"This is the thing about the historical adventures... they're not even a dead end of Doctor Who so much as a different show that inadvertently got made under the name of Doctor Who. So that watching them, the major work becomes trying to explain how the heck this story fits in between giant ants and whatever comes next week."Genre Roulette is what the name suggests: A single work that switches between distinct story genres, seemingly at random, e.g. a TV show switches from Comedy then Romance into Horror in just one episode. As it's hard enough to write well in one genre, Genre Roulette can be hard to pull off seriously. Comedies and parodies, on the other hand, usually don't raise any eyebrows when they do this, provided they continue to bring the funny. Musical Genre Roulette is closely related to Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly. The difference is that a Genre Roulette album can have a country song followed by a punk song, while an NPZR album will have a song that's country and punk at the same time. (For the curious, that genre actually exists and is known as cowpunk.) Making matters more complicated is that it is possible to write a song that fuses country and punk (which is NPZR) and a song that suddenly shifts from country to punk mid-song (which is probably more an example of Genre Roulette). For this reason it's often difficult to define where one trope ends and the next begins, especially since some bands liberally use both techniques. When applied to video game genres (i.e. the style of gameplay), it's Gameplay Roulette. Compare/contrast with Genre-Busting and Genre Adultery.
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Anime & Manga
- The Excel Saga anime played this with pretty much every episode being a parody of a certain genre. Everything from War Movies, to Dating Sims, to Sports, to Variety Shows to Post-Apocalyptic is given a once over. Excel Saga made a point of this, opening every episode with manga author Koshi Rikdo giving his (reluctant) approval to give the series a Genre Shift. The style and weirdness remained consistent enough despite this, however.
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. As a whole though, you can probably put it into Magical Realism, though every piece has its own defined genre.
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. It starts off with a parody of RPGs, follows up with a sci-fi/Giant Mech parody (including a mind-boggling time paradox involving a miscolored Gurren Lagann), and keeps juggling genres from there...
- Higurashi: When They Cry: It starts out looking like a generic story about some youths (potentially a Coming-of-Age Story or part of the Harem Genre) before abruptly switching into Psychological Horror. Then the second arc begins, repeating the cycle. Over the course of the series, it becomes clear that the story is actually a Mystery as well, and the last arcs add a dose of shounen action.
- Brigadoon: Marin and Melan is a sci-fi adventure drama, but it's also a middle-school Slice of Life show, a comedy with occasional parodic elements, and a teen romance. One minute you're in the middle of a serious political discussion at an alien council, and the next minute, the aliens are trying to settle their dispute with a pie fight. Serious Mood Whiplash may result.
- Gintama cycles between being a gag manga, completely serious battle manga, and heartwarming slice-of-life(well, as close as it can get in Alternate Universe historical Edo, anyways). According the Word of God each chapter is its own genre.
- Cowboy Bebop seamlessly combines the Space Western, Film Noir and Yakuza genres, among others.
- The Deadly Sins of Evil Light Novel series all have different kinds of stories for the respective arcs they detail in mothy's Evillious Chronicles franchise. The Lunacy Of Duke Venomania is a twisted romance, Evil Food Eater Conchita is a tragic horror story, Gift From The Princess Who Brought Sleep is a mystery novel, etc.
- Ah! My Goddess has been around for a while, and it goes through quite a few arcs that shake up the usual screwball Romantic Comedy for more serious fare. The classic Out-of-Genre Experience was the Lord of Terror arc, where Urd shifted from Pretty Freeloader to world-threatening menace, and several later arcs were also more fantasy adventure or romantic drama, to say nothing of several arcs focused around motorcycle racing. These gradually became more common, until by the Niflheim arc, it was a full-fledged fantasy adventure series with a romance-focused premise, largely because Keiichi and Belldandy's relationship had been frozen at a middle-school level for so long that there was really nothing more that the author could do with it.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, is told in different parts, with each part featuring a different member of the Joestar family as it's protagonist, and often times a radically different plot. The stories of each part can range from a victorian drama about fighting vampires, to a more comedic school life story about tracking down a serial killer.
- Space Dandy tells a different story with every episode, which can span a wide range of story structures and tones. It incorporates the multiple genre's well, which is largely due to the fact that, with the exception of the finale, each episode is a self contained story, and nothing that happens in one episode (even literally everyone dying) will affect the next episode.
- Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers does this deliberately with each of the miniseries exhibiting the traits of a particular style of comic genre. The Return of Bruce Wayne and The Multiversity are also set up the same way, with each issue being a different genre based on the setting (time in RoBW and the worlds in Multiversity).
- Frank and Ernest lands in a lot of different situations.
- Aquaman can be this at times; while most of the iconic DC heroes have their own niche, Aquaman is constantly reinvented. At one point he went from warrior king, to exiled Barbarian Hero, to Messianic Archetype, to Street Level Crimefighter, to mentor to a Heroic Fantasy-inspired Legacy Character in the span of 30 issues.
- Heroes For Hope, an X-Men charity one-shot from the 80s, has twenty credited writers, including comic book luminaries like Stan Lee and Alan Moore and famous authors like Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, and Harlan Ellison. While you can't fault the pedigree or the good intentions, considering each writer is swapped out every two to three pages, the story is all over the map. Within ten pages, the book goes from a morose Magneto nightmare about famine zombies with "dead babies still clinging pointlessly to dead breasts" to Storm getting hit in the face with a pie.
- The first half of Sluagh reads like a hard-boiled detective story, morphs into a war epic, then into eldritch horror around the Battle of Druim Cett, and then turns into high fantasy (complete with mythic landscapes and Gods), all of which clashed quite a bit with Rowling's brand of Urban Fantasy. Also, there are shifts within the shifts and they occur with little to no warning.
- Hivefled started off as a soap opera, descended into Gorn, then went into action thriller, then into a light-hearted adventure, then back to the action until the two stories met, upon which the genre did a 180 and became a wacky comedy, though now it's becoming a dramedy.
- The Vinyl And Octavia Series essentially jumps genre with each new story in the series, although primarily it's a comedy. At time of writing, we have: an action-adventure (with little comedy), comedic slice of life, romance, murder mystery, courtroom drama, and prison break as the different genres in the series.
- The Racket-Rotter Chronicles seems to change genre with every new Arc; It starts off as a Slice of Life Romance with comedic overtones (Arc 1), then becomes more of a dramedy (Arc 2), then turns into Gorn/Horror (Arc 3), and is now currently a sort of horror/friendship hybrid (Arc 4).
- The Infinite Loops. Even ignoring the Mega Crossover of the premise, individual snips within the same chapter can range from comedic, to surreal to horrifying to romantic to philosophical. It helps that there are over a dozen authors... per story.
Films — Animation
- Millennium Actress becomes many genres, including Romance, Drama, War, Action and Sci-Fi, all reflecting the acting career of its protagonist.
Films — Live-Action
- God Told Me To. What genre it thinks it is depends on what scene it happens to be. It starts as a crime thriller with a cult/religion theme, then it turns into an outright supernatural thriller, and finally a sci-fi horror with almost biblical undertones.
- Man of the Year does this, shifting between comedy, thriller, drama, and mystery all the time.
- Practical Magic switches between Horror, Romance, and Comedy.
- Xtro, which constantly jumps all over the place.
- Brotherhood of the Wolf is a mystery, martial arts film, monster horror film, drawing room drama, spy film and historical epic depending on the scene.
- Save the Green Planet! has some regular Mood Whiplash, from slapstick comedy to creepy psychological horror, with the odd martial arts scene thrown in.
- Sucker Punch goes from Fantasy, to Thriller, to Action to Horror. The soundtrack also goes from industrial beats and screaming to acoustic ballads with a sole voice to heavy rock songs to rap. The various parts of the movie also experiment with many genres and throw the most interesting ideas together.
