Follow TV Tropes

Following

Genre Killer / Music

Go To


    open/close all folders 
    Rock/Metal 
Almost from its beginning, rock has had quite a history of moments that many fans considered to be the coup d'grace of the genre as a whole. Over the years, "poptimist" and "raptimist" critics and historians have claimed that rock's slide into irrelevance began either in the late '70s and early '80s when dance-pop and Hip-Hop jumped into the mainstream, or in the '90s when rock grew increasingly stagnant and dependent on noise, as well as the simple fact that rock eventually became old enough that younger generations developed Hype Backlash and no longer saw it as hip or youthful, between the fact that their parents liked it and its continued stature within the record industry and older publications.

In fact, the gradual decline of rock music in general from the mainstream consciousness between the mid-'90s and the early '10s can't really be attributed to a single factor or album, but rather, to a series of complex circumstances and societal changes, enough to potentially fill an entire book and far too complex in size and scope for this wiki alone to effectively cover. A good comparison might be the disappearance of jazz from the mainstream. It did not die overnight like disco, nor was it the last stand of classical music in the mainstream. Rather, its decline unfolded over several decades in the latter half of the 20th century that saw its image go from "hip dance music" to "elitist, old-fashioned museum piece". Ironically, rock played a key role in jazz's decline by seizing its mantle as the music of the young, with critics noting as early as The '60s that jazz was no longer as cool as it used to be.
  • Starting in 1958, Rock & Roll had been on the wane due to the rise of Doo Wop, Elvis Presley's stint in the Army putting his career on hold, and other musicians seeing their careers derailed by personal scandal. In 1959, however, the genre was double-tapped by two killing blows months apart.
    • The first was the Day the Music Died. The deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper in a plane crash on February 3, 1959 effectively killed rockabilly and marked a devastating blow for rock & roll. Not only did it take out three of the genre's rising stars in one blow, but as Don McLean noted in his famous song "American Pie", it served as a symbolic loss of innocence for the generation raised on it and as good an endpoint as any for The '50s as a whole.
    • The second was the payola scandals, in which it was discovered that countless radio disc jockeys were taking money from record companies to push certain songs — including, most damningly, songs that they had writing credits on. Many of the DJs caught up in the scandal were rock DJs like Dick Clark and Alan Freed, creating the perception that the popularity of rock & roll was driven by sleazy backroom deals and media hype and fueling the Moral Guardians' negative perception of it. It wouldn't be until 1963–64 when the genre became popular again with The British Invasion, whose R&B/Motown-influenced conception of rock was only loosely connected with the mixture of jazz, blues, and country that '50s-era rock was.
  • Progressive Rock has had several points regarded as genre-killers:
    • 1978's Love Beach, by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, was a Contractual Obligation Project that largely abandoned prog in favor of disco and dance music right when the public had decided Disco Sucks!. The album became one of the most despised in music history, and the band didn't get back together until 1991.
    • Alpha, by the supergroup Asia, was regarded as a failure that severely damaged prog's reputation — which was already in sustained freefall, as Robert Fripp intimated in 1975. Most (surviving) prog bands from The '70s had already simplified their sound by 1980 in response to punk rock and new wave, and Asia's utter failure to craft anything worthy of prog's '70s heyday merely lowered the genre's coffin...
    • ...and Yes's 1991 album Union might've been the nail. It had a massively Troubled Production, had the biggest lineup of any Yes album, and was literally scrambled together from two failed projects.note  While the lineup ensured a successful tour, everyone involved despised the album, which reviewed and sold so badly it wiped classic prog from the map. By this point, Emerson, Lake & Palmer's brief '90s stint was solely as a pop band and largely ignored and Rush had moved away from prog; while Progressive Metal was rising with bands like tool, Queensrÿche and Dream Theater, those were mostly of a cult appeal.
    • And if that somehow still wasn't enough to kill prog off, the 2011 releases of Queensrÿche's Dedicated to Chaos and Opeth's release Heritage finally tossed the dirt into the grave and patted it down with a shovel. With the former, it was the final, killing blow to a long period of Genre Adultery caused by increasingly tyrannical band leader Geoff Tate (who would be fired following a series of 2012 disasters); with the latter, the album already generated controversy when its lead single "The Devil's Orchard" showed the album's new direction. While many were fine with Opeth not making Death Metal (2002's Damnation was noticeably absent of any metal elements in general, and is nigh-considered one of their very best albums), both the single and the album itself were criticized for blatantly ripping off 1970s prog rock rather than paying a respectful homage to it. Its extremely divisive reception was enough to be a definite blow to the genre- Dream Theater's 2011 release A Dramatic Turn of Events didn't have any of the momentum or hype that the band's previous two releases did thanks to the Colbert Bump they were given by their song "Panic Attack" being featured in Rock Band 2, Steven Wilson would spend the rest of the decade adapting a more Progressive Pop style, and a number of up-and-comers such as Periphery, Haken, Leprous, Caligula's Horse and such would appeal to niche followings at best. The genre wouldn't see any real success until tool released their long-awaited 2019 effort Fear Inoculum, which was more successful due to brand recognition than anything else.
