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    Trope Namer - Disco 
For a time in the late '70s, the music genre of disco was the biggest thing ever. While it had its roots in the ethnic and gay club scenes of New York City and Philadelphia in the late '60s and early '70s, it burst into the popular consciousness with the blockbuster success of Saturday Night Fever and its soundtrack in 1977. Clubs like New York's Studio 54 became the places to be and be seen. Then, even before The '80s officially started, a backlash emerged from both white and black music listeners. Whites gravitated towards various forms of rock, specifically punk, new wave, prog rock (though that too was on its way out at the time), and assorted types of hard rock and metal (including Hair Metal, which itself became the Disco of the '80s), and rejected the genre's hip, urban image. Meanwhile, the black leaders of funk (e.g. George Clinton) actively led a campaign to "rescue dance music from the blahs," rejecting disco's fusion of "their" music style with mainstream pop. Additionally, working-class music listeners rapidly grew resentful of what they perceived to be a culture of elitism in the disco scene, given the large amount of money needed to afford the flashy outfits and dance lessons that were necessary to survive on the dance floor. Not helping matters was a number of factors that added bigotry into the mix: disco's popularity (and continued Cult Classic status) in gay clubs, the popularity of black musicians and large presence of nonwhite disco fans, and the European origins of some successful musicians and record labels all became fodder for homophobia, xenophobia, racism, and nationalism to be thrown into the mix, leading disco to be perceived among these crowds as "pretentious, gay, and un-American". Many radio stations promised "Bee Gee-free weekends", and a novelty country song called "Disco Sucks" became a crossover hit on the pop charts. Meanwhile, hard rock and punk rockers mocked it publicly, even if several of them admitted in VH1's "I Love the '70s" that they thought the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever was brilliant.

It got to the point where, on July 12, 1979, the Chicago White Sox (whose South Side base meant that their fans were black and white in about equal measure) hosted a "Disco Demolition Night" promotion (see picture on main page, see The Other Wiki for more information), the brainchild of a White Sox executive and a spurned album-oriented rock (code for progressive) DJ. Fans could bring in their disco records in exchange for less than a dollar admission; since the game was a doubleheadernote  the plan was the records would get blown up in the middle of the field between the games, and the stands at Comiskey would be extra-full because everyone and their uncle would pay to see those stupid disco records get what they deserved. Instead, the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game (the last time a game was forfeited in the American League) after the explosion led to a riot—fueled by another ill-considered moneymaking venture that afternoon: Comiskey Park had a discount on beer that day (whoops). It got so bad that even rock artists who were influenced by disco, like Rod Stewart and African-American Motown record artists like Marvin Gaye, were attacked and parodied.

Attacked on two sides and with a powerful image against it, disco was fading fast and completely dead in early 1981, and with it the fashions and styles related to or heavily associated with it (such as flared trousers). For the rest of The '80s, admitting that you liked disco may as well have been admitting to cannibalism. While dance artists like Madonna and Janet Jackson continued to take influence from it (not to mention the influence it had on early hip-hop), whatever remaining fandom the genre itself still had was restricted to gay clubs, which marginalized it even further. Disco would start to reemerge (or at least, come to the surface for fresh air) during The '90s' wave of nostalgia for the '70s and its backlash against all things '80s, mainly in the form of sampling for rap and dance songs (it didn't hurt that most popular dance music, particularly house and its offshoots, can trace its lineage straight back to disco). Still, during this same time, The Simpsons had a character named Disco Stu who was used almost purely for comic relief, showing that the genre was still far away from returning to public acceptance.

Today, it seems as though the Trope Namer itself is becoming a subversion of its own trope. The newest generation of teenagers has grown up with no memory of disco or their parents' hatred of it; to them, it's simply a style of music that they will like or dislike on its own merits. The Sirius XM disco station probably introduced more than a few new fans, as seen by the surprisingly large reaction to its removal, which forced it to be Uncanceled. Similarly, the advent of the internet allowed some people to discover disco for the first time after terrestrial radio stations stopped playing it. Many of the negative connotations associated with it have died out, and many of its enemies have toned down the vitriol and forgotten about it, and this can be seen on the pop charts; in 2013 alone, a number of "disco revival" songs by artists as diverse as Bruno Mars, Robin Thicke, and Daft Punk have been Top 40 hits. So the anti-disco backlash is itself Deader Than Disco.

Finally, the anti-disco backlash is seen by many as having had a very ugly undercurrent. Music historians who have investigated why disco became so fiercely hated agree that overexposure and elitism weren't the sole factors behind the death of disco, but that homophobia, sexism, and racism also played into it (disco having succeeded, if only for a brief time, in uniting Americans across color and sexual lines). Robert Christgau called out the latent homophobia and racism in the "Disco Sucks" movement as early as 1979, and witnesses to Disco Demolition Night noted a startling amount of destroyed records that belonged to black artists who never actually touched disco. What's more, the racism was more than open in the Midwest, as Twisted Sister found out.note  As Todd in the Shadows pointed out, hatred of disco often spilled into a more general backlash by white listeners against all African-American music, effectively raising a wall between the "white" and "black" music worlds that wouldn't be crossed until the mid-80's, when black artists like Michael Jackson and Prince and white artists like Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel became superstars with artistically strong music that was easily accessible to both white and black audiences; top tens in the early 1980's were topped by strictly white-oriented talent such as Eddie Rabbitt and Sheena Easton. While overexposure and concerns of elitism are generally seen as having been more valid reasons for the backlash, the bigotry that intertwined with much of it cause many retrospective analysts to call the nature and extent of the "Disco Sucks" movement into considerable question, with most nowadays feeling that the bigoted aspects ultimately co-opted and overshadowed the whole affair, turning it into a display of far-right strongarming that coincided with the Conservative Revolution of the late 70's, culminating in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The culturally conservative climate combined with the AIDS crisis made the practice of cruising clubs for casual sex seem dangerous.

Of course, the above only describes the United States. If you ask a Brit or a European about any anti-disco backlash, you will likely get a series of puzzled looks. Across The Pond, post-disco stayed popular well into the '80s, heavily influencing New Wave (which eventually leaked back over to the US), Synth-Pop, Italo Disco, and other styles of popular music. In Eastern Europe and in Russia, it lingered well into the early 1990s, and disco is still very much alive in Poland (as disco polo, which became something of an Ascended Meme when used in a presidential election). For much of The '80s, the global pop charts were dominated by derivatives of disco, post-disco, and punk. Artists like Amanda Wilson and Laura White now carry its torch proudly into the present day.

And this isn't even taking into account disco's influence on underground music, especially Post-Punk bands like Public Image Ltd. and ex-No Wavers like Material, Contortions, and Liquid Liquid. All operated under the basic premise of "take a disco beat and pile weird stuff on top of it", often to great and innovative effect. PiL even had a hit with a song called "Death Disco"... although who was singing probably had some effect. In the U.S., Talking Heads were heavily influenced by disco while racking up hits and critical acclaim. There was also the Industrial fascination with Eurodisco, but that's another matter entirely. This marriage of punk and disco later evolved into the Alternative Dance and Madchester genres of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which saw the success of groups like New Order, The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. Then, the overtly disco-influenced dance-punk genre of the early 2000s led to the rise of acclaimed indie band LCD Soundsystem. The disco revival scene hit a peak in 2013, when Daft Punk's single, "Get Lucky" (sung by Pharrell Williams, who himself released the hit dance song "Happy"), became one of the biggest hits of 2013, proving that the influence of disco was not dead.

