DECODING ELECTRONIC MUSIC SUBGENRES

Electronic Music is notorious for its sub-genres. I mean, I don’t know that much about rock music, but there aren’t really that many different ways to describe it. Alt rock, metal, indie rock, rock rock, er… I’m sure there’s more, but let’s say, for the purpose of this post, there’s max 10 different genres of rock music. Electronic Music, on the other hand, has at least 30. And people are creating new (and making up) ones all the time!

I’m guilty of expecting people to know what I’m talking about when discussing electronic music, so I thought I’d break down some of the most common genres (with examples!) on my blog. This does not even begin to break the surface (uh, check out this Wikipedia page), but the following genres are pretty popular these days:

*I am also trying to explain these in the most basic way possible. This is my interpretation only and if you actually listen to Electronic Music you probably hate me for this list. I will try to avoid discussing beats per minute (BPM) in this, because if you’re not a musician, then this doesn’t really mean much to you!

  1. House – You probably think all electronic music is house, and while that isn’t really true, it’s basically the most common type, and what the rest of the genre is based on. You hear this on the radio and that weird “bar lounge” down the road from you.
  2. Progressive House – Like house music, except way longer. Usually takes years (i.e. 4 minutes) for a song to reach the climax. Deadmau5 is one of the most popular progressive house producers today.
  3. Electro House – This is also called “Big Room House”, or “Festival Music.” Basically includes some sort of relatable lyric (“I can make you feel this way tonight/These will be the years/Sometimes I get a good feeling/etc.) which is accompanied by a kick-drum/bass line. You can usually hear the DJ screaming things like “Everybody Jump!/Are You Ready”. Hardwell is most well known for this genre.  If somebody is talking about EDM (an acronym for electronic dance music), they’re probably talking about electro house.
  4. Techno – Ah, techno. If you think electronic music is so repetitive, you’re probably listening to a techno song. There are usually no vocals. People who like techno usually dislike other genres of electronic music and think. that EDM ruined the “scene”. The Boiler Room Youtube Channel has a ton of great techno sets: 
  5. Dubstep – This genre gets a bad rep because it was a huge fad a couple of years ago, but I would like to just preface this description with I STILL LOVE DUBSTEP. This is basically any song that has a super deep  repetitive “wub” sound. It’s the metal music of electronic music. American DJ Skrillex was one of the first dubstep artists to break into the mainstream, but it actually originates from the UK, where underground artists like Skream helped pioneer this sound.
  6. Deep House – Mixes funk, jazz, and house to form a super easy-listening electronic music genre. Producers like Oliver Heldens have brought this sound mainstream, and we’re definitely hearing more of it on the radio these days. Calvin Harris even put the trend to the test with last summer’s hit How Deep Is Your Love.  
  7. Tropical House – Kygo blew up last year, so I’m going to keep this pretty simple. Kygo is tropical house music. Think coconuts and flutes.
  8. Chillwave – Chillwave is well, chill. It’s electronic music that you can listen to while studying. Think downtempo. Tycho & Bonobo are killing this scene. 

After writing this I have realized how difficult it is to describe sounds. Hopefully you at least discovered some new artists to listen to!

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