- Seen through Western eyes, this is one of the defining characteristics of Bollywood films.
- Cloud Atlas is composed of six interwoven stories, each taking place in a different time period and different genres: a 19th century Historical Fiction/sea story, a 1930's drama about a gifted but troubled composer, a 1970's mystery/political thriller, a dark comedy set in a present-day nursing home, a Dystopia in the future and a second Science Fiction story set After the End set further in the future.
- Troll can't decide whether it wants to be a horror film or a fantasy adventure. Troll 2 can't decide whether it wants to be a horror comedy or straight up horror.
- Legendary director Robert Zemeckis has touched almost every genre. From directing comedies from his early career (I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Used Cars) to fun action adventures (Romancing the Stone) to Science-Fiction (Back to the Future) to mystery noir mixing live-action and animation (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) to westerns (Back to the Future Part III) to black comedy (Death Becomes Her) to romantic comedy-dramas (Forrest Gump) to straight up dramas (Cast Away and Flight) to Hitchcock horror suspense (What Lies Beneath) to Christmas movies (The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol to folklore Beowulf to biographical films The Walk to war romance thrillers Allied. Even his upcoming film The Women Of Marwen is a fantasy psychological drama. Is there a genre this man hasn't touched? All thats missing is a monster movie and a erotic porno.
- Stanley Kubrick: While many film directors usually work within one identifiable genre Kubrick tried out different kinds of genres all his life: war films (Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket), science fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange), historical drama (Spartacus, Barry Lyndon), comedy (Dr. Strangelove), erotic thriller (Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut) and horror (The Shining).
- Martin Scorsese: Also showed his versatility by making biopics (Raging Bull, The Aviator, The Wolf of Wall Street, Hugo), historical dramas (The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York), comedy (The King of Comedy, After Hours), film noir/real life drama (Taxi Driver), musical (New York, New York), gangster films (Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, the remake The Departed), bible movies (The Last Temptation of Christ), thrillers (Cape Fear), concert films (The Last Waltz, Shine A Light), children-family films (Film/Hugo), documentaries (Italianamerican, A Personal Journey Through American Films, A Personal Journey Through Italian Films, Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues,...), horror (Shutter Island)
- Woody Allen: While best known for comedy, he has made movies that are serious dramas too (Interiors, September), a musical (Everyone Says I Love You), slapstick (His early films before Annie Hall), historical movies (Bullets Over Broadway, Radio Days,...), jazz biopics (Sweet and Lowdown),...
- Terry Gilliam: Started out in animation (Monty Python's Flying Circus), then directed live-action films: fantasy (Time Bandits, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), science fiction (Brazil, 12 Monkeys), fairy tales (The Brothers Grimm), stoner movie (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas),...
- Steven Spielberg: monster movies (Jaws, Jurassic Park), science fiction (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, War of the Worlds), action adventure (Indiana Jones), comedy (1941), war drama (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse), fantasy (Hook), biopics (Lincoln), racial drama (The Color Purple, Amistad, Munich), comic book movies (The Adventures of Tintin),...
- Peter Jackson: Began as a splatter horror director (Bad Taste, Braindead), demented puppet movies (Meet the Feebles), drama (Heavenly Creatures), fantasy (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), monster movies (The 2005 King Kong remake), comic book movie (The Adventures of Tintin), Horror/Comedy (The Frighteners)
- Roman Polanski: horror (Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby), horror comedy (The Fearless Vampire Killers), adventure comedy (Pirates), Shakespeare (Macbeth), war drama (The Pianist), film noir (Chinatown), ...
- The Millennium Bug goes back and forth between a Hillbilly Horrors Slasher Movie and a Kaiju B-Movie. Most of the movie detailing a family surviving the former, until the title beast awakens.
- Detective Dee is a wuxia movie, historical drama, film noir detective story, political thriller, or absurdist comedy? Being that this is a Tsui Hark work, yes.
- Showing the negative effects of this trope, a common criticism of Joy is that it switches back and forth between slapstick comedy and gritty biopic.
- Gravity's Rainbow, Historical Fiction overall skips between Science Fiction, war, romance, pornography, family tragedy, horror and slapstick comedy. Pynchon does this a lot. It's even more blatant in Against the Day.
- Naked Lunch: Science Fiction, an undercover look at drug culture, raunchy porn, biting social satire, and some hard boiled noir thrown in for good measure.
- House of Leaves is horror. No, wait, it's a satire on literary criticism. No, wait, it's incomprehensible True Art. No, wait, it's a love story...
- Cloud Atlas, which skips between genres with merry abandon.
- Discworld: Is it a Deconstruction or a Reconstruction? An Affectionate Parody of Lawrence of Arabia or a a Who Dunnit? About a Bunny-Ears Lawyer trying to make the best out of being a Boxed Crook, or is the protagonist a Cosmic Plaything that falls from one Wacky Wayside Tribe into the other, or a Dirty Harry Determinator who must fight for his family's survival? Silly or played straight? Pterry goes all over the board with his books.
- Hyperion, the first installment in Hyperion Cantos, does this with the pilgrims' tales, which include a gritty sci-fi war story, a Künstlerroman, an account of a trek up a River of Insanity, a tragic family drama, and a detective story.
- In Ulysses every section is in a different genre.
- Skulduggery Pleasant has, according to Word of God, a slightly different genre:
- Book 1: Adventure Story
- Book 2: Monster Story
- Book 3: Crime Story
- Book 4: Vengeance Story
- Book 5: Landy´s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
- Book 6: Superhero Story
- Book 7: Sci-Fi Story
- Book 8: War Story
- Book 9: Apocalypse Story
- While Twin Peaks started as a Detective Drama, it manages to alternate comedy, science-fiction and horror elements from one scene to another.
- One episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus keeps flipping between genres, as lampshaded by the captions:
TODAY IN PARLIAMENT HAS NOW BECOME THE CLASSIC SERIAL
THE CLASSIC SERIAL HAS NOW BECOME THE TUESDAY DOCUMENTARY
THE TUESDAY DOCUMENTARY HAS BECOME "CHILDREN'S STORY"
THE CHILDREN'S STORY HAS GONE BACK INTO THE TUESDAY DOCUMENTARY
NO IT HASN'T
NOW IT'S BECOME A PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST
NO, SORRY, "RELIGION TODAY"
- Doctor Who pushes the line between this trope and outright Genre-Busting. It did so even more in the era of William Hartnell, who played the First Doctor, before the series had quite settled into its format.
- In Season 2, with William Hartnell, at a point after the writers had started experimenting but before they settled into a format, you get: a whimsical children's story with a Green Aesop with the cast trying to bring justice to a murder, a rather dark and violent Alien Invasion B-Movie-like story with Daleks set After the End, a claustrophobic Bottle Episode and Deconstruction of the modus operandi the series would eventually have, a goofy but morbid Black Comedy featuring Emperor Nero, an almost dreamlike Planetary Romance featuring four races of Insectoid Aliens with unique psychologies and cultures, a Shakespeare pastiche Costume Drama dealing with religious prejudice with Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter, a tongue-in-cheek story involving Just One Second Out of Sync time travel paradoxes, an extremely silly Dalek serial involving Wacky Wayside Tribe sequences and Dalek slapstick, and a Wham Episode featuring the first appearance of another member of the Doctor's race.
- Season 3 - a Star Trek: The Original Series-like allegorical story about beautiful evil aliens and hideous good aliens trying to get off a dying planet, a Bottle Episode with no Doctor or companions about a couple of space cadets dying miserably in a Dalek-infested jungle, a Bathos-filled comedy about the Trojan War, a Space Opera featuring Daleks, recurring villains, multiple planets, ancient Egypt and the Family-Unfriendly Death of two companions, a historical deconstructing the companion's trust of the Doctor set amongst an unspeakable real-life atrocity, a whimsical children's horror with evil clowns and dolls, a comedy Musical Episode with cowboys, a Planet of Hats deconstructing the Doctor's modus operandi, and an evil computer trying to take over (then) modern-day London.