Subgenres & Trends
  • The castrati were mainstays in 18th-century opera in areas where women were prohibited from singing, until Mozart, who himself had several roles for them, came along. They very rapidly fell into disuse in the 19th century as composers wrote more male roles with high voices for women and tenors. Since most of them came from poor families in Italy, where the process of making one a castrato became illegal in 1861, the "elephant songbirds," as described during the premiere of Adelaide di Borgogna, an opera by Gioachino Rossini that had a more common travesti role, became "dodos" when the last castrato, Alessandro Moreschi, died in 1922. note 

Subgenres & Trends
  • The "Class of '89" ushered in a new generation of country music, when acts such as Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, and Clint Black brought a new sound that blended traditional sounds (which were starting to come back in vogue after the Urban Cowboy era thanks to Randy Travis, George Strait, etc.) with a slicker, more commercial approach that freshened up the genre for a new generation of fans without fully abandoning traditional country values and sounds. While the "Class of '89" acts are not themselves examples by any means, they did create two examples of this trope by association:
    • Many of the "Class of '89" acts were younger men in cowboy hats and pressed suits, which caused many new artists in The '90s to adopt a similar image. While some were reasonably well-received in their day, most were derided as copycats of the A-listers, and "hat act" came to be a derogatory term. The craze died off in the late '90s as country shifted back to a greater pop influence. Pretty much the only former "hat acts" who survived unscathed were Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, both of whom grew the beard into more distinctive and substantial artists, thus keeping their careers alive well into The New '10s. Rhett Akins also escaped the "hat act" era by reinventing himself as a popular songwriter in the 2010s, in addition to fostering the career of his far more successful son, Thomas Rhett.
    • The entire city of Branson, Missouri, owes its existence to this trope when the aforementioned newer artists began taking over at the turn of The '90s. Almost figuratively overnight, singers like Charley Pride and Barbara Mandrell went from having No. 1 hits to not even making the charts. Branson was the only place they could get anyone to pay to see their shows. So they all just moved there and opened up theaters. Even 1960s rock artists like Paul Revere and the Raiders took to Branson when the hits dried up and, in many cases, the original members left the fold. As The Simpsons put it...
    Nelson: What is this place?
    Bart: Branson, Missouri. My dad says it's like Vegas if it were run by Ned Flanders.
  • The sub-genre of bro-country has come to be this. In late 2012, duo Florida Georgia Line had a smash crossover with their debut single "Cruise", which would set the tone of country music by male artists in the years to come: hip-hop beats, hair-metal guitar work, and street slang were combined with lyrics about hot women, trucks, beer, and partying. In other words, bro-country effectively ran the hedonism of Glam Rap through both fratbro and Deep South filters simultaneously. An article published in 2013 by New York magazine writer Jody Rosen coined the term "bro-country" to describe the insurgence of artists who were playing Follow the Leader in the wake of "Cruise", including up-and-comers like Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, and Chase Rice (who co-wrote "Cruise"). Existing acts like Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, and Jason Aldean also released singles that were at least partially indebted to the new sound. While younger male fans kept the songs in heavy radio rotation and strong sales, bro-country was quickly subject to derision for being Strictly Formula, as lampshaded in a viral video mashup which played six bro-country songs on top of each other to show that they all sounded pretty much the same. The genre was also mocked for its misogynistic and shallow lyrics, along with an overall absence of country influence. Even other artists lambasted the shift: Zac Brown openly called Bryan's mid-2013 hit "That's My Kind of Night" one of the worst songs he had ever heard, and Steve Earle called it "hip-hop for people who are afraid of black people" and criticized new male artists from Nashville, while artists such as Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney expressed derision toward the mindset that bro-country was creating.

    One of the first real blows to bro-country came in late 2014, when female duo Maddie & Tae came from nowhere with "Girl in a Country Song", a song lampooning bro-country's perspective on women which shot to #1 on the country charts. A few months later in 2015, radio consultant Keith Hill came under fire for making a sexist comment in an interview with Country Aircheck, saying that radio stations should play fewer female than male artists, respectively comparing them to the tomatoes and lettuce in a salad. The ensuing controversy, dubbed "Tomatogate" or "Saladgate", led to a massive outcry about sexism and misogyny in the genre. By 2015, Rosen had expressed disdain for coining the term "bro-country" and regretted how it had come to become a derogatory term, while many music critics felt that the trends of the subgenre were dying down. Most of the artists who spearheaded bro-country — Bryan, Aldean, Rhett, and Florida Georgia Line — weathered the backlash by shifting to a more ballad-driven sound. Even the poppiest-sounding country songs since 2016 have displayed none of bro-country's themes whatsoever, and some artists even began to go out of their way to put more positive portrayals of women in their songs (such as Chris Janson's "Drunk Girl"). Also not helping matters was the changing politics of country music and its fans —- the genre was rapidly gaining popularity with young, culturally liberal women from pockets of the country generally less enthusiastic about country music. These fans were generally much more likely to push back against bro-country than the more conservative and predominantly male fans who made bro-country popular in the first place. By the end of The New '10s, most male artists in country tended either toward a more romantic subgenre sometimes termed "boyfriend country" or to twangy sounds similar to the aforementioned "neotraditional" boom of the early 1990s, while many female artists such as Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini have rapidly risen in the ranks. In short, "bro-country" is very much dead and an Old Shame for the genre as a whole.


  • Toby Keith was a big name in Country Music for many years. His 1993 debut single "Should've Been a Cowboy" was a #1 smash on the country charts and was the most-played song on country radio for the entire 1990s decade. His first three albums were all certified platinum, and all but two of his first fifteen singles had made Top 10 on the country charts. He hit a bump in the road with some label disputes that caused him to leave Mercury Records for DreamWorks Records at the end of the decade, but his second DreamWorks single "How Do You Like Me Now?!" went on to become a five-week #1 smash in 2000, while also becoming the biggest country music hit of the year and his first top 40 pop hit. He amassed five albums for DreamWorks between 1999 and the label's closure in 2005, with all five producing a near-endless string of smash hits and, for the first time in his career, multi-platinum sales. The increase in hits was not without controversy, as some fans derided him for beginning to include macho posturing in his material (such as "How Do You Like Me Now?!" and the Country Rap "I Wanna Talk About Me"). He also inspired further divisiveness with his post-9/11 release "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)", which some felt was too over-the-top in its Patriotic Fervor (and the subject of a highly publicized feud with Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines). Despite the pushback over his new image, he remained a major draw at radio, and seamlessly moved to his own Show Dog label after DreamWorks Records closed.

    His momentum began to slow in the Show Dog era, due to two factors: 1.) a myriad of weak novelty songs such as "She's a Hottie", "Every Dog Has Its Day", and "Trailerhood" 2.) a decision to always release one album per year, an unfeasible choice when the singles charts moved much slower than in the 1990s — thus meaning he often had to pull singles that were showing potential just to rush out the lead single to the next album. Despite this decline, he was still a big moneymaker thanks to Show Dog (which later merged with the existing Universal South label to become Show Dog-Universal), a line of mezcal, and the restaurant chain Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. He seemed to bounce back in 2011 with "Red Solo Cup", which became a viral crossover due to its tongue-in-cheek lyrics and quirky, cameo-filled music video. However, any momentum brought by that single was killed by Toby choosing to make the next four singles all themed after alcohol in some fashion. This culminated in his album 35 MPH Town producing his worst-performing streak of hit singles to date, and its followup never even materializing due to its intended lead single coming nowhere close to the country top 40. Meanwhile, I Love This Bar & Grill was coming unraveled due to a myriad of franchise issues, causing many locations to close and many more planned locations to stop construction abruptly. The Show Dog-Universal merger only seemed to drag down Universal South's existing roster of artists thanks to Invisible Advertising and poor single choices, with nearly everyone else save for Joe Nichols and Randy Houser effectively disappearing.

    Keith himself is now seen as a punchline for the use of cartoonishly overblown Patriotic Fervor (not helped when he kept going back to America well so many times with "American Soldier", "American Ride", and "Made in America" — nor by such things as his restaurant chain unironically calling its French fries "freedom fries" as late as 2015!), Testosterone Poisoning (see "I Wanna Talk About Me", "Who's Your Daddy?", "She's a Hottie", etc.), and booze (nearly every single from "Red Solo Cup" onward) in country music, as well as the utter incompetence of his label.


  • Sugarland went from being one of the hottest acts in country music to falling completely off the radar. The group was founded by lead vocalist Jennifer Nettles, guitarist/mandolinist Kristian Bush, and guitarist Kristen Hall, all of whom had varying degrees of success in Atlanta's folk-rock scene. Their debut album Twice the Speed of Life produced three Top 10 hits and sold double-platinum, and Nettles sang duet vocals on Bon Jovi's "Who Says You Can't Go Home", a surprise hit on country radio in summer 2006. Not even losing Hall after the first album seemed to slow them down, as their second album sold even better, and accounted for their first #1 hits along with the Signature Song "Stay", a spare five-minute acoustic ballad which won them two Grammys. Love on the Inside fared almost as well as its predecessors, netting the duo three more #1 hits and becoming their first album to reach #1 on Top Country Albums. Sugarland was also sweeping the Duo categories at the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association, and seemed to be dethroning Brooks & Dunn as the genre's biggest duo.

