Formulae of Genre

While talking about his hit song on the Song Exploder podcast (you know the one), Rick Astley* described many of the songs by his production team (the hottest pop house in the UK at the time) as “very, very two keyboards and a drum machine.”

Which made me think about hip hop: 2 turntables & a microphone.

And country: 3 chords & the truth.

And punk: 3 chords & a band (some might say: 3 chords & an attitude).

Which made me think about similar formulae for other genres.

Funk: the one & a groove.

Reggae: a bassline & a backbeat

Blues: 12 bars & a story.

Everything has a rule book or a way of being done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own.

Or this:

(Jazz is: tear it up and/or burn it down but keep it swingin'.)


*Yes, this might all just be an elaborate Rick Rolling


Unrelated, listening to this episode made me think of a song I love: She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals. I have a weird strain of 80’s nostalgia for someone who can only very tentatively say they’re an 80’s baby.


Randomize me, cap'n!
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