->''"Improvisational jazz banjoists are shot on sight!"''
-->-- '''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'''

A music genre that critics [[{{Hatedom}} hate on principle]]. If a work or creator is from one of the forbidden genres, it is automatically bad, no matter what the creator or work makes. A critic who actually likes any of this stuff has to bend over backward, apologizing that these works are GuiltyPleasures and they know [[FanHater they shouldn't like the stuff]]. Some critics seem unable to write a review of works they like without an obligatory kick to the dead horse -- "this is so much better than that other crap!" Times when these genres were popular are declared to be the DorkAge.

Amateur critics on the Web aren't quite as dogmatic as the professionals, because the amateurs aren't part of an establishment that declares who is hot and who is not. But since anybody with an internet connection and library can be a critic, amateurs often have their own personal Dead Horse Genre, which they flog as hard as the professionals do with theirs.

Of course, a lot of these genres really are full of rubbish. But so are genres that the critics like -- SturgeonsLaw strictly applies. If you're a fan of this stuff and you want reviews, you may have to go to a specialized web site that only covers that one genre.

So why kick a genre until it's a dead horse? Because critics regard what they do as SeriousBusiness. They're trying to calculate the canon of Great Works here, and there's no room for anything less. They seem to think that [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans if enough people consume good works]], people will start giving out flowers and candy and overthrow TheMan and cure cancer, but if they consume bad works, people will have their souls crushed and vote to establish fascism. Some music critics with strong political beliefs go further -- some are still angry that the decline of music in the late 60s prevented the revolution that was so, so close at hand! (They seem to forget, or never even realized, that so many of these works were brought to us by - and perhaps never would have been without - [[TheManIsStickingItToTheMan corporate entities]].)

Another reason for this is that entire genres have been created by taking a style the creators hate, and then doing the exact opposite. Critics who like these rebel genres have to pan the ones they rebelled against. Maybe both genres have something to offer? Don't be silly! [[SeriousBusiness This is art]], and [[WithUsOrAgainstUs there's only one way to do things]].

Sometimes, a genre turns into a dead horse through a mix of HypeBacklash and ItsPopularNowItSucks; the work hit a peak level of popularity where it appears to be everywhere, and both the public and the critics get sick of it.

Most of these genres have one or two exceptions, the creators that the critics like in spite of it all. Of course, the critics usually spend their time trying to explain that no, these bands [[NoTrueScotsman aren't really part of the hated genre at all]]-- although it should be noted that in some cases this is more true than others.

For those people who haven't figured it out yet, most music criticism is very close to FanDumb and HateDumb. See also SciFiGhetto.

Note that the list doesn't include very old nearly-forgotten genres like motet.

[[WMG:The Big List of Dead Horse Genres:]]

!!Arena Rock

There ain't no respect for 1970s bands who made songs specifically for arena spectacles, like Music/{{Foreigner}} and Music/REOSpeedwagon. Critics regard them as pompous, fake, and not real music because their songs aren't really played -- they're performed. Especially to fans of ThreeChordsAndTheTruth, this is unacceptable. And since arena rockers usually wrote straightforward lyrics, those who feel that TrueArtIsAngsty have nothing.

Arena rock is notable for being a Dead Horse Genre that also has a band that is usually loved or liked even by the people who hate the genre: Music/{{Queen}}, who were a lot more willing to experiment and do odd things than most Arena Rock bands.


A sub-type of heavy metal from the 1980s, bands like Music/{{Poison}}, Music/BonJovi, and Music/MotleyCrue inspire a lot of hate, even from people who love other kinds of heavy metal. Critics dismiss it as nothing but make-up, big hair, fancy costumes, and videos, with no room for actual music in there. (Wilson & Alroy, the first big amateur music reviewers on the web, refuse to review hair metal albums for any reason.) Among professional critics, hair metal had the misfortune of being too tied to the 1980s rock "establishment," especially MTV. 1990s [[{{Grunge}} Grunge music]] was a rebellion against hair metal, like [[PunkRock Punk]] was a rebellion against [[ProgressiveRock Prog Rock]], so when grunge became the critical darling of MTV, there was soon no place for hair metal among the pros.