    Then came their fourth album, The Incredible Machine, in 2010. While lead single "Stuck Like Glue" was a massive crossover and their highest-selling digital single, the album itself was met with mixed reception for its increasing acoustic-pop and arena-rock influences mixed with Lighter and Softer lyrics (elements that were starting to show on Love on the Inside), combined with a jarring steampunk influence on the album and corresponding tour. The criticism of the duo straying too far from its country roots was only exacerbated through collaborations with artists such as Rihanna and Matt Nathanson. "Tonight", the final single from the album, became their worst-performing single. The final nail in the coffin, however, wasn't anything related to the band's music or their members' behaviors, but rather bad weather, as just before their performance at the Indiana State Fair in August 2011, a stage collapsed in high winds, killing seven and injuring 58. The duo was held as scapegoats for the accident and found themselves at the head of several lawsuits, ultimately resulting in them paying a large chunk of settlements. After cutting a song for the Act of Valor soundtrack, they went on hiatus (which was already planned anyway due to Jennifer becoming pregnant).
    Both Jennifer and Kristian recorded solo albums during the hiatus but found little radio success. Their 2018 reunion album Bigger, despite fairly positive critical reception, sold a dismal 50,000 copies and saw both of its singles flop on the charts. In addition, nearly every bit of media coverage about the reunion felt it necessary to place prominence on the Indiana State Fair incident. Sugarland's legacy anymore seems to be that of an act that started out strongly, only to grow too experimental and too reliant on style over substance — or worse, as the band who saw their careers "blown away" by an unfortunate weather occurrence they had nothing to do with.


  • Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" was a huge country hit in 2003, ascending to the top of the country charts in only five weeks (tying an at-the-time record for fastest ascent to the top) and staying there for seven weeks, in addition to peaking at #22 on the Hot 100. The song was intended to bridge the gap between 9/11 and the Iraq War, with politically charged lines like "Have you forgotten how it felt that day / To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away?" and "You say we shouldn't worry 'bout Bin Laden". While the historically conservative country fanbase took very well to the song for its patriotic themes, many people who weren't country fans derided it as an aimless tune full of straw-man arguments. Between its narm factor and the lyrics that could only have come from one very specific time period — it's hard to "worry 'bout Bin Laden" anymore now that he's dead, and the US pulled out of Iraq at the start of The New '10s — this song isn't played at all anymore, not even around patriotic holidays like Memorial Day or Independence Day.

  • New Jack Swing suffered from a ton of backlash by the mid-'90s, with some critics calling the scene watered-down, cookie-cutter R&B/hip-hop and slowly driving them out. However, you could make the argument that oversaturation might have been the real culprit, as all the new jack swing songs started to sound the same. New jack swing was arguably at its climax in 1991 until Jodeci came out and created a new R&B sound, which was later dubbed Hip Hop Soul (by the time that Mary J. Blige's debut album was released).
  • Auto-Tune — specifically, the vocal distortion that was popularized by T-Pain in the late '00s — has fallen victim to this. When T-Pain used autotune to make his singing voice sound more "robotic", it launched a trend of countless rappers and singers doing the same thing, such as Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Akon, Flo Rida, Kesha, and 3OH!3. Songs featuring the technique were inescapable from 2007-10 and filled up parties everywhere. However, it was also subject to frequent mockery, and eventually, the backlash became too much to bear. Most artists who used it began to move away from the technique, and those who continued using it found diminished sales and show attendances. T-Pain, the one who popularized it, would hit this status himself. It's now viewed as a punchline for late '00s hip-hop and one of the most regrettable trends as of late. In contrast to other trends that had fallen out of the public, autotune is still in use primarly from trap artists like Future, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, and Bad Bunny, who all use the program in the majority of their songs and all of them having long term success throughtout the 2010s because of it.
  • Crunk music is firmly dead in the water today. Created by the Three Six Mafia in the '90s, and then popularized by Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz in 2003 with their huge hit "Get Low", it was absolutely massive in the mid-2000s. It was this genre that put Southern Rap on the map, making the city of Atlanta the capital of Hip-Hop (an effect that's still being felt today). Crunk filled clubs and house parties all across the nation, basically being to rap in the '00s as to what Post-Grunge was to rock music in that same decade. And not unlike post-grunge, crunk quickly gained a large number of detractors both in the hip-hop community and out, with its misogynistic objectifying of women, glorification of drugs, and screaming lyrics about immature subject matter (primarily about being drunk/stoned, and having sex with prostitutes/strippers In Da Club, or both) that took Cluster F-Bomb and N-Word Privileges to the extreme (which, being a subgenre of Hip-Hop, is really saying something). Today, virtually all crunk artists are completely forgotten, with the possible exception of Three 6 Mafia and Lil Jon (with the former due to Juicy J and their cult following in the hip hop community and the latter mainly because of his viral hit "Turn Down for What", in collaboration with DJ Snake). The basic idea of crunk ("danceable hip-hop music") lives on in the form of Trap Music, but the genre itself is unlikely to come back anytime soon, as it's among the most hated genres of hip-hop and modern music in general.
  • An offshoot of crunk, Crunkcore, is also firmly Deader Than Disco, maybe even more than its parent genre itself. It developed in the late 2000s as a fusion between crunk and the vocal styles of screamo; many crunkcore bands, however, did not scream and often just combined the crunk atmosphere with scene fashion and pop melodies. Bands like Millionaires, brokeNCYDE, 3OH!3, Family Force 5 (notably combining crunkcore with modern Christian themes), Breathe Carolina, I Set My Friends on Fire, and Blood on the Dance Floor helped popularize the genre. They also gained a massive backlash for not only carrying the same misogynistic Intercourse with You themes as regular crunk, but for their even more annoying vocal and image style, and the many sexual assault allegations against Dahvie Vanity of Blood on the Dance Floor helped give it a reputation for being a genre that had a problem with predatory pedophiles and child rapists. Crunkcore died with scene in the early 2010s, and while many of these bands continue to exist, they changed their sound to abandon crunkcore completely.
  • Another offshoot of crunk, snap, is also stone dead. Spawned in Atlanta sometime in the mid-'00s, its origins aren't entirely clear, though most will point to Dem Franchize Boyz and D4L as the creators of the genre. What is known is that it quickly became monstrously popular. A Lighter and Softer variant of crunk that downplayed the aggression in favor of a more danceable sound, snap ruled the charts from 2005 to around 2008 thanks to hits like D4L's "Laffy Taffy", Dem Franchize Boyz' "Lean wit It, Rock wit It", David Banner's "Play", and the Ying Yang Twins' "Wait (The Whisper Song)", which were downright ubiquitous and sold absolutely incredible amounts via online sales.

    Its downfall came almost as swiftly as its rise for three reasons. The first was the rise of smartphones, which allowed people to store a library of hundreds of full songs on their phones, killing off the ringtone market. The derisive term "ringtone rap" was largely referring to snap, and as the genre derived most of its popularity from cheap digital singles and ringtones, this view was not inaccurate. The second was backlash from both hip-hop fans and the mainstream as a whole, who saw snap as stupid, substance-devoid, and Money, Dear Boy personified.The third and final killing blow was likely the backlash against Soulja Boy. By the end of 2008, snap was having its last gasp by way of V.I.C.'s "Get Silly"; following this, the genre spent 2009 rapidly dying and was essentially gone completely by 2010. Nowadays, snap is viewed as the absolute nadir of 2000s pop music and one of the worst things to ever happen to hip-hop, and there has been absolutely nothing even resembling a revival of the genre. The artists themselves are invariably remembered as one hit wonders if they even are remembered, as it's more likely that people will just recognize the songs without knowing who recorded them.


  • MC Hammer is a notorious example. In the early '90s, he was one of the biggest rap stars in the world, with the album Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em going diamond (ten million sold — the first rap album to accomplish that feat) and "U Can't Touch This" becoming a sensation. He made flaunting flashy clothes and an opulent lifestyle fashionable (rather than the strictly "hood" styles of most rappers of the time) and was on the leading edge of rappers acting as commercial pitchmen. A big part of his success was that he was considered a family-friendly alternative to the edgier rappers of the day; he was a devout Christian who started his career as a street preacher and a member of a Gospel rap group called the Holy Ghost Boys, and made it a point to keep his music fairly clean and include a religious song on every one of his albums even after he went into secular music.note  Between all of this, MC Hammer was frequently, and unironically, called hip-hop's version of Michael Jackson, the "King of Rap" whose legacy would shape the genre for decades to come. However, as discussed by The Rap Critic, there soon came three factors that derailed his success.