- As showrunner Steven Moffat put it: "Sometimes it's comedy, sometimes thriller, sometimes horror, sometimes children's stories, the silliest stories you've ever seen. Sometimes it's all that in the same episode". In Series Five of the reboot alone we had a thriller, a dystopian rebellion, historical Science Fiction with Churchill, a horror-adventure, a comedy romp with vampires, a Dream Within a Dream mystery, a political intrigue with reptile people, A Very Special Episode about Vincent van Gogh and depression, a comedy, and a Wham Episode.
- Series 6 had a conspiracy thriller, a madcap pirate romp, a fantasy laden with horrors, a sinister clone saga, a Deconstruction, an assassination plot, a horrifying episode about dolls, a romantic drama, a "What Do They Fear?" Episode, a buddy comedy, and a wedding.
- Series 7 had the concept that 'every episode was a different genre of blockbuster movie' with movie posters for each story. In 7A, there's: a conspiracy thriller, an Anachronism Stew family sci-fi, a Spaghetti Western, a blockbuster alien invasion, a Noir Episode, and a Christmas Special. In 7B, there's a Hollywood Hacking plot, Planetary Romance with Lovecraftian elements, an old-school Second Doctor-style "Base Under Siege" story with one of Two's most iconic monsters, an old-school Fourth Doctor-style Gothic Horror (set during the time Four was the Doctor in real life), indie sci-fi horror with time paradoxes, and a Victorian Black Comedy. (And some Wham Episodes that don't fit this template.)
- Community: that is all. It's gone through just about everything on the Episodes page, along with plenty of more original ideas. Even the Paintball Episodes (yes, there's more than one) parody different genres.
- Super Sentai, and by association Power Rangers in its yearly theming, in addition to its Toku base genre. This also applies with the Kamen Rider series as well. Episodes can run this line in all these series.
- Despite the title implying a clear-cut Dom Com, Family Matters had this in spades. It really was more of a Dom Com, or at least a Sitcom than anything else; but Steve Urkel suddenly began inventing new forms of Applied Phlebotinum that would have been totally out of place in the show's original concept. Some episodes turn so serious in tone that they it's hard to see them as funny episodes of a comedy show. And a few, but only a few, episodes involved Carl's job as a police officer to such an extent that they seem unusually close to the genre of police or action shows.
- The [adult swim] short Too Many Cooks, which starts as a parody of Full House and other 90s sitcoms, then becomes (among other things) a gritty Cop Show, a Slasher Movie, a Space Opera pastiche of Star Wars and Star Trek, a G.I. Joe-like cartoon, a political thriller involving lots of assassinations, and a Medical Drama, as well as featuring a giant anthropomorphic cat that can shoot lasers out of its eyes (and is really a Terminator-like robot in disguise). It's so meta that at one point, there is what looks like a literal Reset Button.
- Stranger Things: Every group of characters (though some of those groups are only a single person) has its own genre. As the show progresses, some of these genres begin to bleed together, especially among the main characters.
- The kids are in a Dark Fantasy coming of age story. When their friend goes missing, they look for him, only to find a girl their age who seems completely socially unaware. They continue looking for their friend, fighting to keep the adults from getting involved, and dealing with the tension caused by their repeated failures on every front.
- Joyce is in a psychological horror. Her son goes missing, and everyone initially assumes she lost track of him. She begins to believe that her son is talking to her by making lights blink, but they never do it when anyone else is around. Everyone in town—including the sheriff who lost a child of his own—assumes she is losing her mind due to stress. This gets worse when her son's body is discovered, and she still refuses to believe it.
- Hop is in a conspiracy thriller. He's living in a sleepy little town and a kid goes missing—the first major crime in decades. Then a local commits suicide after having been seen in the company of a kid. When he goes to investigate, the government gives him the runaround. When he investigates the body, he discovers it's a fake, and the government dump him at home surrounded by pills to make him think it was all a dream. His house even gets bugged. In the end, he makes a deal with the government to get them to leave the town alone.
- Nancy and Jonathen are in a monster movie, complete with friends getting picked off. They join forces to find the creature, one of them gets a face-to-face with the monster, and they barely survive. They then set a trap in order to finish it off once and for all, in a sequence reminiscent of the climax of Alien.
- Steve is in a teen drama. He's known for one-night stands, but finally finds a nice, intelligent girl that he wants to spend time with. He gets her to come to a party, and they consummate their relationship, only for her to turn distant. He mistakenly believes she is cheating on him, and when he tells his friends, they start slut-shaming her around town. He eventually dumps his friends and starts making up for the things he let them do, then goes to apologize to his girlfriend.
- Mrs. Wheeler is in a soap opera. She's having a nice and normal life then, one day, her son's friend goes missing and her daughter starts acting distant. Any attempts to connect with these family members backfire miserably, and the suspicion only increases when her son's friend's mom starts acting off as well and suddenly throws her out of the house. Then, her daughter reveals that she slept with her boyfriend, and she learns that her son is harboring a dangerous individual underneath her nose.
- Mr. Wheeler is in a sitcom. When everyone else storms out of the dinner table, he even looks at the little girl like he's expecting a cute one-liner.
- Charmed tended to vary in the tone of its genre depending on what season it was on:
- Season 1 was very gloomy and similar in tone to The Craft.
- Season 2 heavily downplays the witchcraft and focuses mainly on the sisters' personal lives.
- Seasons 3 and 4 are more action-packed, with darker arc-based storylines. These seasons best evoke Supernatural Soap Opera.
- Seasons 5 and 6 go Lighter and Softer to veer into Heroic Fantasy.
- Seasons 7 and 8 are something of a mixture of all the previous seasons, being darker in tone than 5 and 6 but still lighter than 3 and 4.
- John Zorn encompasses every possible musical genre you can imagine and he switches back and forth between styles almost as if someone was playing with a remote control. Name any music and he's performed it: Jazz, Avant-garde Music, Classical Music, Rock, Punk Rock, Surf Rock, Electronic Music, Ambient, Klezmer, Improv, Hardcore, Grindcore, Death Metal, Reggae, movie soundtracks, ...
- Country music legend Ray Price did this within his own country music genre. He performed straight-ahead standard honky tonk in his earliest releases in the early 1950s, before adding his signature 4/4 shuffle and waltz sounds by the mid-1950s. By the early 1960s, his music began to evolve as he added strings and backing vocals to fully embrace the Nashville Sound. By the late 1960s, his style was pure country pop, and the best example of this was his top 15 pop crossover hit "For The Good Times" in 1970. He continued having success with a style and instrumentation that was not unlike pop crooner Perry Como through the mid 1970s. And then by the late 1970s, he began slowly folding traditional country back into his sound. Since then, the "Cherokee Cowboy" has continued to perform music from all eras of his musical career, which spanned more than 60 amazing years.
- In Björk's 1995 album, Post, she switches from Industrial Rock, Dance, Jazz, Trip Hop, Chamber Pop, Ambient, and other genres. This is typical for her, really.
- Canadian indie band Islands' debut album Return to the Sea featured a ten minute epic, synthpop, catchy indie-pop and a rap interlude.
- Five Iron Frenzy's album All the Hype that Money Can Buy switches between ska-punk, ska-salsa, ska-hip-hop, ska-synth-rock, and ska-Hair Metal. They take it Up to Eleven the end of the Quantity is Job One EP, with These Are Not My Pants: The Rock Opera, where every one of 8 band members sings a part, each in a different musical style; Latin, Piano ballad, Country, Rock, Jazz, Reggae, Rap, and something only described as "Weird".