  • In that vein, Styx's 1983 album Kilroy Was Here seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for the Rock Opera and Concept Album (no successful examples of which had come out since Pink Floyd's The Wall four years earlier, anyway). It took twenty years for another rock opera concept album, Green Day's American Idiot in 2004, to enjoy massive success. Though concept albums remained popular in Progressive Metal for a while longer, such as Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime. Rock Operas also still exist within Heavy Metal, running the gamut in terms of quality.
  • The controversy surrounding Paul Simon recording Graceland in South Africa during a UN-instituted boycott in protest of apartheid is generally credited with killing off the worldbeat boom of the early 80s. Issues of Pretty Fly for a White Guy had been raised repeatedly by critics throughout that period, but the bad PR surrounding Graceland in 1986 brought them to a tipping point, leading the genre's biggest artists to move away from it by The '90s or fade out from the limelight.
  • Shoegazing is a rare example — an album so good it killed its own genre for quite some time. My Bloody Valentine's 1991 Loveless is widely believed to have turned shoegazing into a Dead Horse Genre nonetheless, with almost every other band in the scene receiving a hostile critical reaction for trying to sound like My Bloody Valentine. The fact that My Bloody Valentine's third album, MBV, was 21 years in the making didn't help at all; the scene was soon supplanted by Britpop. This ended up derailing more than a few careers (Slowdive was notably plagued by this; Souvlaki is now often mentioned in the same breath as Loveless and sometimes even considered to be better). Fortunately, it wasn't permanent — interest in shoegazing came back in the 2000s and 2010s.
  • One of the most famous stories in rock music is that the rise of grunge, particularly the sudden success of Nirvana's album Nevermind in 1991, destroyed hair metal in the early '90s. In truth, hair metal had been on life support for a couple of years by that point, and grunge was only the last of three connected moments that could be called genre-killers:

    The backlash started with the 1988 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years, which showed the hedonistic excesses of many hair metal bands and musicians uncensored. It's been joked that Warrant and WASP did more to kill hair metal than Nirvana and Pearl Jam ever did—and that has a lot of basis in truth. In the subsequent years, all sorts of Darker and Edgier bands like The Black Crowes, Guns N' Roses and Queensrÿche pushed hair metal off the rock charts. Some of them, like Alice in Chains and Pantera, started as hair bands but abandoned the genre before they got big.

    To add insult to injury, as soon as hair metal began losing its commercial power, many big bands of the genre (like Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard) tried to chase the alternative or heavy rock bandwagons. Nobody was pleased: existing fans were turned off by their chasing the new trends, and any potential new fans didn't care for old guys trying to imitate their favorites. FireHouse lead singer C.J. Snare summed it all up in a 2005 interview: while everyone else failed trying to "get with the times", his band scored a Top 20 power ballad without changing their style in 1995, at the peak of the grunge years.

    What few will argue is that grunge gave a single unified image to the growing backlash, and while it didn't kill hair metal, it wrote its obituary. As a result, since hair metal was the dominant genre of metal music in the mainstream rock scene, metal as a whole faded from the limelight for much of The '90s. While some genres avoided this, the general rule was that as long as you paid due reverence to '80s Alternative Rock (The Smiths, R.E.M.) and Hardcore Punk (Minor Threat, Black Flag) or played something abrasive and unquestionably anti-mainstream, it was okay to play metal in The '90s.
    • Classic heavy metal (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, et cetera) and its spiritual successors, doom metal and sludge metal, survived mainly because of the heavy influence those genres had on the development of grunge. Black Sabbath, for example, are cited as influences by Soundgarden, Green River, Mudhoney, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tad, and many others, while the sludge metal band the Melvins also had a major influence on grunge, taking influence from '80s hardcore punk bands (particularly Black Flag's My War).
    • Thrash metal didn't even skip a beat, with three of the "big four" bands (Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax) enjoying their best album sales shortly after the death of hair metal. Members of Metallica have even mentioned that they saw the rise of grunge as a good thing, meaning that radio stations and MTV were willing to take a chance on heavier music and darker themes. Bands like Van Halen and Guns N' Roses stayed popular during grunge's early phase, and fell off more due to interpersonal conflict rather than chart failure.
    • Alternative metal and groove metal, like grunge, emerged as a backlash against hair metal, becoming the defining metal sounds of the '90s for many American listeners. Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Faith No More were among the defining alt-metal bands of the era and were often associated with the grunge aesthetic by mainstream listeners. Meanwhile, Pantera, the biggest groove metal band of the '90s, consistently managed to fill large arenas, and their album Far Beyond Driven even managed to debut at #1 on the Billboard 100 (making it probably the heaviest and least-mainstream album to ever accomplish that feat). Billy Corgan even praised Dimebag as his favorite contemporary guitarist. By the late '90s, the two genres, along with other, smaller sub-genres (particularly rap metal), fused together in the mainstream consciousness and morphed into Nu Metal, which has its own section below.
    • Death Metal and Black Metal both took off and hit their peaks in The '90s. While they rarely, if ever, received radio airplay, they made for a particularly popular target for the era's Moral Guardians in both the US and Europe due to the brutality of the music itself, the lyrical subject matter, and (in the case of black metal) the musicians' militant anti-Christian messages that often went well beyond the music.