!!Show Tunes

Rock critics don't usually like (or know much about) music that isn't rock, but they're wary of attacking genres that they know they don't understand. So they leave Classical, Blues, Jazz, and "World" alone. But Broadway show tunes don't have the mystique that makes those other genres so scary. If it was sung in a theater, rock critics dismiss it as sappy, soulless stuff for lame fifty-something white people in 1955. One of the stock funny anecdotes among music critics is that Music/MarvinGaye, the master of suave Motown love ballads with soul, originally wanted to sing showtunes.

Incidentally, musical theater fans have their own Dead Horse Genres: {{Jukebox Musical}}s, European pop operas such as the output of Creator/AndrewLloydWebber, Creator/{{Disney}} musicals, etc. The hate for those is similar to the hate others have for Manufactured Bands (see below).

!!Mainstream Radio

Albums by the likes of Music/FleetwoodMac or Music/{{Eagles}} -- which seem to consist of the same song repeated for seven tracks or more -- send a shiver down the spine of many a critic. After all, it's produced by {{The Man|IsStickingItToTheMan}}, who is the root of all evil (but not [[Series/RootOfAllEvil that one]]); and it probably got played due to payola anyway. The fact that lots of people love it is only proof that it's bad -- what do the proles know, anyway? Also currently applies to bands such as Music/{{Nickelback}} which have the "sold 10 million albums but I don't know anyone who owns one" type of fanbase.

!!Manufactured Bands

Probably more of a target for amateur critics than professionals, this genre is also the one that most non-critics who start getting interested in music will hate the most. From Fabian and Music/TheMonkees to Music/{{NSYNC}} and Music/BritneySpears, performers who serve as faces for a faceless team of composers are viewed as outright traitors to music. They are the monster, the roots of the evil corporate machine that suppresses true music. They perform catchy but empty pop designed to hypnotize teenagers into becoming shopping-obsessed zombies. They... well, you know the drill. The average critic cares a lot about sincerity, so singers who only sing (instead of writing their own material) are unacceptable (depending on how long ago the artist came to prominence -- no one's criticising Music/NatKingCole or Music/FrankSinatra for not writing their own tunes...) Professional critics have to (publicly) give 'equal time' to modern manufactured bands for obvious reasons, but are free to trash selected out-of-date whipping boys (like the Monkees) with gusto. And don't even mention the words "Milli Vanilli" around them.

The older bands suffer the same fate as hair metal -- manufactured bands prospered most between Music/{{Elvis|Presley}} getting drafted and Music/TheBeatles arriving, so they are seen as the horror which the Beatles saved music from. Speaking of "older", note that in recent years manufactured bands and their intended demographic are getting ''younger''- Miley Cyrus, Music/TheJonasBrothers and ''Series/TheNakedBrothersBand'' are presumably marketed to kids whose parents think they're [[NewMediaAreEvil too young to go on the Internet]]. Interestingly, manufactured bands targeted toward girls get far, far, ''far'' more criticism than those targeted toward boys even if their music is of the ''exact same quality''. Manufactured bands targeted at girls almost always acquire the PeripheryHatedom of their generation.

In Britain, much of the ire for manufactured bands is specifically directed at contestants from ''Series/TheXFactor'' or ''Series/BritainsGotTalent'' who actually started musical careers. While some manage to acquire mainstream acceptance, many are derided for appealing to the LowestCommonDenominator and existing solely to "steal" the Christmas Number One single spot with a cover version to validate the existence of the programme (with the back cover of several ''Pop Stars: The Rivals'' VHS tapes actually implying the the Christmas number one was the prize for winning the programme). The backlash against this seems to have culminated with the successful 2009 Facebook campaign to put "[[Music/RageAgainstTheMachine Killing In the Name]]" at the top of the Christmas singles chart. Generally, the ire isn't ''really'' directed at [[ScapegoatCreator the singer themselves]] - evidenced by the success of Leona Lewis and the praise for [=JLS=] attempting to be original with their material - but at the system which got them into the position (and [[MeanBrit Simon Cowell]]).