- The Dingees play Clash-inspired punk, roots reggae, and first-wave ska songs on their first three albums.
- The band WHY? switch between alternative hip-hop, indie rock, folk, R.E.M.-inspired jangle pop and bizarre combinations of these genres. Their 2008 album Alopecia for instance, wobbled in between the band's various genres. Compare the first single, alternative rap song "A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under" to the third single, indie rock song "Fatalist Palmistry". The second single from the album, "The Hollows", is somewhat of a meeting point between the band's two main genres.
- Peergynt Lobogris switches between ambient rock, new age and jazz music.
- Origin went this route on Entity; while it contains plenty of examples of their typical sound (Expulsion of Fury, Conceiving Death, Swarm, Saligia, Consequence of Solution), they toss in deathgrind (Purgatory, Fornever, Banishing Illusion), straightforward brutal death metal (Evolution of Extinction), and an incredibly bizarre and unsettling noise-grind track (Committed). Hell, even the songs done in their usual style on the album occasionally pull this; Expulsion of Fury, for example, starts with a frantic tapping riff more akin to Brain Drill or Anomalous before transitioning right into a thick groove right out of the Bolt Thrower playbook.
- The White Album by The Beatles switches from Surf Rock, to Acoustic, to Ska, to random banging on a piano, to Bluesy Doo-Wop Hard Rock to Pop to Folk to Country to Hard Rock to Proto-Metal to Blues to Avant-Garde to ballad. The Beatles in general did this a lot over the course of their career.
- Played with by Reel Big Fish on Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album with "S.R. (The Many Versions Of)" where they played the entire song or parts thereof several times, picking new genres after each variation and commenting on the crowd's reaction as they included ska-punk, punk rock, blues, disco, death metal, a "sensitive and tender emo song", old school rap and more. The verdict was "play more country, the people love it!" Also their song "Party Down" contains ska, disco, death metal, dance, reggae, and country breakdowns, all over a basic garage rock and horns structure.
- Billy Joel has done this, from pop to Southwestern funk to soul to Aaron Copland-like ballads to a classical music album. He even emulated The Beatles in the B side of the Nylon Curtain album. He also stated that "We Didn't Start the Fire" was going to be a rap song, but thought better against it.
- Nobody quite knows what to call Boards of Canada genre-wise. Each album contains some consistency; their evolving discography can be referred to as ambient/ambient techno, "IDM", downtempo and yet the labels will be simultaneously close and miles away in terms of describing their sound. The closest anyone has come to naming their genre is probably "Boards of Canada".
- X Japan. Heavy metal and hard rock with more than a pinch of punk sensibility becomes symphonic metal becomes beautiful rock ballads AND progressive rock with a metal sound. They're all over the map and bring the same level of skill to all of it.
- Beck almost always, although he somestimes mixes them. Country, hip-hop, jazz, anti-folk, rock, experimental, tropicalia, electronic...
- Frank Zappa played numerous genres throughout his career: rock, progressive rock, jazz, fusion, classical, experimental... the list goes on and on. He even had a doo-wop album (Cruising with Ruben & the Jets).
- Pearl Jam's changed style on every album: grunge —> straightforward rock —> experimental —> world/folk-rock —> garage rock/post-grunge —> space rock —> punk/folk/art-rock —> straightforward rock (again) —> New Wave —> punk again.
- The Black Crowes are most easily classified as a hard rock band, but their specific sub-genre shifts with each album. While their first two albums were pure hard rock, from there they did garage rock —> psychedelic rock —> soul-influenced rock —> blues rock —> southern rock —> folk/country rock. There's a reasons they're nicknamed "the most rock n roll rock n roll band in the world."
- Amanda Palmer made a career out of this. Compare her songs Guitar Hero, A Campaign Of Shock And Awe, Mandy Goes To Med School, Slide, and her cover of Creep. She's also covered songs by/from Black Sabbath, Kurt Weill (in German), Britney Spears, Sonny & Cher, The Sound Of Music, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tchaikovsky and Rihanna.
- Linkin Park's album Minutes to Midnight switches from cathartic Alternative Metal to synth-tinged adult contemporary ballads with a Political Rap song in between.
- Scissor Shock. What makes this even more awesome is that all of those genres are Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly.
- S.C.I.E.N.C.E. album era Incubus not only varied genre from song to song, but sometimes from verse to bridge to chorus. Witness 'A Certain Shade of Green', with it's funk verse, metal chorus and disco bridge.
- This could be said of many of Radiohead's albums, but Amnesiac fits this trope particularly well. Its tracks include the gloomy jazz of "Life in a Glasshouse," the twitchy electronic "Like Spinning Plates," the relatively straightforward rock of "Knives Out," and the indescribable "Pyramid Song."
- Elton John was known for this at the height of his popularity; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road alone switches from Progressive Rock ("Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding") to melodic piano ballads (the title track) to minimalistic glam-rock ("Bennie And The Jets") to Stonesy rockers ("Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting") to Beatle-esque numbers ("Harmony") to soft rock ("Candle In The Wind") to reggae ("Jamaica Jerk-Off") to boogie blues-rock ("Dirty Little Girl") to progressive rock ("Funeral For A Friend") to proto-disco-soul ("Grey Seal") to pseudo-doo-wop ("Your Sister Can't Twist [But She Can Rock 'N Roll]") to country ("Roy Rogers"; "Social Disease") to '20's jazz ("Sweet Painted Lady") to cinematic pieces like "The Ballad Of Danny Bailey" and the aptly-named "I've Seen That Movie Too".
- Suicide Machines go back and forth from ska punk and ska-core (Destruction by Definition, Battle Hymns) to pop punk (Suicide Machines, Steal This Record) and back to a mix of hardcore and ska punk for their last two albums (A Match and some Gasoline, War Profiteering is Killing Us All), sometimes switching back and forth from ska to hardcore every other song.
- Gorillaz, with only three albums, have managed to present genres like Alternative, dub, hip hop, rock and electronic, and the last song (M1 A1) features sounds and clips from Day of the Dead (1985). Demon Days, the following album, followed a similar pattern, but with a darker and somber sound, along some dance/synth (DARE), some acoustic dark tunes (El Mañana), and even a choral (Demon Days), along with another horror film sample, from the film Dawn of the Dead (1978) (Intro). The third album, Plastic Beach, can only be described as "crazy", what with mixing in one song the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music with hip hop, and all the album has all over sounds of soul, electro, rock, pop, and even seagulls and sea sounds and a breakfast commercial. Of course, Damon Albarn it's clearly doing a good job, so it's not risky business.
- Yoko Kanno, goddess of anime soundtracks, can write anything. Compare the classic orchestral soundtrack for The Vision of Escaflowne to the power-ballad-laden Wolf's Rain to the techno epics of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex to the jazzy music in Darker Than Black. Her work on Cowboy Bebop (paragon of the Cult Soundtrack that is) covers all of these by itself. And then she starts combining them…
- Dir en grey are especially fond of this, to the point that their sound is mostly unclassifiable apart from being some kind of metal. It's extremely uncommon for two songs on their recent albums (especially starting with Uroboros) to sound anything like each other, and there are often rapid stylistic shifts within the songs themselves (Kyo's penchant for throwing in all kinds of screams in songs where it wouldn't otherwise be expected is no doubt a major contributing factor to this). Styles the band has played or been influenced by include Power Metal, Noise Rock, Technical Death Metal, Deathcore, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, and even Harsh Noise. They have managed to avoid the Scrappy status often associated with Nu Metal and Deathcore through the sheer variety of their music and their instrumental prowess. Two examples of the band using this trope can be found here and here.