    • MTV also played a part in killing hair metal around 1990. Many of the executives had gotten tired of people accosting them at parties and asking them why they played some of those videos, which they regarded as juvenile and sexist. So, late that year, a lot of bands that had been gearing up for another successful album and tour suddenly had those plans trashed when MTV told them not to bother sending in their next video.note 
  • Grunge itself had two moments in 1994 that can be pointed to as Genre-Killers, the trend in both of them being the genre's anti-commercial attitude running head-first into its sudden mainstream popularity. First, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was Driven to Suicide over his heroin addiction and inability to reconcile his values with his success, which not only took out the biggest band in the scene but made many rock fans leery of the Darker and Edgier attitudes that were synonymous with grungenote . It's probably not a coincidence that Hootie & the Blowfish, a band whose twangy, wholesome, down-home folk rock was the Spiritual Antithesis of everything that grunge stood for, took off just a few months later, as did Blues Traveler, a jam band whose hit single "Hook" was a Take That! at the "hip three-minute ditties" that dominated pop and rock radio (the "jangly folk-pop-rock" craze soon became overshadowed by Britpop). Second, Pearl Jam got into a nasty fight with Ticketmaster over their anti-consumer business practices, resulting in them canceling their tour that summer and finding it nearly impossible to tour nationally afterwards, which dealt a crippling blow to the fortunes of the second-biggest band in the scene. The drug-related deaths of Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon in 1995 and Brad Nowell of Sublime in 1996 also dealt a blow to the alt-rock boom of the '90s. Grunge continued to limp along in the absence of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but as a whole, it faded from the limelight over the next few years. Sean O'Neal of the AV Club points to 1996 as the year when grunge and Alternative Rock in general "died a messy, forgettable death", as it was the year the remaining "Big Four" Seattle grunge bands (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains) reached their nadirs of popularity and, in the case of the latter two, ultimately saw the seeds planted for their breakups, while the assorted copycats started falling away. Of those four bands, only Pearl Jam would survive the decade, but they had mostly turned away from the grunge sound by their third album. Most importantly, however, by that point what had started out as a backlash against corporate hair metal had essentially been taken over by the record industry, turning into Post-Grunge. A more polished, radio-friendly version of grunge that sanded off many of its more abrasive edges, post-grunge dominated mainstream American rock music for the rest of the decade, eventually converging with hard rock and the remnants of nu metal and dominating the next decade as well. Many years later, post-grunge would follow a similar fate, as detailed below.
    • In the UK, meanwhile, grunge only lasted for a couple of years before getting hit with backlash. Britpop emerged in the early-mid '90s as a Lighter and Softer reaction to the dourness of grunge (Noel Gallagher famously claimed that he wrote "Live Forever" out of disgust over the Nirvana song "I Hate Myself and Want to Die"), and quickly supplanted it in mainstream popularity there. By 1994, Bush was the only grunge or post-grunge band seeing any success in the UK, and even then, they were far more popular in the US than they were in their native Britain.
  • Be Here Now, the notorious 1997 flop by Oasis, is generally regarded as having killed Britpop. It was actually a major success initially, earning gushing praise from criticsnote  and selling eight million copies. However, once people had the chance to actually listen to it, they found that it was nowhere near as good as their first two albums, let alone the masterpiece that had been hyped up for months and which critics had been gushing about. The result took the shine off of the biggest band in Britpop. Only a handful of bands survived the collapse of Britpop for more than a few years.
    • A major factor in Britpop's demise? Probably. However, on top of the above, Blur — the other band most associated with the scene (and Oasis' arch-rivals in 1995's "Battle of Britpop") — had already broken away from it a few months prior with their eponymous album (primarily lo-fi and US alt-rock-influenced). Another arguable factor may be that by 1997, "Cool Britannia" had jumped on Britpop's bandwagon, with (e.g.) Geri Halliwell in a Union Jack dress and honeymoon-era Tony Blair schmoozing Britpop stars. This got old fast, and probably helped kill off the remainder of Britpop when it derailed.
    • Blur's "Song 2" is often considered to be the last real "Britpop" hit, and even then, it sounds nothing like anything else in the genre, having specifically been written to parody Nirvana-style grunge.
    • The other major factor in Britpop's death was the release of OK Computer by Radiohead, whose huge critical and commercial success made the whole scene yesterday's news. OK Computer was not a Britpop album, instead popularizing a gloomier, more atmospheric style of rock music that would later become more common in rock in place of Britpop. The bands that survived Britpop's fall and Radiohead's rise were the ones that either moved away from the genre (such as Blur and Manic Street Preachers), were too big to fail (Oasis kept having hits afterward, but were never as earth-conqueringly huge again) or were unique enough that they were barely Britpop to begin with and could simply detach themselves from whatever Britpop trappings they had picked up (namely Stereolab and The Divine Comedy).