As noted above, many critics generally don't hate manufactured artists as much as one would think. Music/BritneySpears? ''Oops!... I Did It Again'', ''Britney'', ''In The Zone'', ''Circus'' and ''Blackout'' have all averaged around three stars or more in reviews. Music/TheMonkees have also been somewhat VindicatedByHistory lately. Music/JustinBieber and Music/TheJonasBrothers also don't receive, for the most part, overly negative reviews on their albums. Indifference moreso than dislike is probably the most common critical reaction.

Viewpoints about the Music/SexPistols vary: they started as a band manufactured by Malcolm [=McLaren=], but with the addition of John Lydon his influence over them was heavily diminished. Subsequently they initiated the first wave of British punk, with bands like the Clash and the Buzzcocks citing them as the direct reason they formed. After Lydon left, [=McLaren=] tried to keep the band going, resulting in disasters such as ''The Great Rock and Roll Swindle''.

In some cases, if a manufactured band breaks up then regroups a few years later when they're a bit older and wiser, there's sometimes a good chance that they will manage to win the favour of critics and the public. Music/TakeThatBand is a pretty good example.

Also, starting in TheNewTens there is a small boy band resurgence in the Britain (Like Music/OneDirection, 5 Seconds of Summer, TheWanted and The Vamps; although the former two would eventually blow up internationally) but girl groups are still out of the question as groups like Girlicous and Music/PussycatDolls fell by the wayside.

Finally, outright parody bands such as [[Film/ThisIsSpinalTap Spinal Tap]] may get a bye on the basis that they were really attacking the sort of band they pretend to be.

In Asia, there appears to be somewhat less resistance in accepting Boy Bands/Girl Bands; groups like Big Bang and the Music/HelloProject still sell in Korea and Japan. It likely helps that they're generally willing to mock themselves relentlessly. Furthermore, J-Pop singers often have other people write and/or compose their songs (Music/YokoKanno partnering with Creator/MaayaSakamoto on numerous albums, for example). It's not really a negative, nor is it decried as "manufactured" (at least not over and above what American critics think of the dancy, peppy J-pop genre as it is).


NuMetal is an umbrella term coined in the mid-1990s to refer to music that blends heavy metal elements with other styles, typically {{Industrial}} and AlternativeMetal. NuMetal is hated by many metalheads, who stereotype it as commercial and musically simple. It's also hated by many non-metalheads, who view it as crass, misogynistic and pointlessly obnoxious - a bunch of {{Jerk Jock}}s "stealing" the clothes of the weird kids (a sentiment ironically felt within nu metal itself later on). In fact, there are many that argue NuMetal isn't even a subgenre of metal, but rather a fusion genre that happens to have noticeable elements of metal in it. Some music critics argue that it is an experimental and diverse genre, which it very well could have been if the more commercially viable elements hadn't been milked to death. The original concept lives on as AvantGardeMetal to some degree, but outside of a few acts that either abandoned the more disliked aspects of the genre or simply got too big to die, the genre of nu metal itself is still largely viewed as a punchline for jokes about late-Nineties suburban excess.

As with arena rock above, a few bands did manage to escape the critical pasting associated with nu metal, such as Music/DirEnGrey and Music/SystemOfADown (of course, there are plenty of people who'll insist neither act was ever a nu metal band). Again, this is likely due to their [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly diverse]], [[GenreRoulette experimental]] [[GenreBusting sound]].


Many think the genre died in the late 90's (Music/DrDre himself thinks so as well). But this is somewhat contested because some (mostly horribly out-of-touch MoralGuardians) think it's still the popular hip hop genre. The problem with this is that a lot of hip hop that didn't fall into the indie, pop, or alternative banner was automatically placed under the gangsta rap umbrella term...unfairly or not. Usually by cynical alt/indie rap fans. Also the grittier type 1 variants are dead, while a glossier LighterAndSofter version exists in its place.
* The alternate interpretation on how gangsta rap died is that it suffered from biased [[LighterAndSofter censorship and homogenization]]. Turning it into GlamRap.
* One could make the case for GangstaRap being an [[UndeadHorseTrope Undead Horse Genre]].