- In contrast with Mr. Bungle's straight out Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly, Mike Patton's other 90's band Faith No More were a bit more into genre roulette, especially starting with Angeldust. For instance, King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime had a few of their heaviest songs (e.g. "Cuckoo for Caca"), but also threw in country ("Take This Bottle"), seventies style funk/soul ("Evidence", "Star AD"), laidback bossanova ("Caralho Voador"), and even a gospel ballad ("Just A Man"). It also has the "The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies" which is a sort of theatrical thrash-goth song, which becomes very dramatic due to Patton using a different character voice for each section of the song (low crooner for first verse, Large Ham supervillain for first half of bridge, death growler for second half of bridge and operatic crooning for chorus).
- Mr. Bungle actually did quite a bit of this too, but it was more noted by extreme stylistic shifts within each individual song, which oddly tended to have the effect of making the entire album's style seem a bit more unified, because it wasn't so much one song being followed by another song of a different genre as it was each song's genre being entirely unclassifiable.
- Cursor Miner's styles are all over the map, jumping between breakbeat, techno, electro, synthpop, IDM, trip-hop, and industrial.
- The only genre that will definitely be on a "Weird Al" Yankovic album is polka, and it'll probably be a medley; the others can be just about anything. Given that he's a prolific parody artist, this shouldn't be too surprising, but his band can play any genre well.
- The Clash, especially the album Sandinista!, tend to switch between genres all the time. Sandinista! contains the first ever rap song released by a rock band, as well as songs influenced by dub, reggae, and funk, a song with a children's choir, and a song with elements of twee pop. To consider them just a punk band is hardly fair.
- Blind Guardian is ostensibly a Heavy Metal band, but their repertoire runs the gamut from Folk Songs to Heavy Mithril to Pop. Also Ayreon, in the same vein.
- Enter Shikari in general, but most notably on their second album Common Dreads. ''The Jester'' takes this Up to Eleven by switching between trumpet solos, the band's standard synthesizer-heavy post hardcore and a trance instrumental.
- Japanese Black Metal band Sigh does this a lot, frequently within the same song. It's particularly blatant on Imaginary Sonicscape, where there are oddities like disco and dub reggae breaks thrown into the middle of almost every song. Not to mention the obligatory classical snippet (Fryderyk Chopin's Minute Waltz, if you're curious) overlaid with what appears to be several hundred samples of giggling babies that closes the album. Of course, Sigh frequently invoke Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly as well. It's difficult to define exactly where their use of one trope ends and the other begins.
- Queen went from hard glam rock to pop to funk to '30's swing to power ballads to skiffle-folk to Progressive Rock over the course of an album. Or over the course of one album side.
- Queen's first few albums were fairly straightforward, fusing elements of Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal. But their fourth album, A Night at the Opera has virtually no two songs in the same genre (and some of the genres are quite atypical for pop bands - British Music Hall style, anyone? - and most of their subsequent albums up to their 1984 album The Works (nine songs, nine genres) continued this pattern. The only real exception in this era was their score to Flash Gordon.
- Queen's most famous hit, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a Genre Roulette all by itself. There are five very distinct portions, including at one point going from a slow ballad ("Mama...just killed a man") to an up-tempo operetta ("I see a little silhouetto of a man") to a powerful hard rock piece ("So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye!")
- Kyle Dennis: Harsh Noise, industrial, rock, tape music, experimental, drone, even mixtapes.
- Gackt is a rock artist, but what genre of music is going to be on his albums and singles is random at best. Some songs such as Cube, Oasis, Uncertain Memory and Secret Garden don't even resemble any discernible genre. Songs like these are simply referred to by fans as "Gackt rock".
- Christian Rock performer Carman did this constantly during his career. Pop, rock, rap, something vaguely like folk, adult contemporary, a pastiche of '50s rock and roll, and his famous rhyming sermons put to music. He often recorded with guest performers, and even then he might defy the genre they are typically known for; for example, "Our Turn Now" features then-metal band Petra but is the kind of rap-rock that DC Talk would eventually be known for.
- Drake does a mild version of this in his albums. He usually has typical Boastful Rap songs, but occasionally does pop/R&B ballad-type songs, such as "I Get Lonely Too" and "Find Your Love". In fact, one of the things he is praised (or criticized) for is his ability to switch from boastful raps to self-examining ballads. On Views, he has started having more of a dancehall reggae influence on his songs, most obviously "One Dance" and "Controlla" (which even features dancehall artist Popcaan). His next album, More Life continues in this vein, even throwing in some afrobeat for good measure.
- Conor Oberst (face of Bright Eyes) exhibits this tendency with his Side Projects.
- Ulver IS this trope - They began as a mix of atmospheric black metal and folk metal and then went dark folk and then a harsher, more lo-fi black metal. On their 4th album they became practically industrial metal and on their 5th they became a mix of trip hop, ambient and breakcore. They now have gone towards a general experimental rock style.
- DJ Shadow's early works were heavily trip-hop influenced while his last album encompasses indie rock and 'hyphy' influences.
- Guniw Tools jump from jazz-rock to folk to punk to electronic music on several of their albums.
- The Veronicas went from single acoustic rock pop (Heavily Broken) to RNB-Eletronic-Faux-Rap (Cold) in three albums. Two albums in and have done pop, pop-rock, pop electronic, dance pop, classical pop, 80's inspired pop and RNB.
- Britney Spears and her album Circus is a mix tape as such and an example of this.
- Amorphis has run the gamut from straightforward Death Metal, to a more melancholy Death/Doom style, to Alternative Rock, to Gothic Metal, to vaguely Opeth-ish Progressive Death Metal, and even acoustic ballads.
- Skinny Puppy's hanDover runs the gamut from straight industrial(Vyrisus) to industrial metal(Village) to EBM(Icktums) to IDM(Ovirt) to breakcore(NoiseX).
- Amy Grant has recorded in MOR/Adult Contemporary Christian Pop (her early career), Southern and Bluegrass Gospel (her hymns albums), mainstream country-folk (Tennessee Christmas among others), folk-rock (her Lead Me On and Behind The Eyes albums), mainstream AC/top 40 pop (much of Unguarded, Heart In Motion, House of Love and Simple Things albums, the duet with Peter Cetera called "The Next Time I Fall" being the most notable) and Christian Rock (the In Concert albums and certain songs from her early career) among others.
- Nine Inch Nails' discography began with a synthpop-kinda-EBM-kinda-Gary Numan style new wave meets Depeche Mode meets Al Jourgensen on diazepam, and then the Ministry/Skinny Puppy influence led to Broken which....industrial ro...meta...no, rock/metal...Downward Sp...yeah, alt/industrial rock. The Fragile..........alt...ambient...I mean ~DARK~ ambient, which Still would......well, broadly the band is...broadly...post-industrial? Goddamn, just go listen to it.
- Sound Horizon is, in theory, a Symphonic Metal band. In theory. The fact that The Other Wiki has them listed under nine genres should tell you something about how they work.
- Vanessa Amorosi: "Somewhere In The Real World" was a jazz (Something Emotional), rock (Kiss Your Mama!), pop (Perfect), swing (My House) and contemporary (Who Am I?) album...to say the least.
- The Foo Fighters were usually alternative rock with a Surprisingly Gentle Song every now and then. Then with In Your Honor, a Distinct Double Album with an acoustic disc, it became more common.
Dave Grohl: "I eventually want it to get to the point where when people ask me what kind of band I'm in, I say: 'I just play music'. It's not one specific genre of music, it's not one specific style. I'm just a musician. I can play all these different instruments, I can write a bossa nova, I can write a thrash tune."
- Vanilla Ice's music has elements of Nu Metal, Jazz, Country, Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap, Funk, Alternative Rock, etc.
