Saturday, March 31, 2007

Apparently 'hardcore' isn't what I thought it was any more

A while ago I had a few days off from work, so I figured I'd listen to a few shows on XM radio that, because of scheduling, I don't usually get to. One I listened to was SlamALot, the proclaimed hardcore show on Fungus 43.

Apparently 'hardcore' isn't what I thought it was any more.

I'm not talking about other uses of the word. A reasonable person isn't going to mix up what I was thinking of with, say, hardcore dance or hardcore (as opposed to softcore) adult stuff. Although the World Wildlife Fund did win a suit that forced the World Wrestling Federation to change names (who exactly would have trouble differentiating conservationists from a pro wrestling organization?), so maybe I don't understand the word 'reasonable' either.

I am talking about 'hardcore' as a specific musical genre. So what did I hear on SlamALot? To be sure, plenty of stuff I would think of as hardcore. But also a lot of stuff I would classify as metal, or at best crossover.

It's just a label, so why does it matter? Imagine someone pours you a bowl of Froot Loops. When you take a bite, it tastes like Cheerios. Cheerios are good, but you wanted Froot Loops!

I was looking for Froot Loops and got a lot of Cheerios.

As an aside, I've had this conversation before. I was talking with the bassist for a local metal group, and she (yes, she) expressed the opinion that metal and hardcore were the same thing. My counterargument was the band DRI.

DRI championed a genre (and recorded an album) known as crossover. Crossover between what, you may ask. Why, hardcore and metal. If they are the same thing, how can they be crossed?

Labels ultimately are irrelevant. If it sounds good to you, listen to it. Who really cares what a reviewer or marketer calls it.

But then again, Froot Loops ...

[Yes, it does get a little more complicated than that. In reviews Maximum Rock and Roll magazine often dispensed entirely with the idea of genres, saying simply "This sounds a little like the Descendents" or whatever. Unfortunately this only works if you have some background in the type of music being discussed. Saying a band sounds like Dead Silence crossed with Sons of Ishmael isn't going to do most folks any good.]

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