  • The 2003 albums Results May Vary by Limp Bizkit and Take a Look in the Mirror by Korn played a huge role in killing Nu Metal. A fusion of Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal, and Rap Metal influences, nu metal emerged in the mid-1990s and was seen as an antidote to the bubblegum boy bands, girl groups, "rap rock" acts, and easy listening idol singers that ruled the world of pop music after the fall of grunge, bringing metal back to the forefront of youth culture for the first time since the '80s. Nu metal reached the peak of its popularity from 1998–2001, but before long, came to be stereotyped as a genre of wangsty lyrics, phony machismo, and grating instrumentation that substituted technical skill with sheer noise. Meanwhile, Columbine and the violence at Woodstock '99 during Limp Bizkit's set made people wary of the anger and macho attitudes in nu metal pretty much the same way Kurt Cobain's suicide made people wary of the depressive attitudes in Grunge. By 2002, nu metal was earning the mockery of metalheads as a pale shadow of "real" metal, and albums by major bands like Korn and Papa Roach were producing diminishing returns on the charts. The tipping point came in 2003 when Limp Bizkit and Korn released the aforementioned albums to a reception that ranged from mixed to scathing, with Bizkit's cover of The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes" coming in for especially heated criticism as borderline rock sacrilege. By 2004, nu metal's reign on the rock charts was over, with emo and metalcore emerging in its place, and most of the bands involved with the genre quickly changing their sound to get away from it (a notable example being Linkin Park). Papa Roach quickly recovered with their sole Top 40 hit "Scars", and they remain popular on mainstream rock radio to this day. Deftones and Incubus, the two most critically acclaimed bands associated with the genre, both changed their sound to remove any remaining nu metal elements. Korn took a beating, only to recover in the 2010s, by adapting dubstep into their style and scoring their first-ever #1 rock hit in 2013. But Limp Bizkit fared the worst of all; they became so hated in America that they were forced to tour overseas for the rest of their days. Nearly a decade passed before nu metal regained some cultural acceptance, and even then it's not even half as popular as it used to be.
  • Post-Grunge, a more polished, radio-friendly version of grunge that sanded off many of its more abrasive edges, dominated the radio waves during the late 1990s and the early-mid 2000s. Forerunners of the genre such as Foo Fighters, Creed, and Nickelback became some of the biggest bands in the world, while groups such as Hinder, Buckcherry, and Saving Abel had a harder-edged sound that became popular among those who wrote the original acts off as too light, but were still mainstream-friendly. Starting in 2006, however, post-grunge was perceived as becoming not only increasingly formulaic as some had already complained for a few years beforehand (the use of the term "butt rock" in a derisive fashion is mostly associated with the post-grunge sub-genre), but it also was perceived to be painfully out-of-touch amid a landscape of economic meltdown and political tension allegedly better reflected by the Darker and Edgier Pop Punk and Emo genres which rose to the forefront of rock music. The harder-tinged acts held on until the early 2010s, but they eventually faced an even bigger backlash for the childishly hedonistic and misogynistic themes of their own material. The back-to-back failures of Hinder's All-American Nightmare and Nickelback's Here and Now pretty much sealed post-grunge's fate.
  • The Strokes' First Impressions of Earth can be viewed as the breaking point of the post-punk/garage rock revival in the early-mid '00s. This movement had been characterized by elements of punk rock, indie rock, '60s garage rock, and New Wave, combined into a stripped-down, back-to-basics guitar rock that many people at the time felt would be a revolution in rock music comparable to grunge ten years earlier, wiping away the morass of Post-Grunge and Nu Metal just as grunge had wiped away Hair Metal. For a time, it was. Along with The Strokes, bands like The White Stripes, Interpol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Vines, and The Hives led the movement in both the US and the UK, and from roughly 2002-05 they won widespread critical and commercial success. By 2006-07 however, the genre became affected by the public's growing discontent with "lighter" rock acts, and by the end of the decade many bands were either gone, had collapsed, or had become more experimental. Meanwhile, in Britain and Canada, bands like the Arctic Monkeys, The Fratellis, Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, and the recently-established Coldplay and Muse were leading the way in forming the Pop Revival genre that would define 2010s-era rock. By the time the White Stripes went their separate ways in 2011, The Strokes, The Hives, and The Vines were still active, but by this point these had become targets of mockery, largely being seen as little more than glorified '70s-era tribute bands (if not downright plagiarists). The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were the only band who maintained their respect and popularity, due in part to having the strongest associations with the rising indie rock scene. As for the album itself, the release of First Impressions of Earth was repeatedly delayed, and upon its final release was a critical and commercial failure, acting as the final nail in the coffin. Generally, the album is considered to have three good songs - the first three, all of which were singles - and it falls off a cliff soon after. The Strokes took several years off after the release of Impressions before they returned with their comeback albums Angles and Comedown Machine, both of which were sales and critical disappointments.
  • The rise in pop-punk and Emo music on the rock scene and the critical backlash against Nickelback's extraordinarily-successful All the Right Reasons in the late 2000s soon led to a chasm between critics with a rather exaggerated True Art Is Angsty stance which drove audiences away rather quickly, but more importantly, flared long-standing tensions between rock fans themselves regarding the strict three-chord structure that dominated the genre since grunge's heyday, severely dividing an already fractious bunch. This eventually led to the discrediting of "rockist" critics, who had played a large part in establishing rock's long-standing reputation as the zenith of music. While the top acts of these genres didn't meet the same fate as their post-grunge and garage rock counterparts (remaining reasonably popular), their demise (mostly because of the end of the Bush era and the decline of the Iraq War in the news cycle) as well of that of "rockist" critics coincided with the ascent of Electronic Music and Hip-Hop (along with "poptimist" and "raptimist" critics) at the forefront of the music industry, leading to a widely-held assumption that pop-punk put the last nail in the coffin of rock music in the mainstream (or left it stagnant at least) by killing off the radio-friendly North American hard-rock/pop act.
