Genre bending

I’d argue that if you’ve never found yourself in a lengthy, heated debate about music genres, then you’re not really a music fan. Some people regard these labels as gospel, while others find them either useless or misleading. I tend to fall into the latter category, because these days nothing fits into the neat little package that it used to (e.g. grunge, pop, rock). At one time, these were accurate and useful. Today, they are meaningless and require extensive sub-genres to make any sense.

One of these genres that seems to take the most flak is ‘world music’. Cyberspace is full of debates (like this one) where each side, those for the term and those against, make valid arguments. Again, I find myself strongly agreeing that the term doesn’t do the music justice, but then again, any other term tends to fall short as well.

That is why I got really excited when I came across the story of Yohio – a Swedish 16 year-old boy, who shreds the guitar, dresses like a anime doll, sings in Japanese and sounds like a man. This kid is breaking so many genre/gender rules, it’s brilliant! What do you call his music? Could it Japanese? Could it be world/rock/pop/punk/goth?

The track ‘Sky Limit’, seems to start out poppy enough, but then it goes into almost hard-core metal breaks with proper grunge screaming all sung in Japanese. And the voice is definitely male, but you would never guess from the looks of him.

So what do you think? Is it necessary that we find some label to slap on this music, or can we be satisfied with its genre-less what-the-fuckery?


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