- Crotchduster embodies this to the max. They switch between Power Metal, Death Metal, Grindcore, Synth-Pop, Comedy, Electronic, self made audio samples, Classic Rock, Blues, Jazz, A Cappella, etc. etc. You name it, they've used it at some point. And they only have ONE. FUCKING. ALBUM.
- Steve Taylor liked to play around with a bunch of different genres, although he was nominally just a Christian Rock musician.
- The Smashing Pumpkins' Big Damn Double Album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (sic) was notorious for pushing this trope to the limit at a time when popular music was already cashing in on it. In addition to the fuzzy Alternative Rock from the previous record, you had: Grunge ("Jelly Belly", "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"), Heavy Metal ("Zero", "Bodies", "X.Y.U."), Symphonic ("Tonight, Tonight"), Progressive Rock ("Porcelina of the Vast Oceans", "Thru the Eyes of Ruby"), Thrash/Hardcore ("Tales of a Scorched Earth"), Industrial ("Love"), Pop ("1979"), Synth-Pop ("We Only Come Out at Night, "Beautiful"), Classic Folk ("Cupid de Lock", "Take Me Down", "Lily"), and... whatever the hell some of those other songs were.
Their follow-up, Adore, was similar in this respect, though mostly shuffling between Pop, Electronic and Folk, as opposed to Mellon Collie's dozen plus genres.
- Kelly Clarkson likes to record different styles of songs for her albums and sing different styles for her shows.
- Kanye West's trademark is incorporating many genres (usually, but not always by sampling) into hip-hop. He genereally changes which genre every album or two, going from neo-soul and 50s/60s/70s R'n'B on his debut and sophomore, to electro and dance music on his third. His fourth album, 808s and Heartbreak was a straight-up synthpop record, whilst My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, as well as his albums with Jay-Z and GOOD Music are this trope to a T. This was praised by many as the defining strength of MBDTF, with influences ranging from classical music to dance-pop to rock'n'roll.
- The Witcher: Music Inspired By the Game, one of two soundtracks packaged with the Enhanced Edition of the game, runs the gamut from Celtic-style folk music (e.g. "Skellige" by Duan) to folk-rock ("Sapphire Waters" by Village Kollektive) to rock ("Running Away" by Skowyt) to heavy metal ("Sword of the Witcher" by Vader) to just plain damn weird ("They Want to Suck" by LAL).
- The Bee Gees get in on this too. They employed many musical styles through their whole career, but of particular note is their last ever album as a group, This Is Where I Came In. Witness the understated acoustic rock of the title track, the 90s-tinged Eurodance of "Embrace", the legitimate rock-out session of "Voice In the Wilderness", the Award-Bait Song-esque "The Extra Mile", and weirdest of all, "Technicolor Dreams" - a Tin Pan Alley ditty that seems lifted straight out of The Thirties...
- Christian Rock group Thousand Foot Krutch certainly qualifies. They perform everything ranging from metal, alt-rock, hard rock, contemporary Christian, acoustic rock, pop, and even hip-hop.
- Leonard Bernstein's Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers recklessly mixes together various styles of classical and popular music. In less than half-hour, it goes from an experimental quadraphonic piece to a smooth ballad to cool jazz (with Scatting) to marching band music to a round to a folk instrumental to an a capella hymn in neoclassical style to an atonal oboe solo followed by pounding hexachords which segues to blues rock.
- The Monkees, in the Don Kirshner era, spun between bubblegum pop, proto-punk, Mike Nesmith's country-rock, and novelty songs. After overthrowing Kirshner, they added folk rock, psychedelic rock, Broadway-flavored tunes, Latin influences, and hints of R&B to the roulette wheel, removing some of the bubblegum and almost all of the novelty stuff in the process. Michael Nesmith's solo career incorporated at various times: country-rock, big band, straight country, straight rock, samba and tango, new wave, tropical music,....
- Volume One by Fear Of Pop, a side project of Ben Folds: Among other things, the album features Big Beat ("Root To This"), jazz-funk ("Kops"), William Shatner doing spoken word over lounge music ("In Love"), and an apparent Talking Heads style-parody ("I Paid My Money")... Basically everything but the piano pop he's known for (although the intro to "Rubber Sled" features a comically sped up sample of Ben Folds Five's Signature Song "Brick").
- Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna soundtrack is a mix of contemporary genres, including pop ballads ("Hope" and "Run"), ska-punk("Burn Me Up"), trip-hop (middle of "Enchanted Reunion"), drum & bass ("Fly Around" and last part of "Enchanted Reunion"), tribal (first half of "Creature of Light"), R&B ("Elma Om Mi Lize" and "O Ma Ley"), dark ambient ("Whisper"), breakbeat ("Running on the Edge" and "Mutation"), and even industrial metal ("Tempest").
- Long-running American experimental group Controlled Bleeding ran the gamut of punk, progressive rock, harsh noise, dark ambient, dub, industrial, modern classical music, folk, free jazz, and pretty much everything in between. Generally they had the decency to limit themselves to a few genres per album, but the results can still be incredibly jarring, particularly on early albums like Knees & Bones where the music will suddenly shift from shrieking power electronics to trippy yet soothing guitar instrumentals to strange pieces halfway between the two at the drop of a hat.
- Einstürzende Neubauten gradually calmed down from the metallic percussion and noisy intensity of Kollaps in exchange for increasingly quiet conventional styles while maintaining the usage of custom musical instruments built out of found objects. Nonetheless, they still showcase a wide range of textures.
- Alex Skolnick, along with playing lead guitar for Testament, leads a jazz trio.
- Jim Steinman's Bad for Good album. Wagnerian orchestra, country & western, spoken word, rock ballad, goth, bubblegum... you name it. In particular, "Dance In My Pants" shifts from country rock to something rather occultish.
- The Avalanches' first (and so far, only) album switches between Trip-Hop, Ambient, and House Music, and even then these songs can't easily be identified as a single genre. Hell, even before their first album, they dabbled in experimental Rap Rock and Trip-Hop.
- The Blue Öyster Cult's first album wobbled between country music with a hard rock edge, to "pure "heavy rock. The Mirrors album revisited the country music theme with In Thee, a track that would not be out of place in the Eagles' soft country-rock repertoire, and for good measure even added the disco-influenced Dr Music.
- Van Morrison generally stays within the bounds of blues/jazz fusion, but has at one time or another dabbled in just about every musical genre imaginable, with the exception of heavy rock and reggae.
- Irish band the Horslips practically invented Celtic Rock, fusing traditional themes, rhythms and Irish instruments with hard guitar-edged rock music: they even set a traditional song, An Bratach Ban, to a reggae beat.
- The The Cherry Poppin Daddies attempt to do this with each of their albums. While most of their albums feature a primary focus on swing and ska with a small handful of odd-genred tracks, the roulette is most prominent on Rapid City Muscle Car (1994) and Susquehanna (2008), in which the band has stated the intention was to make each track a different genre.
- Rapid City Muscle Car includes, in order, rockabilly, ska punk, psychedelic rock, swing, funk, swing, baroque pop, jazz, hard rock, an accordion ballad, alt-rock, country, hard rock, big band and lounge.
- Susquehanna features, in order, Latin rock, rockabilly, ska punk, reggae, punk swing, glam rock, flamenco, ska, calypso, swing jazz, bossa nova and acoustic soft rock.
- The Beastie Boys' discography defines this as well as anyone.
- They abruptly dropped hardcore punk in the early 80s and jumped to hip-hop, becoming one of the most controversial, and commercially successful, bands of their time with Licensed to Ill.
- In the 90s, they picked up their instruments again and played hip-hop alongside alternative rock, funk, jazz and hardcore punk, making two albums (Check Your Head, Ill Communication) that went back and forth between each genre almost at random.
