cadaver of punk dance for everyone’s amusement, can it at least be the 1975 version that’s doing a jig?