!!Political Rap

Most rappers who get on their soap box are considered preachy, pretentious and irrelevant now. In general there's a backlash towards rap music like this (including the aforementioned Gangsta Rap, and alt rap) from the mainstream rap fans. Likely because of the resentment from the fans of those particular genres that's usually aimed at pure mainstream rap fans. So in essence its a backlash against the CriticalBacklash....If that makes any sense. So a lot of mainstream rap fans, and mainstream rap outlets (including BET, and apparently MTV) dismiss them as irrelevant. Basically any hip-hop that isn't club-oriented, trendy, safe, and radio-friendly is considered "played out" or not cool to like. Or it could all just be a defense mechanism for mainstream fans to justify their taste in current pure mainstream hip-hop. Conscious hip-hop has also gotten a few criticisms as well given rise to derogatory terms like "Niggas with Ankhs", and "Sistas with Headwraps".


After floating around in the outer reaches of the record industry for decades, the success of African-American musical genres like jazz, blues, soul and funk in the 1960s finally brought it to the forefront by the beginning of the 1970s. However, many objected to the glitzy, [[FlamboyantGay camped-out]] commercialism, claiming it "sucked all of the soul" out of the music. Disco came under a backlash from two sides - white rock fans despised the genre due to its [[WolverinePublicity ubiquity]] and perceived threat to RockAndRoll's dominance, while black {{Funk}} fans trashed the genre as soulless, vapid and stupid, angry over how it pushed their heroes (Music/JamesBrown, Music/GeorgeClinton et al.) and hard-edged funk out of the charts. When the hammer fell on the genre, it fell ''hard'', and [[DeaderThanDisco practically no one will now admit]] to having come within a billion miles of it at its height. "X was into disco in the 70s" jokes are practically a staple of the SitCom genre. It tried to resurrect itself in disguise as 80s High-Energy, but could not reclaim its once-lofty position. Notably, although it can't retake the position it once held, time has helped to soften the once incredibly harsh attitudes towards the genre; especially with a growing set of generations that have since come up without all the vitriol aimed at it. This has allowed certain elements of Disco music to come back with a modern flair in a better fashion than its' prior 80's resurrection attempt.

Some critics may admit to liking a few disco acts - Music/TheBeeGees, Music/{{Abba}}, Music/{{Blondie}}, and Music/{{Chic}} still maintain good critical reputations. Of course, some of these acts long predated disco and others didn't perform the style exclusively. It was also a fairly major influence on early hip-hop and was also one of the more prominent genres in the musical potpourri that was post-punk and New Wave.

!!Lounge Music/Easy Listening

Lounge Music has always earned the loathing of critics even in heyday of the mid-1960s and early 1970s, being typified as the musical equivalent of Valium. 'Easy Listening' derivatives of Jazz especially earn the enmity of rock critics -- even those unfamiliar with jazz in general -- because it is seen as a neutered form of a real genre. Popular acts such as Music/BarryManilow in the 1970s and Kenny G. in the 1990s are especially reviled for being both banal and successful -- Manilow especially for admitting to doing the most soulless of music before turning to pop: commercial {{jingle}}s. New Age/Worldbeat music, like Yanni or Enigma's output, is usually lumped into this category.

An interesting subsect of this would be vaporwave - no relation to VaporWare - a music which sounds like stereotypical "Easy Listening" music. It became subject to MemeticMutation for a few months in 2014, but fell out as the meme became [[DiscreditedMeme discredited]]. It still has some fans, but for the most part, died as fast as it came.

!!Songfestival pop

In Europe, everything and everyone that has anything to do with the Series/EurovisionSongContest is reviled by critics. This includes such acts as Music/{{ABBA}}.