  • brokeNCYDE simultaneously codified and killed crunkcore. Their music is just competent enough to have spawned fans and imitators seeing some good in the genre, but hilariously bad enough to make literally everyone else hate the genre on principle.
  • Coheed and Cambria's fifth album, 2010's Year of the Black Rainbow, is largely considered to be the final nail in the coffin for the New Prog sub-genre of progressive rock, which already seemed to be dwindling as far back as 2005. After a reasonable amount of commercial success from the two Good Apollo albums, the latter of which brought a stadium rock edge to their sound, there was much hype surrounding it (including a reasonable amount of good reviews from people on the Cobalt & Calcium forums who had supposedly already heard the album), with an anticipation level through the roof, leading many to think it could be as heavy and rocking as No World for Tomorrow. Instead, they got the musical equivalent of a Bizarro Episode which largely dabbled in electronic rock, which lead to a very mixed reception and people questioning if they made the album that style just so they could escape the success "Welcome Home" brought them. Their reputation was ruined, and not much had been heard from New Prog bands save for Muse and 30 Seconds to Mars, both of whom had phased out New Prog in favor of Alternative Rock and soon after transitioned to Indie Rock. Fortunately, Coheed survived, but as a result, their following two albums had to be recorded on indie labels.
  • While melodic metalcore was one of the bigger factors in the death of nu metal, its reign was largely over by the late 2000s. It was due to quite a few factors; deathcore was increasingly drawing away the fans of the heavier bands, while a lighter, poppier brand (largely created by The Devil Wears Prada and additionally popularized by A Day to Remember, Asking Alexandria, Bullet for My Valentine, and Escape the Fate) drew away the fans of the catchy choruses, but as far as individual albums go, several were responsible. Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, and Atreyu all foreshadowed the fall of the genre with their respective new sound albums City of Evil, The Crusade, and Lead Sails Paper Anchor, but it was the high-profile failure of Shadows Fall's Threads of Life that really did the genre in. They were the second act in the genre to jump ship to a major label, and WMG, probably hoping for another success in the vein of Avenged Sevenfold and Mastodon, spent a great deal of money attempting to make them the next big heavy crossover sensation, only to get an extremely disappointing debut and an album that heavily polarized the fanbase and failed to attract a sufficient amount of new fans. The album eventually proved to be the band's Creator Killer after it kicked off a slide into irrelevance, while the genre as a whole just fell further and further over the next few years; bands broke up or went on indefinite hiatus left and right, and the ones that survived either went in a heavier or lighter direction, while a few others (namely Between the Buried and Me and Unearth) held on to niche audiences who were less fickle and of the ones who did survive the initial cull, many of them still wound up calling it quits within the first few years of the 2010s.
  • Retro thrash gained traction on MySpace in the mid-2000s after Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust started to pick up steam, and by late 2006, bands like Evile, Fueled by Fire, Bonded by Blood, Warbringer, and Gama Bomb were viewed as the next big thing in heavy music, and melodic metalcore acts like Machine Head, Shadows Fall, and Trivium further lent legitimacy to the movement by mixing in overt thrash elements. Earache Records led the charge by signing as many of these acts as they could, with Metal Blade Records picking up whatever they didn't and the boutique label Heavy Artillery gaining traction of its own with multiple critically lauded releases on its roster. While its demise in the early 2010s was most certainly not helped by increasing mainstream apathy caused by a glut of uninspired third-tier acts, multiple direct factors ensured its demise. The biggest one was Earache Records itself, as they were notorious for their horrible contracts that bled bands dry and left them unable to afford to function, while the collapse of Heavy Artillery in 2012 dealt another mortal blow to the movement. The lukewarm reception to Diamond Plate's 2011 full-length debut Generation Why? was the closest it came to having an individual release that sank it; they had been heavily hyped in the underground and had a lot of respect courtesy of their Relativity EP, but what people got was a generally disappointing and sterile debut with new tracks that were much worse than the rerecorded demo and EP tracks, and the even worse reception of 2013's Pulse destroyed whatever life was left in retro thrash. After 2013, most of the original retro thrash acts either broke up or substantially reduced their activity levels, and the few acts that saw any success after that point generally did so with hardcore or death metal audiences. Of the original acts who stuck around, only Havok and Lich King saw rising success after 2013, while the others who survived became, at best, part-time legacy acts, and at worst reverted back to local status. Nowadays, "retro thrash" (or, more likely "pizza thrash", a derisive label for the movement) is associated with boring, sterile Exodus and Anthrax clones, and anyone who plays a straight example of it is unlikely to ever leave their home region; if a new band playing thrash in this era is going to have any success, they will likely play blackened or death-thrash or crossover.
  • The style of Emo commonly called "Midwestern Emo" or "real emo" by its fans had a relatively small but very dedicated underground fanbase in The '90s. Some of the bigger bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and The Get Up Kids achieved some semblance of mainstream success and more obscure ones like Cap'n Jazz picked up after file swapping introduced them to a new generation and a very dedicated underground cult following grew more dedicated. However it didn't last long, after the breakup for the second time of Sunny Day Real Estate (after they had largely changed their sound anyway), left most of the iconic bands broken up and the scene didn't have much room to grow and one album can now be identified of signalling the decline, Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American. While the album was well-received even amongst their underground fanbase, it had a more commercial sound and the commercial success of "The Middle" resulted in a much more polished sound that wouldn't fly in the underground. The other punch was the redefinition of the word to apply to the new "Emo look" and bands like My Chemical Romance instead, thus rendering it a dirty word to the more indie crowd. The style went dormant for around a decade until the unexpected "emo revival" of the late 2010s.