    First, the Gangsta Rap boom caused him to switch his sound in order to stay relevant, shortening his name to "Hammer" and taking on a more hardcore, Darker and Edgier persona. Whilst his 1994 album The Funky Headhunter was a platinum-selling success upon its release, and spawned the minor Memetic Mutation "it's all good", it ruined the clean-and-wholesome image that he had cultivated, which had allowed him to sell rap to mainstream America without the controversy raised by the more hardcore artists. On one hand, seeing him in a Speedo thrusting his crotch while surrounded by scantily-clad women in the song "Pumps and a Bump" (in a video that would be banned from MTV) alienated the parents who saw him as a family-friendly alternative to the sex and violence in contemporary pop and rap music. And on the other, it got him laughed at as a Sell-Out and a poser by actual gangsta rappers and hip-hop fans, who knew of his clean-cut reputation and didn't buy his tough, street-wise hustler act for a second. The fact that he recorded several diss tracks probably didn't help.

    Second, he was massively overexposed. Even at his height, rivals like LL Cool J were dissing him for what they saw as over-the-top commercialization, which included shoes, T-shirts, Hammer pants, and his Saturday Morning Cartoon Hammerman. This may have actually provoked his switch to gangsta rap, as it's possible that he felt he needed to prove to his detractors that he wasn't a one-trick pony.

    Finally, he single-handedly redefined the phrase "Conspicuous Consumption" for Generation X. There was his infamous mansion, for starters. Then there were his expensive music videos, which set records at the time. Throw in the cars, the thoroughbred racehorses, an entourage that ballooned up to nearly 200 people at one point (allegedly, he would "hire" friends and relatives who needed a job to do nothing as a form of charity) and to top it all off, the gold chains for his Rottweilers. He had to file for bankruptcy in 1996 as a result of this, and he remains a symbol of living beyond one's means. This is referenced in Nelly's song "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)", where he talks about how he's going to "blow thirty mil like I'm Hammer."

    By 1997, MC Hammer had all but vanished from mainstream attention, known only as a washed-up punchline. Even now, his reputation has been damaged to the point that he is remembered by younger audiences as a One-Hit Wonder. That demographic would be shocked to discover that not only did he have six top 40 hits (including five top ten hits), but "U Can't Touch This" was only his fifth-highest charting song on the Hot 100, only reaching #8. "Pray" peaked at #2, "Have You Seen Her" went to #4, "Too Legit to Quit" went to #5, and even "The Addams Groove" went to #7.
  • Soulja Boy exploded out of nowhere in 2007 with "Crank That (Soulja Boy)", a viral dance tune that became the first ever rap song to become a hit through the power of the internet. The dance spread across pop culture like wildfire, and the accompanying music video got a whopping 27 million views on YouTube at the height of its popularity, an insane number when YouTube was still in its infancy. The song topped the Hot 100 for seven weeks in late 2007, when he was just 17 years old. A year later, he released "Kiss Me Thru the Phone", which would become an inescapable rap crossover hit that was played non-stop on both pop and rhythmic stations, and sold over five million in the U.S. alone. It seemed like Soulja Boy would continue onward into more viral success.

    However, his popularity would collapse rapidly by the '10s for a few reasons. His primary audience was kids and teens, who eventually matured and grew out of him. He infamously dissed the well-regarded Lupe Fiasco in a 2010 interview, prompting Lupe to release a successful diss track in response. Soulja also tried to play the part of being One of Us, but gaffed with lyrics that referred to Light Yagami as "Death Note", turning off the anime fans he was attempting to court. Nowadays, despite his five Top 40 hits, he's remembered as a One-Hit Wonder for "Crank That", which is only brought up as a symbol of how bad rap music got in the '00s. His newer albums have completely flopped, and an attempt at releasing a "SouljaGame" line of video game consoles in 2018 backfired badly when they turned out to be rebranded emulator devices loaded with pirated games and sold at a markup, leading to a legal threat from Nintendo that forced him to quickly pull the machines from sale.
  • Of all the acts that fell off at the turn of the '10s, few fell harder than T-Pain. After he was discovered by Akon, his popularity exploded with his 2005 debut album Rappa Ternt Sanga. As the title would suggest, he abandoned rapping early on in favor of singing. However, calling it "singing" was something of a stretch. The entire album was one big celebration of auto-tune, which T-Pain used to make his voice sound more robotic. Despite being panned by many critics, the use of auto-tune quickly caught on and produced two Top 10 hits with "I'm Sprung" and "I'm 'n Luv (Wit a Stripper)". He also helped rap legend E-40 have his first major pop hit by appearing on his 2006 track "U & Dat". His music became a staple of clubs and parties all over the world. He continued that success with his 2007 album Epiphany, which proved to be an even bigger success, as it produced his first #1 hit with "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')", became his first chart-topping album, and sold even more than his first album did. In early 2008, he also made Flo Rida a star by appearing on his debut 10-week #1 single "Low", making him inescapable everywhere. By this point, it seemed like everyone was following his lead with extensive use of auto-tune, as countless rappers and singers were mimicking his style. It looked like T-Pain was going to carry on as one of the leaders of modern hip-hop music.

    However, as he got more and more popular, an equally large backlash had also been forming. He was already widely disliked for his use of auto-tune that so many mimicked, as well as his lyrics that often glorified the use of alcohol and drugs and objectified women. Auto-Tune itself was also starting to get a backlash by the '10s, which may have been spearheaded by Jay-Z's hit "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)", made as a response to the omnipresence of the software. T-Pain began to be seen as a symbol of what was wrong with urban music, and while it wasn't immediately noticeable, the fall was beginning to take place. His 2008 album Thr33 Ringz only peaked at #4 on charts despite being released a year after his last chart-topping album, producing one Top 10 with "Can't Believe It" that was powered by Lil Wayne, and two other songs that only barely scraped the Top 40. Aside from a minor success with DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win" in 2010, the transition to the '10s marked the beginning of the end for him. While 2011's REVOLVEЯ produced a #10 hit with "5 O'Clock", featuring Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen, it was powered solely by a strong debut from Khalifa's fanbase, as he was a hot, fast-rising rapper at the time (and, to a lesser extent, some Americans deciding to give Allen a chance after ignoring her for years). The followup "Turn All the Lights On" (featuring Ne-Yo) failed to even reach the Hot 100; the album itself only debuted at a measly #28 and became his first album to not reach certification. Robotic auto-tune began to die out because of this; the many artists he influenced began to move away from that kind of sound. Not helping matters was hip-hop and R&B's general decline from being the mainstream genres, and the rise of Electronic Music supplanting it at clubs and parties. This may have been the result of hip-hop being flooded with obvious auto-tune in the first place. All of this left T-Pain in a tough spot since he couldn't easily escape the backlash to auto-tune due to being the Genre Popularizer for it. The fall became evident in 2013 when he released "Up Down (Do this all Day)", which featured B.o.B., and it reached a measly #62. The following year, he released a greatest hits album titled T-Pain Presents Happy Hour: The Greatest Hits, which didn't even make the Top 200. T-Pain's planned fourth album Stoicville was repeatedly delayed since 2014 and the three singles he released for it, "Stoicville", "Make that Shit Work" and "Roof on Fye", have failed to chart anywhere at all. His actual fourth album, Revolver, peaked at 25 on the U.S. charts, while his fifth and sixth didn't braek the top 100.

    Though still touring today, T-Pain has gone from playing in massive arenas and headlining big events to playing in nightclubs, resorts, and small-name music festivals. His music is now viewed as emblematic of everything wrong with hip-hop in the mid-to-late '00s - trashy, excessive, misogynistic, annoying, and generally idiotic. It's telling when almost all of his music nowadays is completely forgotten, only remembered for the terrible lyrics and annoying auto-tuned voice that sang them. Even the songs that he was featured in have been forgotten by sheer association (who seriously remembers E-40's "U & Dat", Rick Ross' "The Boss" or Lil Mama's "Shawty Get Loose"?). "Low" and "All I Do Is Win" seem to be the only exceptions to this. Airplay is virtually non-existent, only getting an occasional spin on throwback stations, with his spot on "Low" making up most of it. He had a minor comeback in 2014 when he appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts video series, singing some of his old hits without the auto-tune and with a more soulful delivery. While the video racked up 13 million views, became a minor internet sensation, and was for a time the most viewed video in NPR's history, it did not result in him making any significant comeback on the charts. In early 2019, he won The Masked Singer, further proving he can sing without autotune, but it still didn't give him a sizable comeback. While "never say never" is the motto of the music industry, it'll be miraculous if T-Pain could ever crawl out of the hole he's fallen in. And since he's the symbol of one of the most reviled trends of 2000s music, that miracle is a vanishing possibility.
  • Vanilla Ice burst onto the hip-hop scene in 1990 with his debut single "Ice Ice Baby", which topped the Hot 100. His next single, "Play That Funky Music", wasn't quite as big as "Baby", but it was enough to peak at #4. All of this was enough for Ice's debut album To the Extreme to spend 17 weeks on top of the Billboard 200, going on to sell over 7 million copies in the United States. At this point, Vanilla Ice had a bright future ahead of him.

