“Semi-Human Robot Trapped In The Machine” Music

Some time back, Six talked about his love for a little known genre of music he called “shred” metal. I’ve been thinking of one of my own beloved sub-genres, although I don’t even know if it has a name. Concentrated around the years 1979-1981, this music’s hallmarks are robotic (though not electronic) drumming, and cold vocals. My best description would be “semi-human robot trapped in the machine” music. Representative of this made-up genre would be The Cure‘s “Seventeen Seconds” (1980) and “Faith” (1981) records, Gary Numan‘s “Replicas” (1979)*, and probably all of Joy Division. I don’t know why I like it so much. I was about 15 when most of it came out, so that could explain a lot. While some (most) might find the beat monotonous, I find it hypnotic. And strangely enough, when music like this was made outside of this time period, it generally sucked (witness anything post-“Replicas” by Gary Numan). Also, it can’t be too self-conscious or campy; therefore, while I like Kraftwerk, they don’t quite fit in here. Of course, I like lots of music, and this stuff sometimes still seems like a childish indulgence, but whenever I hear the intro to The Cure‘s “A Forest,” I’m hooked. I guess it was my generation’s version of Goth music. Dark, cold, creepy, but with a heart beating somewhere underneath. Perfect for describing teenagers.

You’ll notice I’m still struggling to define a proper weblog “style” guide. I think I’m going to settle on BOLD for Artists/Authors, and “QUOTES” around the titles of books/musical releases. Is there something official somewhere? Use the Comments link to tell me.

* I took a theatre class in Grade 10 and for one exercise, I made an “alien” mask and pranced around to Gary Numan‘s “I Nearly Married a Human.” Thank God there’s no evidence.