  • Also happened around the same time period for Emo's Darker and Edgier cousin, Screamo, and the subsubgenre commonly referred to as "emoviolence" (later jokingly referred to as "skramz".) For a while, it had an arguably even more dedicated fanbase and one of the most of any subgenre within Hardcore Punk, despite the worldwide population who even knew what it was being at most in the low five digits its most popular and sought after records would go for insane prices on internet auction sites, people would travel multiple hours to see bands play in basements or rented VFW halls to shows that only a couple dozen people would go to. The decline became around the Turn of the Millennium once some of the bigger bands of the style broke up, the breakup of Orchid in 2003 was the demise of the biggest band of the style, (although some members played in their Spiritual Successor Ampere they didn't achieve the same level of universal acclaim), and the style was actually bogged down by a bizarre rare musical example of Continuity Lockout: it was so based around various tropes and aesthetics that it was pretty inaccessible to anyone not already very familiar with it, making it difficult for the scene to recruit fresh blood. The rise of digital distribution of music also gave a blow, as its music being released mostly or even exclusively on vinyl was a big part of the culture and aesthetic that gave it its unique appeal. However, perhaps the ultimate blow was when bands like The Used and Thursdaynote  blowing up and giving a completely different perception in the mainstream of what "screamo" was, as well as Metalcore going mainstream as well and making it so that most new bands were imitative of those styles instead. The scene was a shell of its former self in the US by around 2005, and although it managed to survive pretty well in Europe for several years after that, that too eventually declined, (another big blow that came later was the Great Recession, a time of economic uncertainty and stress isn't the best time for a Crack Is Cheaper hobby to proliferate, which was arguably the case with the style's vinyl collecting.) Outside of a few legacy bands like the aforementioned Ampere the style was mostly seen as a relic until it too had its own revival around the mid The New '10s. While it's a fairly healthy style of underground music today, it doesn't have anywhere near the dedication or cult following it had around 20 years ago.

    Other Genres 
  • Live Earth, a massive benefit concert co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore, was a dismal flop, garnering low ratings (especially for the UK and US) and created a massive "carbon footprint", precisely the type of thing the organizers wanted to prevent. The failure of Live Earth is widely believed to have killed off the concept of the benefit super-concert (in the same vein as Farm Aid and Live 8, though the former is still held annually and the latter had enough of its own issues for it and Live Earth to be considered kind of a one-two punch).
  • Depending on where you sit regarding Drum and Bass, Pendulum came close to this, by way of becoming the public face of the genre despite never intending to be in it. Rob Swire himself isn't sure if this has happened, but appears to revel in it, as can be discerned from this extract from his rant on the Dogsonacid forums:
    "Oh, and by the way — I'm not sure if drum and bass is dead or dying (I've been in the studio/on tour too long to tell). However, if your genre was flimsy enough to be knocked over by ONE SINGLE RECORDING ARTIST who happened to — god forbid — sell some fucking records for the first time in about 5/6 years, then I'm glad it was us that got to drive the final stake through its stale pig shit heart — and good riddance. Wake me up when your genre is making something that people outside the scene think is worth listening to again."
  • The murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. in 1996 and 1997 respectively, within six months of one another, put an end to the Golden Age of Gangsta Rap. The Lighter and Softer genre of Glam Rap replaced it in the mainstream for much the same reason why post-grunge replaced grunge after Kurt Cobain's suicide. As The Rap Critic and The Nostalgia Chick put it:
    Rap Critic: "[The murder of Biggie and Tupac] was a big wake-up call for hip-hop fans, because two artists that everyone knew were dead, victims of the lifestyle that was promoted in their music. Hip-hop had gone as dark as people wanted it to go, and they wanted something else.
    Nostalgia Chick: Suddenly, the dangerous lives and poverty that some of these guys grew up in and rapped about... it was just a little too real. Joe Public wanted something a little nicer, cleaner, you know, still culturally relevant but reminded us of the good old days when rap was fun, and- oh, hey, Will Smith, what's going on? Heard your movie career's doing pretty good! Oh, and what's that you've got there? A new rap song? And it goes with that new summer movie you're in? Oh, and you have a whole album without curse words or references to hard living? Come right on back, Will! We missed you!