    Unfortunately, his record label, SBK Records, had created a fake backstory about Vanilla Ice, and worst of all, Ice was being accused of plagiarism, which he awkwardly denied. As it turned out, the bassline for "Ice Ice Baby" was stolen from Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure", while "Funky Music" did not properly credit Wild Cherry's lead singer Rob Parissi as a songwriter. The original artists were then properly credited after the lawsuits were settled, at the cost of "Funky Music" being blacklisted from most radio stations. His motion picture debut, Cool as Ice, didn't make the Top 10 on its debut weekend, got terrible reviews, and earned Ice a Razzie for Worst New Star (and its soundtrack debuted at #89). All his albums since then have completely failed to chart anywhere. His second album, 1994's Mind Blowin' was a gigantic commercial flop, not even making the Billboard album chart that To the Extreme had topped just four years earlier. He changed his image on that album to a dreadlocked stoner, inspired by Cypress Hill, but no one took that reinvention seriously. When he released his third album, the Rap Rock effort Hard to Swallow in 1998, the executives at Republic Records seriously compared it John Travolta's Career Resurrection in Pulp Fiction. It was also a huge dud, and once again, no one bought his new image as a nu metal singer. He soon fell into drug addiction and at one point was nearly Driven to Suicide, forcing him to (understandably) put his recording career on hold to focus on his mental health recovery.

    While he's made a full recovery, is back to recording new music (with Psychopathic Records no less), and has made a small fortune flipping houses on DIY Network, of all things, to most people in America he is the punchline about white rappers. Beavis and Butt-Head sharing that look of "Are you kidding me?" when the video for "Ice Ice Baby" came on and then abruptly switching channels probably sealed the deal. (They would do the same thing with Milli Vanilli.)
  • After the death of Tupac Shakur in 1996, a large number of rappers throughout the late 1990s tried to capitalize on his image and persona. One of the more successful of these knockoffs was Ja Rule. Starting in 1999 with his single "Holla Holla", Ja Rule released several chart-topping songs through the 2000s. These include "Between Me and You", "I'm Real" and "It Ain't Funny". Ja had earned him four Grammy Nominations along with six top ten albums. He is also notable for launching the career of RnB songstress Ashanti, who collaborated with him on several hit songs, including the Grammy-nominated #1 hit "Always on Time".

    However, a number of factors would lead to his career's demise before the decade ended. Firstly, for someone who claimed to be a hardcore gangsta rapper, he sang far too often in his songs (and wasn't even a good singer to boot). Another was his overabundance of, as The Rap Critic describes, "thugs need love too" songs. Essentially, these were songs that had a female on the chorus singing soulfully about how much they need Ja Rule and what great a person he is, while he, in turn, raps about hardcore sex and how much of a gangster he still is despite his relationship with her. While these songs did do well, "Always on Time" being one of them, the dissonance was too much for some people, as a woman saying how much she loves you while you're simultaneously calling her a bitch and gold-digging whore rubbed people the wrong way. Not to mention he did an ill-advised collaboration song with Metallica in 2002, which was widely hated by fans of both and promptly forgotten.

    Ja Rule's death knell was the same reason many rappers in the 2000s fell off: he started a feud with Eminem. In 2002, Ja released a song titled "Loose Change", which was a diss track aimed at Eminem, 50 Cent, and Dr. Dre. In the song, Ja Rule had a line specifically aimed at Eminem's then 7-year-old daughter Hailie ("Em, you claim your mother's a crackhead and Kim is a known slut, so what's Hailie gon' be when she grows up?"). This, understandably, pissed off Eminem. It pissed him off so much that he teamed up with D12 and Obie Trice to write a response track called "Hailie's Revenge" where they accused Ja Rule of ripping off Tupac, not being a real gangster, and saying that no one would remember him when he dies. 50 Cent also dissed Ja Rule in a track, calling him a fake and a phony. Busta Rhymes joined in on the conflict by releasing "Hail Mary 2003", a remake of Pac's song "Hail Mary", which was a direct response to Ja Rule's remake of another of Pac's songs "Pain" (titled "So Much Pain"), wherein Busta also laid into Ja's appropriation of Tupac, saying he will never live up to such an icon of rap music. Ja Rule just couldn't keep it going anymore after all of the insults thrown his way, and he ended up joining the dustbin of 2000s rappers that flashed in the pan for a moment before fading into obscurity.

    Since then, Ja Rule has all but vanished from the spotlight and is now viewed as one of the prime examples of rappers who tried to leech off Tupac's fame and influence. He has been in and out of jail for various drug, gun and assault offenses, and the most noteworthy news to spring from him came in 2017 when he was indicted for fraud due to his involvement in the debacle known as the Fyre Festival. His last album, Pain is Love 2 from 2012, received tepid reviews and only sold 3,200 copies. While he has a new album, Twelve, originally scheduled for February 29, 2020 but now in limbo, it's doubtful he will reach the heights he did in the 2000s.

Genres & Industry Trends
  • Charity Motivation Songs. The first few multi-artist singles were done in response to the famine in Ethiopia in The '80s, and they were seen as revolutionary in bringing many artists together to promote a worthy cause. Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" and USA For Africa's "We Are the World", both aimed at supporting those affected by the famine, are credited for kicking off the trend (though a Canadian response to both singles called "Tears Are Not Enough" was also successful), and other multi-artist singles since then, such as the 1991 song "Voices That Care" (aimed at boosting the morale of those fighting in the Gulf War — which ended the very day the single got released) and the Artists Against AIDS Worldwide recording of "What's Going On", made international charts. As time went on, however, Values Dissonance kicked in and multi-artist charity songs are now largely viewed as Glurge and (as this brilliant AV Club article notes) mostly concerned about promoting the artists themselves instead of the cause.

    While the UK, who brought us "Do They Know" many years earlier, has continued to pump out multi-artist charity singles, many of which went to #1, the last American one of note was the 2010 "We Are The World" remake benefiting those affected by the Haitian earthquake, which, despite peaking at #2 on the charts, was widely panned by critics and considered inferior to the original version. Adding a rap verse, having autotuned parts courtesy of Akon and T-Pain (both of whom became this trope after a few years), and giving parts to people such as Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, and Justin Bieber, probably did not help, even though it also featured the likes of Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Céline Dion, as well as keeping the vocals of Michael Jackson from the original as a tribute to him. It also held the distinction of being the lowest-rated song of all-time on Rate Your Music for several years. Nowadays, even the original charity singles like "We Are the World" have been derided as egotistical-sounding glurgefests — the only song to really escape this is Band Aid's original recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?", which may also be a divisive song but still enjoys airplay around Christmastime and otherwise doesn't share much of the tropes that sour many charity recordings; and even that song is accused of having a negative portrayal of Africa.