- They then returned to hip-hop by teaming with Mixmaster Mike for 1998's Hello Nasty, which sported a new, futuristic sound.
- In 2007 they put out an instrumental album, The Mix-Up, filled with funk/soul/jazz workouts.
- Any of the Vocaloid voice synthesizers can and will sing songs of any genre their owners have a mind to producing.
- The Donna Summer song "Queen For a Day"" from 1977's Once Upon a Time starts out as proto-electronica, then halfway through the song, abruptly switches to all-acoustic disco. Milder forms of this would become a recurring theme in composer Giorgio Moroder's later recordings.
- Summer more explicitly covered this trope on the 1977 concept album I Remember Yesterday, and her 1981note double-album, I'm a Rainbow.
- Santana's 2002 album Shaman is one of popular music's best examples of this trope. Over the course of the album's 16 songs you not only get the band's signature Latin rock style, but you also get influences from contemporary R&B ("Nothing at All"), neo-soul ("You Are My Kind"), teen pop/rock ("The Game of Love"), instrumental hard rock ("Victory Is Won"), hip hop soul ("Since Supernatural"), nu metal ("America"), blues/folk ("Sideways"), post-grunge ("Why Don't You & I"), borderline britpop ("Feels Like Fire"), jam ("One of These Days"), and even opera ("Novus").
- Information Society have experimented with countless electronic genres over the years, including freestyle, house, Eurodance, darkwave, EBM, electro, and most recently, dubstep.
- Zac Brown Band is equally capable of doing mainstream country ("Chicken Fried"), smooth country-pop ballads ("Goodbye in Her Eyes"), bluegrass ("The Wind"), jam band ("Keep Me in Mind"), Jimmy Buffett-esque beachy tunes ("Knee Deep", which even features a guest vocal from Buffett), and Southern rock ("All Alright"). Turned Up to Eleven on Jekyll + Hyde, which has electro-pop ("Beautiful Drug"), jazz ("Mango Tree"), hard rock ("Heavy Is the Head", "Junkyard"), reggae ("Castaway"), and soul ("One Day") in addition to the above.
- Poland's Black Metal band Lux Occulta have been prone to this in later years. The Mother and the Enemy contains several detours into trip-hop. Kołysanki largely sees them abandoning metal altogether.
- Japanese band Puffy AmiYumi has this as their signature style. They have flirted with many genres, from Pop Punk, Shibuya Kei, Electropop, Alternative Rock, Soft Rock, Disco, Teen Pop, to Pop Rock, Country Music, Rumba, Bossa Nova and even Doom Metal. They have collaborated with a wide range of songwriters, and their constant jumping from genre to genre is part of their appeal.
- While this trope is expected in Progressive Rock to begin with, Gentle Giant really took things above and beyond the call of duty on their first eight albums. It doesn't hurt that nearly every member of the band was a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist, and they wanted to show this off to the fullest extent possible, so a given Gentle Giant song may display influence from modernism, hard rock, jazz, medieval music, baroque counterpoints, or any given other style that they felt like. They have a reputation as being one of the most "difficult" prog bands for this reason, but in truth their music is generally quite catchy and they also tend to have shorter songs than most other prog groups, with only a handful of songs passing the six-minute mark and none of their studio compositions exceeding ten (though live, they often tended to group them together in lengthy medleys which were often even more impressive examples of this trope; an example of this can be heard on their Playing the Fool album). They dialled down these tendencies for their last three albums, which are almost universally considered weaker for this reason and others.
- Aphex Twin loves this trope, and he's known for having possibly the most inhumanely diverse discography in electronic music history. He's done ambient pieces (Selected Ambient Works Volume II, "Fingerbib"), piano pieces (most of which are on Drukqs), generic dance music (SAW 85-92, which only sounds generic since it's been copied and mirrored the world over), straightforward IDM (his main forte), extremely aggressive, beat-sliced techno ("Come to Daddy", "Ventolin"), and even cartoony-sounding music ("Goon Gumpas", "Logan Rock Witch"). For the most pristine example of this trope on one of his albums, check out the Richard D. James Album.
- Diablo Swing Orchestra is a frequent user of this trope, with several of their songs shifting genres several times over the course of the song. Even more generally, most of their songs fall into completely different genres.
- Rihanna is supposedly an R&B singer but has done everything from electronic (including techno, house, EDM, trap, and dubstep), reggae, folk, dance-pop, new wave, hip-hop, synthpop, latin music...
- The central gimmick of Optiganally Yours is their use of the Optigan and Talentmaker, toy keyboards from The '70s that held discs of prerecorded riffs that could be controlled using the chord buttons. The discs available spanned a fairly wide variety of genres, from blues to country to Latin to Polynesian and even big-band swing. Each song they've written uses a different disc. You do the math.
- The music on MilkCan's Make It Sweet! runs the gamut of different styles of rock music, from basic rock and roll ("BABY BABY!!") to country rock ("CASINO IN MY HAIR") to J-pop ("TASTE OF TERIYAKI") to ska ("KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!!") to even thrash metal ("FRIGHT FLIGHT!!").
- The Turtles' 1968 album The Turtles Present: The Battle of the Bands is a one-album example of this trope. In here, the Turtles pretend to be 11 separate competing bands, and cover as many genres as possible, including surf rock ("Surfer Dan"), sunshine pop (Top 10 hit "Elenor"), and even faux-Hawaiian novelty with suggestive lyrics. ("I'm Chief Kamanawanalea" - try saying that slowly!)
- Michael Jackson is mostly known as a pop singer, but he liked to make songs from several different genres for every album. So he could make rock songs ("Beat It", "Dirty Diana", "Give In to Me") as well as gospel-flavored songs ("Man in the Mirror", "Will You Be There?", "Keep the Faith"). And he also did experiments like "Liberian Girl" (which is done in a very "tropical" style) and "Money" (where he does his own rapping).
- The second half of Outkast's Speakerboxx The Love Below is Andre 3000 playing around with this trope. One cut from this project, the 60's-esque "Hey Ya", became a Black Sheep Hit for the group.
- Finnish Alternative Rock band Poets of the Fall can play a wide variety of styles, ranging from metal to hard rock to symphonic, and make note in interviews that they Invoke this to keep their music fresh.
- David Bowie practically built his entire career on this trope. While commonly classified as a rock singer, Bowie's dabbled in a surprisingly wide variety of genres over the years, with at least two new sound albums per decade. Among other things, the man's discography has explored novelty rock, psychadelic folk rock, very early heavy metal, glam rock, proto-punk, blue-eyed soul, electronic proto-post punk krautrock, post punk with Gothic new wave flare, dance rock, synthpop, hard rock, acid jazz, industrial electronica, drum & bass, art rock, alt-rock, and jazz fusion. A Greatest Hits Album alone can make listeners question whether all of these songs are by the same guy.
- Whenever members of 4chan's /mu/ board get together to make an album, the results are usually as eclectic as the board's highly opinionated tastes. Songs and titles are often chosen by post numbers ending in double digits. An album could contain folk songs right next to chiptunes and harsh noise, all with deliberately strange and vulgar titles. When bothered to actually put their work in a genre, /mu/tants give their albums pretentious and obscure-sounding categories like "Post-Avant Jazzcore" and "Progressive Dreamfunk".
- Rifts was designed to blend as many genres as humanly possible, with new books/settings adding/combining genres not previously covered. Not many other games allow you to play a medieval knight on a robotic horse alongside an alien cyborg cowboy toting a BFG and a wizard with a magical jetpack and literal Lightning Gun.
- All of StarCraft is made of this, dependent on which races are shown interacting. When only Terrans are present, it's a heavily character-focused Used Future Space Western.
- All Zerg interaction with the other races is Horror genre, from monsters bursting out of the ground, to the grotesque infested terrans, to a monstrous alien queen stalking through a spaceship and slowly consuming the crew.