    • Tupac's death also crippled the West Coast hip-hop scene, which took over a decade to recover. While the New York-based Bad Boy Records was able to survive Biggie's death (though not without difficulty), the same could not be said of Death Row Records, then the most powerful rap label on the West Coast and running a heated rivalry with Bad Boy. Tupac's death, combined with the myriad legal problems of the label's owner Suge Knight, did irreparable damage to Death Row, causing an exodus of talent in the '00s that culminated in the label going bankrupt in 2006, leaving little more than a shell that survives mainly through Greatest Hits albums and re-releases of its catalog. West Coast hip-hop spent the years from 1998 to 2011 in underground purgatory, with rappers from the East Coast (50 Cent, DMX, Jay-Z, Nas, P. Diddy), the South (Lil Jon, Master P, Lil Wayne, OutKast, Pitbull), and the Midwest (Kanye West, Eminem, Nelly) dominating the rap game from the late '90s onward. Only a few isolated artists, such as The Game and E-40, managed to break through, and beyond that, the only West Coast rappers who were still successful were stars from the '90s. It was only in the '10s when West Coast hip-hop managed to make its presence felt in the mainstream and with critics again, thanks to the likes of OFWGKTA, Hopsin, DJ Mustard, ScHoolboy Q, Kid Ink, Sage the Gemini, YG, Tyga, G-Eazy, and most notably Kendrick Lamar.
  • The death of Glam Rap, meanwhile, came with 50 Cent's album Curtis in 2007. It was actually a sales success, moving 691,000 copies in its first week and debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. The problem was with the #1 album that week, Kanye West's Graduation. Debuting on the same day, Curtis and Graduation were hyped up as dueling albums, especially given their radically different styles, with both 50 Cent and Kanye getting in on it with various public statements. Moreover, while Graduation won critical acclaim, Curtis was met with a mixed reception. Not only did 50 Cent's career go on the skids after this, but it took glam rap with it, the genre having already been on the decline for over a year as the looming economic problems made the genre incredibly out-of-touch and "urban pop" gained a wider appeal.
  • The death of crunk came with the backlash towards Soulja Boy, whose music was widely considered annoying and a disgrace to hip-hop. However, many of its elements made its way into Trap Music, which came into prominence in the 2010s, and is itself controversial for much of the same reasons as crunk.
  • A notorious case in Canada was Matt Dusk's epic 2006 flop Back in Town, which ended up killing the Canadian jazz-pop scene, Diana Krall being often credited as the one who started it, with Michael Bublé having furthered it with his international success, while a handful of successful artists in the US and Britain took their cues from the genre. Perhaps one of the more unexpected hits was Matt Dusk's debut album Two Shots, released in 2004, which boasted a lead single written by Bono and The Edge. The album was a smash success and one of the top-selling records of its year. Ironically enough, Dusk ended up killing the craze with Back in Town, commonly regarded among Canadian music fans as the textbook definition of a Sophomore Slump. It was much anticipated and hyped, and in fact actually didn't do too bad in its first week of release, debuting at #17 on the Canadian music chart. However, once people actually took the time to listen to it, they got a bizarre, more funk-influenced album that didn't fly well with the public and killed any interest in him, with his sales taking a spectacular nosedive in the weeks that followed. Dusk ended up recording two virtually unheard-of albums (try naming either without looking them up. Exactly.). Needless to say, Canadian jazz-pop acts except for Krall and Buble took the same path.
    • Jazz-pop as a whole (and "lite pop" in general) bowed out in 2011 with the death of Amy Winehouse, which had become a Tough Act to Follow. At the same time, singers like Adele began to embrace pop, radically changing the sound of adult contemporary music.
  • Another Canadian case, which this time seems to have caused the whole world to have taken the hint: Ryan Malcolm, the winner of the first season of Canadian Idol. There was massive hype surrounding him as he has quite the voice, and many voted for him to win. What was the result? "Something More", which, despite being successful, was massively hated and even ended up being voted by critics as one of the worst songs of 2003, mainly because of how supremely boring the music was and how cheesy and cliché the lyrics were. The album, despite selling 170,000 copies, ended up being his last and is often seen as a joke among Canadians. The following year, Kalan Porter suffered the same fate, effectively burying Canadian Idol as a way for future pop stars to be discovered (yes, Carly Rae Jepsen won third on season 5 of Canadian Idol, but her big break came over four years after that show). Since then, very few winners or contestants on any Idol show outside the American version have seen much success — and even then, the last breakout stars from American Idol were season 6 winner Jordin Sparks and season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert. And speaking of him...
    • In an example that crosses over with Live-Action TV, Lambert's shocking loss to Kris Allen in season 8 of American Idol, combined with the suspicious circumstances under which Allen's victory took placenote , did lasting damage to the show's credibility and firmly discredited TV talent shows as a source of future pop music hitmakers. Future seasons of Idol plummeted in the ratings (with season 11 winner Phillip Phillips being a one-off success), the American version of The X Factor was a dud (with Fifth Harmony being the only successful act from said show), and while The Voice has been a ratings hit for NBC, the only real successes from that show have been limited to the Country Music genre, and it's arguably the celebrity judges who get a greater boost from that show. The British version of The X Factor has fared better with its alumni, although even it started to slide from its peak before it's last season ended in 2018.
  • Solo teen idols were huge in the '50s and '60s, with artists like Ricky Nelson, Bobby Rydell, Paul Anka, and Fabian Forte dominating the charts through the period. That phenomenon died a quick death in the mid-'60s as teenage girls found a universal idol in The Beatles. A brief revival happened in the '70s with the likes of Bobby Sherman, David and Shaun Cassidy, Donny Osmond, and Leif Garrett, but even then they were stuck in the shadows of groups like The Monkees, The Jackson 5, and the Bay City Rollers, and the second wave died out much faster than the first. For the next three decades, Boy Bands and rock groups would reign supreme whereas hardly any solo teen idols made an impact. A third wave would begin at the turn of the 2010s when Justin Bieber fever swept the globe. However, the wave would barely last three years, with Bieber ultimately ending up the only major success story in this new generation of teen idols. When a massive backlash against him hit and his public image was destroyed overnight (only to recover in 2015-16), control of the teenage girl demographic immediately shifted back to boy bands via One Direction, and later, 5 Seconds of Summer or Shawn Mendes.