Male solo artists

  • During The '50s, Pat Boone was one of the biggest pop performers in America. He explicitly served as The Moral Substitute to the edgy Rock & Roll artists of the day by singing Bowdlerised covers of their songs, with a number of them (such as his versions of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame") actually making it higher on the charts than the originals. Nowadays, though, the original songs serve as the First and Foremost versions, while his covers have faded into obscurity. When he is remembered, it's usually as a symbol of the buttoned-up cultural conservatism of '50s pop culture; the fact that he's since found steady work as a right-wing Christian commentator hasn't done much to challenge that image. He has a cult following among metalheads for his album In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, which featured covers of classic metal songs in his big-band style. (Ronnie James Dio even sang backing vocals on Boone's cover of "Holy Diver"!) Even then, though, it's chiefly an ironic fandom, akin to that of Chuck Norris.
  • The animated character Crazy Frog, the former mascot of German music and cellphone company Jamster, was everywhere in Europe early in The Noughties. The character was a male frog-like creature with a high-pitched voice who sang various songs and sometimes making weird sounds and gibberish. He was so popular that he gained his own set of video games and a few arcade cabinets. However, by the mid 2000s, the character started gaining a lot of dislike from the public and resulted in Jamster having to retire the character in early 2007 and ended up getting replaced with Schnuffel, the company's current mascot who has gained more positive reaction with the public. The character even made a cameo in The Amazing World of Gumball where it gets chased by a group of angry animals.
  • Liberace, the flamboyant piano player, was one of the most popular and highest paid music performers of The '50s. He was especially popular among teenage girls, who swooned over him the way their big sisters used to swoon over the young Frank Sinatra. His popularity extended well into The '60s, as a pleasant alternative to rock 'n' roll. Most popular non-rock and non-Motown music performers of the '50s and '60s are forgotten today, but Liberace is still remembered for being a ridiculously camp figure, as well as a joke on the era's cluelessness of his obvious closet homosexuality ("I wish my brother George was here" was referenced on Looney Tunes). If a character refers to Liberace (Superman II, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series), they're Ambiguously Gay. What's more, his legacy in modern times suffers on account of the fact that he was, during his life, very adamant about denying that he was gay, giving him detractors in today's LGBT community. Being openly gay back then was tantamount to career suicide, but even after his death in 1987, his estate and personal physician went through great efforts to cover up the fact that he died from AIDS-related complications. His fall from grace appeared complete when his Las Vegas museum closed due to waning popularity in 2010 (with plans to reopen it in 2014 failing to materialize).
  • Of all the artists to top the Hot 100 in The New '10s, few fell as hard and fast as R&B singer Robin Thicke. He had been around for years, with several hits on urban radio, one major pop hit ("Lost Without U", also the top single of 2007 on the R&B chart) and steady work as a songwriter for other artists. He finally broke through in 2013, riding a wave of No Such Thing as Bad Publicity thanks to his kinda-sleazy song "Blurred Lines", which became the unofficial Song of the Summer, and an equally controversial performance with Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VMAs. This seemed to work primarily because of a carefully constructed image of a Rule-Abiding Rebel - he played the part of a lecherous womanizer, but got something of a pass because he was clearly Happily Married and devoted to his wife and high school sweetheart, actress Paula Patton, who appeared on the cover of his debut A Beautiful World.
    However, the controversy surrounding "Blurred Lines" began to catch up to it, with a popular Tumblr post that featured rape survivors holding up cards with their rapists' quotes on them that eerily echoed the song's lyrics and others like it gaining public attention. Moreover, throughout 2013 and 2014, stories began to emerge that Thicke's sleazy creep persona wasn't all an act, and after getting proof in the form of a photo taken in an elevator with mirrored walls showing him groping a female fan, Patton publicly left him. His follow-up album Paula, as the name implies, was a transparent, desperate and depressing attempt to win her back, only digging him further down. And to make matters worse, Paula bombed with only 24,000 copies sold in the US in its first week (compared to 177,000 for his debut) and international numbers even worse (only 550 copies in Canada, 530 in the UK, and 158 in Australia - even being knocked out of the top 500 bestselling albums of the year in that country by a Greatest Hits Album from Blondie, which sold 159 units). By the summer of 2014, Thicke's name became more synonymous with "that rapey song" than anything else, with few people defending the implications of "Blurred Lines" anymore.
    Things only got worse for Thicke with the allegations that he copied his megahit from Marvin Gaye, which proved to be true, and in March 2015, Thicke and collaborator Pharrell Williams (who managed to escape this status) lost the lawsuit and were forced to pay Gaye's descendants $7.5 million due to the jury finding that "Blurred Lines" infringed the rights of "Got to Give It Up". Today, most of the rhythmic and urban stations that he had been a staple of for over a decade have dropped him from the airwaves, or at least significantly downplayed his presence. Even airplay of his mega-hit nowadays is sporadic as the aforementioned subtext and infringement of the song have become its most famous aspects. Thicke has been called the Vanilla Ice of the 2010s. It's likely he'll be seen as an Old Shame for many of his former fans and for those who actually liked "Blurred Lines" at the height of its popularity (what also doesn't help is the fact that "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied it to make "Word Crimes" for Mandatory Fun). What truly solidified Thicke's Deader Than Disco status was in 2015, where rap superstar Flo Rida attempted to breathe some life into his career by having him sing in his summer jam "I Don't Like It, I Love It". Not only did it not help revive his career, but he brought the song down as well. It spent weeks floating at the bottom of the charts and fell short of the Top 40 peaking at #43, before subsequently plummeting downward. Comparing that to Rida's other two singles from the My House EP ("G.D.F.R." and the Title Track), which had no problems reaching the Top 10, it's easy to see why it failed to be a hit. The final nail was "Back Together" featuring Nicki Minaj, which tried to throw back the disco sounds of "Blurred Lines", only to fail to get any traction whatsoever. While other similar R&B crossover stars with a single pop hit like Pharrell Williams remain iconic examples of R&B in The New '10s, Thicke is seen as a quintessential One-Hit Wonder to most of the general public. Of course, "never say never" is the mantra of the entertainment industry, but for him to recover from falling that far that fast with all the controversy surrounding him would take nothing short of a miracle at this point.

Female solo artists

  • In 2003 and '04, Ashlee Simpson piggybacked off of her older sister Jessica's reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica to enjoy a meteoric rise. She was billed as a Darker and Edgier version of Jessica (she dyed her hair black! And she played rock!), and was expected to follow Jessica's footsteps to become a major pop star with a Pop Punk sound akin to Avril Lavigne. Her first album, 2004's Autobiography, went triple platinum. Then came her disastrous performance on Saturday Night Live in October 2004, where she was caught lip-syncing when her band started playing the wrong song, followed by an embarrassing "hoe-down" when she realized what was happening. While she still had three more hit songs following the incident, her image was badly tarnished. Matters were only made worse by an equally disastrous half-time performance at the Orange Bowl a few months later, in which she was singing live — and it showed.

    Together, the two concert debacles created the impression that Ashlee couldn't actually sing without studio help, and her music career was all but over. Her following album, 2005's I Am Me, sold far less than Autobiography and didn't even reach the platinum mark, and she only released one more album after that, the commercial bomb Bittersweet World in 2008. She's had a bit more success as an actress, playing Violet Foster on the short-lived Melrose Place Sequel Series and Roxie Hart in Broadway and West End productions of Chicago while mostly abandoning the punk image of her days as a pop star, but when she's brought up today (outside the tabloids and reality TV), it's usually in the same breath as Milli Vanilli, as the punchline of jokes about lip-syncing and manufactured pop stars.


  • When it was released in 2000, "The Christmas Shoes" by the Christian Rock band NewSong became a massive crossover hit with secular listeners, topping the Adult Contemporary chart in the US, reaching #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, and hitting #31 on the Country Music charts. Another version of the song by Girl Group 3 of Hearts also made the country music charts a year later, and a novelization was adapted into a Made-for-TV Movie. These days, it frequently shows up on lists of the worst Christmas songs of all time, mainly for its glurge-y lyrics that paint a very twisted portrait of the True Meaning of Christmas (which Patton Oswalt devoted a stand-up routine to tearing apart and making fun of). Because of the song's reputation, the song gets rarely played nowadays on radio stations during the holidays, not even on Christian or Country radio.

  • Emo Music, specifically the 'emo-pop' that burst into the mainstream in the early-mid 2000s. Popularized by bands such as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, it experienced considerable backlash in the last couple of years of the decade, to the point where artists previously considered to be at the heart of the scene were publicly mocking it. By The New '10s, groups that had formerly embraced the style had either disbanded or modified their sound, the labels 'emo' and 'scenester' had become epithets and insults among young people, and modern metalcore/scenecore, electronicore, and certain deathcore acts took their place as emo culture gradually transformed into scene.