Some say Neo-Soul is dead. Considering in the early 2000s it was getting A LOT of mainstream buzz (mostly because of Music/AliciaKeys). With singers like Maxwell, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Music/JillScott, Angie Stone, Lina, India.Arie, Music Soulchild Et Cetera. But by the mid 2000s interest faded away.

!!Contemporary R&B
In the words of Music/{{Pink}} (whose first album was R&B) ''"Nobody wants to hear a love song that you don't mean"''. Not just the genre itself but arguably the love and romance of Contemporary R&B is dead. Replaced by songs dealing with trashy soap opera, Jerry Springer topics. With more vocal gymnastics and some vague, treacly high-pitched sound in the background. The fusion of modern R&B to hip-hop tends to dilute both these Genres. Interestingly enough Contemporary R&B pushed soul music off the charts.

!!New Jack Swing

Ironically the fusion genre that pushed Contemporary R&B off the charts is also deader than a door nail. Its heavy hip-hop influence was its undoing: the harder hip-hop acts, primarily the early, socially-conscious gangsta rap movement, criticized it as a watered-down version of their own music, incorporating their production techniques but commercialized for a wider audience and missing the core message. Rapper Music/IceCube, in his song "Wrong Nigga To Fuck Wit," uttered the immortal line, "It ain't no pop 'cause that sucks/And you can new jack swing on my nuts." By the end of the early 90's, it had faded away. Others place the blame on its over saturation on urban radio. It didn't help that 90% of it was produced by the same producer (Teddy Riley), giving different artists the same redundant production style.

!!Traditional Anime Theme Songs
Back in the 70s most animes had their own catchy theme songs. However during the 80s it was slowly phased out for J-pop or J-Rock tracks which are easy to license and seem more normal for listening. Good luck finding a theme song for anything past kids shows nowadays. Even Franchise/KamenRider is a bit more unconventional with its newer openings and end theme songs than, say, Franchise/SuperSentai. This was heavily lampshaded in ''LightNovel/{{Kampfer}}'' as Kaede speaks of anime openings being normal compared to say cartoon openings. Helps that thanks to increasing deals and connections between studios, networks, and production groups - the songs are now commonly used as a way to help sell that particular artist just as much as the show itself.

!!Smooth Jazz
Kenny G and all that. It's often the only jazz you'll hear on the radio unless you listen to NPR at 1:00 AM Saturday morning, or as non-offensive background music for the local forecast on The Weather Channel (which has actually issued compilations of smooth jazz in the past). It's also the one form of jazz critics feel free to trash. It probably doesn't help that most porn now uses smooth jazz for the "action" scenes.

!! Super Eurobeat
It's been produced for more than 20 years, but it looks like its number is almost up, it's fallen out of popularity even in its main market, Japan. Para Para dancing, its raison d'etre, has also mostly gone out of style and is largely considered a passing fad. Dave Rodgers (Giancarlo Pasquini), one of the founding fathers of the genre, is himself abandoning Eurobeat and moving to other styles, along with the ''Manga/InitialD'' anime adaptation ending in 2014 (probably one of the reasons why one would know about the genre) and phasing it out in favor of J-rock in the newer Legend movies (big-screen remakes of First Stage), there's no sense in [[{{Pun}} Eurobeating a dead horse]].
* The genre has seen a slow but noticeable revival in recent years, with many electronic musicians, [=DJs=] and remix musicians experimenting with it once again, partly due to a renewed popularity in many circles (mainly due to MemeticMutation, {{Speedy Techno Remix}}es and JapanesePopMusic). Its renewed influence can be seen in various forms of hard Techno and Trance music, with Happy Hardcore (and to a lesser extent, Hard Trance) being heavily influenced by it.

As in Mainstream Radio above, these bands are often accused of being repetitive and banal -- if not outright bashed, there's a good chance that they'll be described as "middle-of-the-road, comfort food rock". These bands tend to fall in the [[CriticProof sold millions of albums but nobody seems to actually like them]] trap. It's also unpopular among fans of the original grunge bands, who see it as a watered-down, mainstream-baiting response to an "authentic" rock movement. The genre died out in TheNewTens, with the few bands that didn't sing about SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll [[NewSoundAlbum adopting elements of other genres]] in order to keep their chart success alive. Most of the bands who refused to change their sound are invariably DeaderThanDisco.