  • In classical music, the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven almost killed the genre simply because they were considered so amazing that no composer ever dreamt of surpassing them. Gladly subverted during the 19th century by composers such as Bruckner, Brahms, and importantly Berlioz, who continued the idea of symphonies with programmatic content (which is where Franz Liszt started).
  • The Football Association used to release an official anthem for the England team ahead of major international tournaments, to build up hype. That was until David Baddiel and Frank Skinner wrote "Three Lions", performed by the Lightning Seeds for Euro 96. By Baddiel's own admission, it killed off the "football anthem" by virtue of being so good, and becoming so iconic, that no such anthem has been able to surpass it since. The FA stopped commissioning official songs after 2006note , but while unofficial anthems continue to be released, with Dizzee Rascal and James Corden reaching No.1 with "Shout", none of them have achieved anywhere near the lasting popularity of "Three Lions".
  • The Milli Vanilli scandal in 1991 effectively killed "traditional" pop music in the United States for nearly a decade. For much of the early-to-mid '90s, the overnight downfall of one of the biggest pop acts in the nation colored mainstream perceptions of the entire genre, relegating it to dance clubs and fueling the rise of adult alternative singer-songwriters who were seen as more authentic than the manufactured pop acts of the '80s. The scandal also played a major role in bringing alternative rock to the forefront, as their music capitalized on the growing backlash against the kind of music that dominated the airwaves, similar to Milli Vanilli. Only in the very late '90s (when alt rock started to also fall out of favor) did bubblegum pop come back into vogue by drawing inspiration from the "Cool Britannia" craze, and only in the late 2000s/early 2010s did it fully return to the forefront of mainstream success.
  • The most commonly-cited turning point in disco becoming a pop culture punchline was the notorious Disco Demolition Night, a promotion held on July 12, 1979, in which thousands of people brought disco records to a Chicago White Sox double-header in exchange for heavily discounted tickets; the records would be put into a crate and blown up in the middle of the field between games. Most of the people there hadn't come for baseball so much as to watch disco records getting destroyed,note  and the ensuing riot forced the White Sox to cancel the second game of the night. The affair played a major role in fueling an anti-disco sentiment that had been building for several months by that point (especially among rock fans and people who hated the seemingly effeminate and/or the over-sexualized aspects that the disco lifestyle represented), and disco was virtually gone from the airwaves by the end of 1980. Steve Dahl, the Chicago rock DJ who helped organize the event, has said, that while Disco Demolition Night didn't destroy disco by itself, it did play a large role in hastening its demise.note 
    • In the UK, disco music began to lose popularity as soon as Margaret Thatcher came into 10 Downing that same year, as her squad of Moral Guardians, which included Ian Paisley and Mary Whitehouse, saw the genre as a symbol of debauchery. Disco instead went underground and split into several different genres (Italo Disco, post-disco (like Madonna), freestyle, and dance-punk being the most obvious, but House Music, Post-Punk, New Wave Music, early Hip-Hop, Alternative Dance, and Synth-Pop are all also strongly influenced by it).
    • The record industry also was sort of working to reconfine disco to "the dance market" (i.e. blacks and gays) by 1979.
    • But there wasn't much room for the genre to evolve, either. Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", largely regarded as the best disco song ever, came out in 1979, and fittingly won the only Best Disco Grammy ever given. It didn't really look like someone could write and perform a better disco song than that. And then that autumn M's "Pop Muzik", became a worldwide hit, ushering in the age of electropop and showing where what disco started could go.
  • The rise of the "British Invasion" and the market's shift towards teenagers during the mid-60s did away with many genres, but novelty songs became the hardest hit, not helped by the fact JFK's assassination also affected the genre's popularity (for some reason, a lot of novelty music of the early 60s became inspired by the slain President). Very few novelty songs have been successful since then, although "The Streak" became a #1 hit in 1974. Although this is not the case in Europe: Novelty songs often crowded the charts around Christmas until the early 1990s and remain relatively common.
  • Vanilla Ice's downfall killed any chance of white rappers being taken seriously until Eminem burst onto the scene. The only exceptions were the Beastie Boys, who began their move away from mainstream hip-hop and towards genre-hopping alternative music shortly after Ice's peak, and (briefly) House Of Pain, whose thuggish, tough-guy approach fit in well with gangsta rap.
  • The legal decision in Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. in 1991, brought on by a disputed Gilbert O'Sullivan sample in Biz Markie's "Alone Again", killed sampling as a hip-hop production technique for the rest of The '90s, as it became prohibitively expensive for hip-hop producers to afford the clearance fees for more than one or two samples. Records such as Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by Public Enemy, and 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul, which relied on dozens of samples, were no longer possible. Only in the 2000s, when rap music had gotten big enough that producers had that sort of money to drop, did sampling make a comeback. note 
Advertisement:

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report