    By 2017, there was evidence of a little nostalgia for the genre though - "Emo Nights" were being hosted in multiple populous US cities, wherein DJs would play "emo" songs from the early to mid 2000s and the attendees (usually those who were teenagers in the genre's heyday) would often sing along to their old favorites. Those club nights ran parallel to the rising indie popularity of "emo revival" bands like Modern Baseball, although the style of music they play hews closer to the late '90s midwest emo sound than 2000s emo-pop.
  • While scene (basically the Denser and Wackier evolution of emo) largely supplanted emo, it too has become Deader Than Disco as of the late 2010s. The roots of scene started to emerge on MySpace and Facebook roughly around 2005 or 2006 and slowly grew over the next two years when emo was on its last legs and most emo-pop acts were either transitioning to more straightforward pop punk or post-hardcore sound or breaking up. Unlike emo, there was no actual scene genre, but it can generally be agreed upon that modern metalcore (particularly The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria, Bring Me the Horizon, A Day to Remember, Escape the Fate, Black Veil Brides, Motionless In White, and Falling in Reverse; the association was so strong that this type of metalcore was commonly dubbed "scenecore"), electronicore, crunkcore, and certain deathcore artists (primarily Suicide Silence, as well as Attila and Chelsea Grin) were commonly associated with the culture, and the Warped Tour was the tastemaker and general epicenter of the movement. It rapidly ascended to the forefront of alternative youth culture throughout 2009, and by 2010, it had fully taken emo's place, and the image of the swoop haircut (for men) or poofy, layered, heavily dyed hair (for women) and bright, garish, high-contrast color motifs was burned into the cultural consciousness. By 2013, however, it was beginning to die out; the steady decline of the Warped Tour was dragging down scene with the ship, while the death of Mitch Lucker and the near-constant stream of sexual misconduct allegations against numerous musicians helped hasten its demise, and it rapidly died off over 2014 before keeling over completely in 2015. Its fall completely wiped out electronicore and the last vestiges of crunkcore, while the modern metalcore acts that were tied to it found themselves either breaking up or substantially retooling their sounds, and scene fashion barely hung on in the juggalo subculture for another year or two. Nowadays, scene is generally regarded as the distillation of all of the most ridiculous and trashy aspects of the late 2000s and early 2010s youth culture full of annoying music, predatory scumbags using their position to sexually exploit young fans, and ceaseless petty drama, and while most of the acts that successfully escaped the scene label are still doing quite well, the ones who didn't survive are viewed as the dregs of the Warped Tour, and scene fashion is almost exclusively viewed as the current domain of lowlives.
  • Post-Grunge is dead in the water today, being to the Turn of the Millennium what the trope namer was to The '70s - the punchline of a decade. It originated when bands played music that took the most popular elements of Grunge music while scrubbing down the more experimental elements and doing away with the dour lyrics that were undergoing a backlash at the time due in part to Kurt Cobain's suicide. Post-grunge quickly became the most popular mainstream rock genre in the late '90s and only continued to get bigger in the 2000s, providing an ample amount of crossover hits and the forerunners of the genre such as Foo Fighters, Creed, and Nickelback became some of the biggest bands in the world. And since post-grunge was mainstream friendly, people flocked to it to get away from more "dangerous" music genres; then, when "dangerous" music was in vogue again, a wave of harder-tinged acts like Hinder, Buckcherry, and Saving Abel came out to cater to those who were starting to write the original acts off as too light (though it was still mainstream-friendly).

    By the late 2000s though, fatigue would set in for a variety of reasons. Firstly, while other rock genres grew to popularity around the time period, post-grunge reigned with a virtual stranglehold on the mainstream to the point where it became inseparable from rock music as a whole, and due to its mainstream-friendliness, this led to an oversaturation on the radio stations. On top of that, the genre built up a reputation for being formulaic in its musical structure and lyrics. With those two combined, it didn't take long for a backlash against the music and the bands playing it to reach full swing. Bands like Creed and Nickelback became the biggest targets of mockery and were held responsible for having "killed rock music" (or at least leaving it stagnant). The harder-tinged acts also faced backlash for the childishly hedonistic and misogynistic themes of their own lyrics; the bands that avoided these sorts of themes had to either modify their sound or Genre Shift completely in order to stay afloat. And because post-grunge had become nearly inseparable from rock music as a whole for over a decade, many rock fans felt that once the genre succumbed to its own fatigue, it did lasting damage to rock music's reputation and contributed to its decline from the mainstream music scene of the 2010s — Shinedown’s 2009 #7 hit "Second Chance" remains, as of 2019, the most recent pop crossover hit from the Mainstream Rock genre charts — enabling Electronic Music to fill in the void and finally establish a foothold on the mainstream American music consciousness.

    Today, post-grunge is held up as a cautionary tale in what happens when you take a genre as unique as grunge and turn it into a mass-produced commercial product. Only a few bands managed to survive the fall and still consistently put out hits and play to decently sized audiences (though not nearly as large as in their prime). Even then, it was largely because those bands incorporated elements of other genres into their sound to the point that some would say they're "not really post-grunge anyway" or abandoned it altogether. Besides them, the scene is a graveyard full of bands that can't chart to save their lives, are stuck playing in small clubs and are little more than a mockery target (if they aren't completely forgotten altogether). Whenever anyone uses the term "butt rock" in a derisive fashion, they're most likely referring to post-grunge, and one would have a hard time finding a rock band formed in the 10s that plays this style, since Lighter and Softer pop/indie-inspired rock and Electronic Music-infused rock have become the vogue, and if a band is going to play harder-edged rock in this day and age, it will most certainly not be in the style of post-grunge.
  • "Shock Rock", rock music whose main allure was how shocking and offensive it was to Moral Guardians (such as Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and GWAR), has largely died out. The main reason is due to cultural desensitization to such musical flamboyance — mainstream pop singers like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Adam Lambert, Miley Cyrus (post-Hannah Montana), and others have made shock value such a major part of their routines that it's become, well, routine to expect musicians to push the envelope. Secondly, the internet has made far more extreme bands and genres (Gangsta Rap, Death Metal, horrorcore, etc.) accessible to young people wishing to rebel against their parents. Furthermore, the Moral Guardians that once railed against shock rock, and gave it much of its allure in the process, are nowadays seen as ineffectual jokes. The last true shock rock band to make it big was Marilyn Manson in the '90s,note  and possibly and since then, this once-controversial style of rock music has turned into joke fodder.


  • Creed was arguably the biggest band in the world around the turn of the 21st century, reaching their peak with their Diamond-selling sophomore album Human Clay in 1999. However, between frontman Scott Stapp's on- and off-stage antics and their Signature Songs "With Arms Wide Open" and "Higher" being played on a seemingly infinite loop on the radio, a backlash formed from which the band would never recover despite breakups, reunions, and follow-up albums. The tipping point came when the band performed in Chicago at the Allstate Arena in 2002. Stapp was so drunk that he could barely stand up, and he fell off the stage several times and eventually got booed off after only three songs, with many people calling it one of the absolute worst performances in the history of rock music. Creed soon broke up, and the backing band formed Alter Bridge with a different singer. While never nearly as successful as Creed (just one gold album and a #1 Mainstream Rock hit), Alter Bridge is a much more respected band, with Mark Tremonti becoming an elite guitarist. When Creed reunited in 2009, tour sales were so poor that tickets cost less than a dollar. Stapp's personal life, meanwhile, spiraled out of control, to the point that he was broke and living alone in a hotel for a period of time; while he managed to cobble together a solo career, said career has never risen above small rock clubs in the few areas of the United States and Canada where his style of rock still draws. His brief run with Art of Anarchy saw similarly middling returns and culminated in a lawsuit against him in 2018 for failing to fulfill his contractually-obligated duties to the band.

    Today, Creed remains one of the biggest pariahs of the music world, being voted as the worst band of the '90s by the readers of Rolling Stone in 2013 by such an overwhelming margin that the editors said the competition "wasn't even close" between Creed and second-placer Nickelback. Today, it is a social taboo to admit to being a Creed fan or even admitting to owning one of their albums during their Glory Days, the general consensus on them being that they were a poor man's ripoff of Pearl Jam with an obnoxious frontman (both on and off the stage). An article by Chuck Klosterman about his experience seeing both Creed and Nickelback's New York concerts the same night notes how "people who talk about Creed want to position themselves as distanced from what Creed is alleged to represent".
  • Hinder, as noted above, was one of the many bands that fell to this status due to the fall of Post-Grunge. After spending some time in the underground, they signed a deal with Universal Records in 2005. While "Get Stoned", their first single off of Extreme Behavior (their major-label debut), wasn't a massive hit, it was enough to make the album debut at #6 on the Billboard 200. That changed when "Lips of an Angel" was released. The band's rise was meteoric from there. Topping multiple charts and staying there for a while, "Lips of an Angel" was ubiquitous, to the point that a Country Music cover by Jack Ingram was also a minor success. The other two singles off of the album ("How Long" and "Better than Me") soon followed suit and managed to essentially take over the airwaves for this band, and this was all enough to propel the parent album to triple-platinum sales. Hinder was one of the biggest modern rock acts on the planet at this time. Take It to the Limit, their 2008 follow-up, debuted even higher at #4, and while its main singles "Use Me" and "Without You" weren't quite as huge as "Lips of an Angel", they still filled up rock radio. That being said, it was obvious that the band had slid some, as it took forever to even reach Gold and has still not reached Platinum; some of this may have been their move towards a sound more reminiscent of Hair Metal as opposed to the hard rock-tinged post-grunge of Extreme Behavior.