- The minute Protoss enter the picture, it's high fantasy (In Space), with visions, ancient prophecies, psychic links and the like.
- Every game in the Far Cry series is a First-Person Shooter, but the setting and genre changes each game.
- Far Cry is an action/science fiction game.
- Far Cry 2 is a grim, realistic shooter with no unnatural elements.
- Far Cry 3 is another action movie style shooter like Far Cry, more serious than Far Cry but less serious than Far Cry 2, with several hallucinogenic-laced Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane moments.
- Far Cry 4 is the least different Far Cry game, compared to Far Cry 3. It is also an action movie style shooter like Far Cry 3, perhaps less serious than Far Cry 3, with a ton of Tibetan Buddhist inspired Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane moments that are possibly hallucinogenic-laced, but are so overtly magical that it is hard to believe that aren't really magic (unless the hallucigenics are just that strong and are everywhere).
- Far Cry Primal takes place in prehistoric times, and as such probably has the least amount of action and is the closest to having real magic. Also while it is probably the second most serious game after Far Cry 2, it is also the most optimistic game in the series.
- Undertale starts out looking like a kid friendly game where you try to get "friendliness" pellets, but moves within five seconds to a dark, definitely not kid-friendly bullet hell. Then, it's tone shifts from standard, light-hearted puzzle game, to quirky RPG parody, straight to tear jerking deconstruction of said RPG. And that's all in the first Area!
- Marathon and its sequels are as much a novella as they are shooters and much of the player's time is spent reading in-game.
- The Persona series are all Urban Fantasy games, but each game has a distinct style of store.
- Choices: Stories You Play is a collection of multiple visual novels that all have rather different genres, themes, settings and tones.
- More often than not, if a series has multiple licensed games, most of them will be from different genres.
- Dinosaur Comics parodies this. After T-Rex comes up with the ultimate disaster movie, he realizes how he can make a nigh-infinite number of sequels: By by showing the same series of events from different perspectives, he can shoehorn his story into any genre imaginable.
- The Dreamer jumps from historical fiction to YA lit in a matter of pages.
- Sluggy Freelance tends to change its genre with every Story Arc. Compare the fantasy epic shown in these strips from 2004, to this Sitcom-style Broke Episode from 2005, to this crime thriller from 2006, to this Fantastic Comedy from 2007. The only consistent trait is that most strips have some sort of joke in them, but even that's not always the case.
- Rusty and Co. The Belt of Genre Changing does this.
- Pibgorn: In Drusilla's dream sequences.
- In Sinfest, Filler Strips often cast it as a different genre. Such as superheroes.
- In his videos on Christopher Hitchens and the comedian Bill Maher, Bishop Barron notes that The Bible, when taken as a whole, is an example of this trope. After all, there's histories like the Books of Samuel, poems like the Book of Job, and legal codes like Leviticus.
"The Bible is not a book, the Bible is a library. So the question is 'Do you take the library literally?' Well, it depends on what section you're in!"
- Given the nature of the SCP Foundation, a catalogue of all sorts of detained paranormal entities, it's bound to end up as this. The website started towards it being more orientated towards horror, which is the common way to describe the site, but SCP entries are very varied in tone to reflect that the weird isn't always traditionally scary. The variation of the site includes SCP entities that are:
- Conventionally horror SCP entities (as in the ones that are scary via a shock image or Wham Line)are what the site is mainly known for and are present in the likes of SCP-173, 087, and 106.
- Lovecraftian SCP entities that are scary via Nothing Is Scarier or through sheer ideas would include 093 (a universe gone horribly wrong due to God or an Eldritch Abomination posing as God, returning) and 055 (an entity that makes you forget what it is and when you think of it).
- Straight up weird SCP entities that leave you more confused than anything, like SCP 500 which are pills that have miarculous healing properties or SCP 447, which for some reason shouldn't touch dead bodies, but is safe given how low the probability is.
- Then there are the comedic SCP entities like 1171, an Eldritch Abomination that hates humans in a NOT Nazish way, but rather racist uncle way or his friend 2662, a Cthulhu parody that WANTS to be contained because he can't stand his own cults. Let's not forget 261, a vending machine that can dispose anything with silent passive aggressive Deadpan Snarker tendencies.
- The site also has heartwarming SCP entities like 999 (a tickle loving blob buddy) and 2295, a healing teddy bear made by a grandmother for her relative.
- Finally, we have SCP creatures that are pretty much everything at once like the infamous hard to destroy lizard that is 682. It's straight up scary visually, scary in a Lovecraftian sense due to its invulnerable nature and pretty funny since it's so full of Narm and his testing logs reek of Foundation desperation and bad ideas.
- A Running Gag in the Those Aren't Muskets skit, "The Drama Queen". The titular drama queen keeps changing the genre of the clips she's in. One moment she's in the Victorian era, the next she's a rocker chick. This causes her boyfriend to break up with her.
- Due to the random nature in which events occur in Twitch Plays Pokémon and the fact that its plot comes from trying to interpret those events into something coherent, it has run the gamut of genres. Some things that it has been:
- Samurai Jack switches between a samurai movie, a spaghetti western, then a buddy comedy, silent movie slapstick, horror, crime drama, Indiana Jones-esque pulp adventure, a gladiator flick — sometimes all in the same episode!
- Gargoyles can be any genre it wants, at any time. Is it a fantasy story full of magic today? Yes! Is it a science fiction story with a man being ressurected from the dead as a cyborg? Yes! Is it a cop show with mob drama? Yes!
- The Amazing World of Gumball: Its default genre is a kids'-in-school/family animated sitcom (a la seasons one and two of The Simpsons or Diary of a Wimpy Kid), but there have been times where it's slipped into other genres, such as post-apocalyptic adventure ("The Pizza"), horror ("The Mirror," "The Joy," and "Halloween"), sketch comedy ("The Tape"), coming of age ("The Kids" and "The Shell"), and prison drama ("The Lesson"), among others.
- While Star Wars: The Clone Wars primarily remained true to the Science Fantasy Space Opera-genre of the movie saga, it also weaved dosens of other genres in. Just a few examples:
- The large battle-centric episodes/arcs are often straight-up mini-Military and Warfare Films, most notable of which is the Umbara-arc.
- The Mortis-trilogy, "Nomad Droids", a large portion of the Darth Maul-storyline, and the Yoda-arc are pure Fantasy stories set in space.
- "Senate Spy", "Duchess of Mandalore", "Pursuit Of Peace", "Senate Murders", the Season 4 Obi-Wan undercover-arc, the Season 5 Fugitive Ahsoka-arc, and the Season 6 Fives-arc are Conspiracy Thrillers.
- The Zillo-duology is a Monster movie.
- "Legacy of Terror", "Brain Invaders" and "Massacre" edge on being Horror episodes.
- Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero is about three kids who travel to other dimensions, each one a different genre (and some of them a mix of genres). One episode could be a Western where people ride dinosaurs, another a fairy-tale musical, and another a Silence of the Lambs parody with cereal mascots.
- The Scooby-Doo franchise has never been shy about dipping its fingers (paws?) in multiple genres, which may be why it's managed to last so long. The 1969 original was a rather capricious blend of kid-friendly horror, comedy and mystery, with even the occasional science-fiction episode. note Following in its footsteps, later shows and movies tend to emphasize just one of those genres per story, depending on where the Mystery Machine ends up. For example, any story with a costumed crook tends to emphasize the mystery, while stories with real monsters (like Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island) emphasize the horror, stories with more overtly mystical elements (like Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost) emphasize the fantasy, stories with tech-savvy villains (like Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders and Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase) emphasize the sci-fi, and stories that play up Scooby and Shaggy's antics (like Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf and Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School) are pure comedy.