Similar to the criticisms of ArenaRock: these bands offend critical sensibilities, which tend sharply toward ThreeChordsAndTheTruth. Not only do they do [[EpicRocking extremely long songs]], they tend to write [[WordSaladLyrics incomprehensible lyrics]] to go with them.

!!Ska Punk
For about two years between the start of 1996 and the end of 1997, third wave ska was pretty big in America, propelled into the charts by multi-platinum albums like ''[[Music/NoDoubt Tragic Kingdom]]'' and ''Music/{{Sublime}}''. However, after its brief time in the limelight third wave ska basically disappeared, and many bands (including No Doubt and Music/TheAquabats) changed their sound.

As far as the fandom went, ska punk occupied an uncomfortable position; it was simultaneously seen as geekish (many ska groups were former band geeks, and there's a curious tendency towards ska musicians being OneOfUs) and [[JerkJock fratboyish]] (due to the party anthems many groups became known for and the inclusion of ska songs in late nineties comedy movie soundtracks). Further, third wave ska was often criticised for straying too far from the original Jamaican style (and even the British revivalists who'd been popular in the eighties), hence the derogatory "punk with horns" nickname.

This is mostly a case of an album being released that was so good - namely Music/MyBloodyValentine's ''Loveless'' - that no other shoegaze act could possibly hope to live up to it, so critics took to panning the overwhelming number of shoegaze records that were released after that point just on principle. It doesn't help that My Bloody Valentine themselves took ''twenty-two years'' to release the record's follow-up. In TheNoughties the genre did undergo something of a revival, but most of the acts are still negatively compared to MBV.

A form of Japanese rock/folk music hybrid popular in the early to late 60s pioneered by bands such as The Tigers, The Spiders and The Tempters, it died a rather quick death immediately upon the introduction of guitar feedback into music, due to the rather large orchestral arrangements popular with Group Sounds bands being largely found impractical and laughably overwrought upon the introduction of heavier guitar playing into Japanese music, thus leading to the New Rock genre replacing GS largely as the biggest form of J-Rock in the 70s.

!!Hippie music (Not including PsychedelicRock)
Music performed by hippies as a primary component of the counterculture movement (think the gentle guitar and ukelele songs of UsefulNotes/CharlesManson) is largely considered tepid, boring and hypocritical. Largely, the type of folk music done by hippies has long been seen as dated and "lame" even for the time, even by people who enjoy 60s music.

An odd case is jam band, which is generally associated with "hippie music" but people mostly just ignore except to hate on Music/TheGratefulDead and their spiritual successors Music/{{Phish}}, or rather [[FanHater the fans who spend too much time following them]].

!!Country music

A marginal case. Most critics recognize that Country Music is Not Intended For Them, and so many ignore it. But even so, Country Music's post-approximately-1975 tendency towards mawkishness and sentimentality has made it a favorite whipping boy (and let's not get started on "Bro Country", which is probably worth a section in itself).

That being said, the genre is worth mentioning because it provides one of the most defensible cases of a "not part of the genre" defense of an artist: Music/JohnnyCash was, by the 1980s, thought by most country music executives to be washed up and incapable of attracting younger fans. Then he hooked up with producer Music/RickRubin for a series of recordings featuring covers of artists such as Nine Inch Nails in classic Johnny Cash style. These were a huge success with young AlternativeRock fans, revitalizing Cash's career.

!!Singer-Songwriter Style (aka [[WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows "White Guy With Acoustic Guitar"]])

The complaint here is that a single guy on a guitar or piano is, in essence, the simplest setup you can possibly have, bar a single singer singing acapella. While useful for demos, and songs that require that kind of simplicity (for example, a song clearly intended to show off the singer's raw singing ability), most songs using such a minimal setup do nothing to "earn" the usage of such minimalism, and instead convey the feeling that the artist only put in the bare minimum amount of effort necessary to release the song.