    The first sign of serious trouble was when both singles from 2010's All American Nightmare barely charted (though the Title Track was a #6 hit) and the album itself only debuted at #37. While plenty of bands would still see this as a big success, it was a massive slide from where they were. Not only did this not correct itself by 2012, but Welcome to the Freakshow, their fourth major-label album, debuted at #65 (only selling 60,000 copies as of 2015), and "Save Me", the lead single, charted even lower. Sales were so bad that their major label Republic Records unceremoniously dropped them. The final nail in the coffin was when frontman and founder Austin Winkler left the band in the middle of a tour due to his drug issues. The band tested out Jared Weeks, the former frontman of Saving Abel (another band that fell to complete obscurity when post-grunge declined), for the rest of their tour, only for him to leave soon afterward. Now signed to The End Records, a rock label owned by rising star BMG, they released When the Smoke Clears with a friend of the band on vocals to negative reviews; it managed to peak in the 70s on the Billboard 200 before vanishing the next week. Lead single "Hit the Ground" barely charted on Mainstream Rock, and the band had to crowdfund the album just to try and build some buzz due to nonexistent promotion from their label. Hinder's 2017 album, The Reign, failed to chart, with "Remember Me" peaking at a lamentable #39 on rock radio. Around that time, the remaining band members sued former lead singer Winkler over trademark infringement.

    While still around, Hinder has gone from being a well-drawing live act and being all over the airwaves to playing in small clubs with other has-beens and barely making the charts, and their music is viewed as emblematic of everything that was wrong with modern rock in the mid '00s and early '10s: trashy, misogynistic, childishly hedonistic, and generally moronic. When people refer to an act as "butt rock", they're talking about bands like Hinder. Also, it's pretty well known by now that "Lips of an Angel" is about a man pining for his ex despite his present girlfriend being in the next room, and saying he has to whisper even though he belts out the chorus... in other words, it's a song that's all about Your Cheating Heart. This becomes Harsher in Hindsight when one realizes that Winkler is divorced, and was accused of domestic abuse by an ex-girlfriend. Suffice to say, Hinder is all but forgotten, and if they're even remembered at all, it's to be a punchline for being one of the worst examples of "x-rated post-grunge".
  • Limp Bizkit started out in 1997 after they were discovered by Korn's Jonathan Davis. Limp Bizkit's debut Three Dollar Bill, Y'all$ initially went unnoticed, but they were able to get good word-of-mouth spread out through extensive touring, eventually going up to #22 on album charts. Their blend of metal and hip-hop combined with angsty lyrics and use of turntables was a winning combination for teens and young adults across the world, and brought Nu Metal to the forefront of mainstream culture. They also performed at Woodstock '99, which ended in complete disaster, and the band's performance of "Break Stuff" was highly criticized as having fanned the flames of discontent among the crowd. Whether it truly was their fault or not is still debated over to this day. Still, this did nothing to hinder the sales of their sophomore album Significant Other, which shot up to #1 and went 7x platinum in the US alone. Their fame skyrocketed even further when their following album Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water was released in 2000, which debuted at #1, going platinum in its first week, and overall sold over 20 million records worldwide. Songs like "Nookie", "Break Stuff", "Re-Arranged", "My Way", "Take a Look Around", and "Rollin'" dominated the airwaves of rock radio. They even crossed over to urban radio with the Method Man-backed "N 2 Gether Now". They were on top of the world, and while they never were critical darlings, their sales spoke differently.

    However, the band's popularity rapidly collapsed in the early-mid '00s. First was when their guitarist Wes Borland left - he was a fan-favorite and considered the most talented band member, so his departure left a huge hole in the lineup. Next, they were forced off the stage on the Chicago date of the Summer Sanitarium Tour in 2003 when audience members hurled trash at Durst and chanted "FUCK FRED DURST!" until Durst stormed offstage. Finally, their 2003 album Results May Vary was delayed multiple times, got terrible reviews when it finally came out, and barely made it past platinum. Not helping matters was an ill-received cover of "Behind Blue Eyes". This album proved to be a Genre-Killer for nu metal, which was already in decline at the time, and had come to hate Limp Bizkit as a whole; the general feeling within nu metal circles was that they had made a monster that was going to destroy the genre, and had turned it into every single thing it was not supposed to be. The album was also a Creator Killer for Limp Bizkit, as the band soon went on a hiatus. They later reunited in 2011, when their album Gold Cobra got the best reviews in their career, yet it debuted at a dismal #16 on the Billboard 200. However, "Endless Slaughter", their latest single off of the oft-delayed Stampede of the Disco Elephants, was met with near-unanimous derision and was widely decried as an incoherent, nonsensical mess.

    Once one of the turn of the Millennium's most popular rock bands, Limp Bizkit is now considered a disgrace to the genre, and even though nu metal did regain some esteem in the eyes of the music industry and the public, they're still considered a complete joke even by casual listeners. Rock radio has almost completely given up on Limp Bizkit, and most of their airplay comes from "N 2 Gether Now" on urban radio. The band is so hated in the States that most of their touring is done overseas, where they weren't hit nearly as bad as with the backlash. The last time they really made any news at all was when long-time turntablist DJ Lethal was fired due to his drug issues. While they're still relatively popular in Europe and Latin America, few bands are more hated nowadays than Limp Bizkit, and the funny thing is, Fred Durst doesn't really disagree with the criticism.
  • Not long after they were discovered by Fred Durst, Puddle of Mudd became one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Their album Come Clean, released in 2001, would become one of the biggest sleeper success stories of the year. The song "Blurry" would go on to become an enormous megahit, being played nonstop on rock and pop stations across the country. "She Hates Me" would continue the hot streak, and "Control" and "Drift & Die," although not commissioned to pop radio, would keep their popularity in the stratosphere. By the end of its run, Come Clean would have sold more than five million copies.

    Unfortunately, their follow-up, Life on Display, would prove to kill their popularity as fast as Come Clean made it. The album got trashed by critics and failed to even go platinum, and none of its singles came close to the monumental success of "Blurry" or "She Hates Me." Puddle of Mudd quickly vanished from public consciousness after that. They would have a small comeback in 2007 when the title track to their third album Famous was embraced with open arms by rock radio stations, but it was the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired "Psycho" that put them back on top, as it would go on to be their biggest hit on both the active and modern rock formats since "Blurry". It looked like Puddle of Mudd was about to reclaim their throne.

    But that's not what would happen when they released Volume 4: Songs in the Key of Love & Hate. Not only would the album tank massively and get the same tepid reviews as Life on Display, despite two #6 hits on Mainstream Rock ("Spaceship" and "Stoned"). Less than a year afterwards, all the original members of the group except Wes Scantlin were gone, and it looked like their 2011 cover album would be their last release.

    In later years, Scantlin became a raging alcoholic and even more notorious for his obnoxious behavior on and off-stage, such as accusing a fan of stealing his house and repeated arrests. The final straw was a gig in England in March 2016, when Scantlin was so drunk that his bandmates walked offstage.

    In 2017, Scantlin went to rehab, later sobered up and settled his legal problems. The band released its fifth album Welcome to Galvania in September 2019, which missed the Billboard 200. Despite very poor sales (about 1,675 copies [not including streams/tracks] on its first week), Galvania was generally seen as an improvement over Volume 4, with lead single "Uh Oh" becoming their first Top 10 Mainstream Rock hit in nearly a decade. Today, Puddle of Mudd is one of the most hated bands of the new millennium, with any reference to them today only being done to criticize Wes Scantlin's "whiny voice" (or his uncanny resemblance to professional wrestler Edge) or as another example of "X-rated post-grunge garbage." Even in the "never say never" world that is the music industry, Puddle of Mudd has fallen so hard that it would be nothing short of a miracle for them to regain any respect.


  • Drowning Pool's debut single "Bodies" was a big hit on rock radio, peaking at #6 on Active Rock and #12 on Alternative. The song proved to be hugely memetic, quickly becoming the band's Signature Song and being featured in countless TV shows, movies, video games, sporting and pro wrestling events, and commercials. However, the song very quickly came to be overused in AMVs, Notepad tutorials, and Windows Movie Maker videos, a result of it being featured as part of YouTube's AudioSwap library, which also included other singles from Wind-Up Records artists. Even worse, however, was the controversy surrounding the song, with its chorus of "let the bodies hit the floor" and its connection to a number of high-profile crimes. The song was repeatedly played to torture inmates at Guantanamo Bay, in 2003 a teenager shot and murdered his parents while listening to "Bodies", and most infamously, in 2011 Jared Loughner had uploaded a video set to "Bodies" of him burning the American flag before going on a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. The song was also included in iHeartMedia's (then Clear Channel) list of "lyrically questionable" songs that was given out to their radio stations after 9/11. Originally written as a mosh-pit anthem, "Bodies" very quickly came to be viewed as a mass murder anthem instead, and while Drowning Pool themselves condemned the Tucson shooting, their chart success slid down the drain until their 2016 album Hellelujah completely missed the Billboard 200.

Alternative Title(s): Rock Music, Hip Hop, Disco


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