Why Disco Should Stay Dead


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Great music will never die, but some genres were so specific to a certain time period, that they’ve either become a joke or seem unimaginable in modern society. These music genres of decades past are probably gone for good— and should stay forgotten.

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Although 1990s fashion is making a reoccurrence, the grunge era of rock feels one and done. Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden focused their lyrics on angst and misery and were a response to excessive 80’s metal. The grunge movement even became its own culture of noncomformation. But with Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, grunge faded away, and not even Gen Z’s 90’s style can bring it back.

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Before Gwen Stefani was an overdone plastic surgery monster married to a country star, her band No Doubt defined the short but sweet ska era of the 1990s. The Los Angeles music scene also produced bands like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Sublime, which featured huge horn sections and wearing lots of baggy plaid pants. Given what Stefani has morphed into, we can safely say ska won’t be returning.

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Glam Metal

Also known as hair metal, this music genre of the 1980s got its name for a reason. Bands such as Poison, Bon Jovi, and Motley Crue all featured artists with huge sprayed hair, tight spandex pants and makeup that made them prettier than the women they sang about. Eventually, the genre became oversaturated by too many similar bands and died out, proving hairspray doesn’t have the power to stay long.

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New Wave

The 1980s were all about electronics and new wave music exemplified that, starting in Europe before trending in America. New Order, The Cure, and Devo defined the scene, with music that heavily featured synthesizers and crazy guitar riffs. But eventually, the genre began to feel as dated as the hairstyles worn by members of A Flock of Seagulls.

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A blend of pop-punk music with a dash of new wave, emo tunes of the early 2000s focused on being angsty and misunderstood. It was the anti-movement to the Brtiney Spears/boy band phenomenon. My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and Dashboard Confessional listeners also wore skinny jeans and black eyeliner to signify their torture. As emo kids grew up, they outgrew their misery and got a job.

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Gangsta Rap

In the late 1980’s, gangsta rap exploded with the group N.W.A. and their hit album “Straight Outta Compton”, which focused on violent gang life in Los Angeles. Listeners could not get enough of the genre, with artists like Tupac, Dr. Dre, and the Notorious B.I.G. becoming legends. Tupac’s death turned the table, and with the music’s emphasis on drugs, crime and misogyny, it’s not a bad thing that rap has moved away from a gangsta focus.

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Boy Bands

While arguably not a genre or known for one type of sound, boy bands, from the Jackson 5 to One Direction, all have something in common: Making girls scream and swoon, not necessarily from originality and talent. There were two decades in particular when boy bands ruled the radio: the 1990s (think New Kids on the Block) and the 2000s, with Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and 98 Degrees leading the pack. These days, boy bands just aren’t the phenomenon they once were, with Taylor Swift seemingly singlehandedly taking over the screaming tween space.

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Disco dominated the airwaves in the late 1970s thanks to artists like Donna Summers, Gloria Gaynor, and the Bee Gees. Everyone did dances like the Hustle and the Bump. All-disco radio stations became a thing, proving that too much means it’s soon to die. The infamous Disco Demolition Night in particular turned the tables. Fans of the Chicago White Sox baseball team were allowed to see them play for just one dollar if they handed in a disco record, effectively pledging to kill off disco once and for all.

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Yacht Rock

Also known as smooth rock, the tunes of this time frame between the late 70s and early 80s combined several genres: Smooth soul, smooth jazz, R&B, funk, rock, and disco all in one. Think of musicians like Kenny Loggins, Hall and Oates, Chicago, and plenty of visions of men in white blazers. Today, these songs have a distinct “supermarket” sound.

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Nu Metal

With intense beats and angry lyrics, nu metal artists like Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park, and Limp Bizkit were huge hits in the late 1990s. The sound was a furious combination of metal, rap, and punk. But soon enough, there were too many nu metal bands riding the wave. The cool factor was killed, and suddenly Kid Rock and the likes were more a joke than genius.

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