Are musical genres especially confusing now or what?

I came across this problem when building music playlists on my phone. Some music blends or leaks into other genres and then there’s some that I can’t even categorize. It’s becoming so confusing. All I want to do is build perfectly organized playlists :frowning:

Example? Well, I got really into country once. I was jamming for more than a hot second and this was when Need You Now was hot and some other songs and artists I no longer remember by name. My absolute favorite was Trace Atkins and Blake Shelton’s Hillbilly Bone. I think I still know it word for word lol. But I stopped when it clicked in my head: this doesn’t really sound like the country I thought I knew. This sounds like rock! I actually felt kinda betrayed. I was genuinely hurt.

What happened to country music and when did it happen?

Also, what do you do when you’re trying to put your music library in categories or is that a problem that only I deal with?

Btw, I’m getting the hang of Straight Dope. Hang in there with me.

I dunno. I don’t really care about genres, nor do I worry about organizing my music by such.

but yeah, it can be pretty fluid. one of my favorite recent albums is Korn’s The Path of Totality. Is it metal? nu-metal? EDM/Dubstep? I don’t care, I just like it.

Do you not listen to a wide variety of music? I do and I can’t have Rosemary Clooney playing then jump straight into some Marina and the Diamonds or gangsta rap.

yes, I do. but I typically want to listen to a particular artist or album. I’ve never been in the situation where I wanted to listen to death metal but ended up having to listen to Finnish folk songs.

I don’t know about using phones for playlists, but on desktop you could use a player that supports tags. Then you can tag songs/albums/artists with multiple genres, moods, occasions, etc. It makes it super easy to make playlists. I personally use Musicbee, but there are others like foobar or mediamonkey that do the job just as good.

I was confused about how country changed as well. I actually love the new country, but didn’t know if the genre had a name. Turns out it does. It’s called bro country:

Now what I want to know is what that new pop sound that’s become so popular is called, the one by bands like Sheppard and R5, and solo artists like Andy Grammer.

Moving this over to Cafe Society.

I would agree with the OP. Pop music now tends to blend into variations of rap, rock, dance, country and EDM such that it’s often difficult to classify them into a single genre.

Although, I’ve often found it easier to categorize my genres for music a few years after it’s released. e.g. in the 90s, I may have classified everything under “alternative rock”, but decades later I have it subdivided by grunge, alt-pop, post-grunge, Britpop, so on and so forth.
Personally I use iTunes because I have an iPod and don’t find the interface too terrible. In addition to genre, I also use “tags” by adding key words to the comments section and creating “smart playlists” to search on the terms or by just dragging and dropping files into manual playlists and using Booleans in the smart playlists to combine them (ie where playlist = “80s” AND playlist = “not suck”.
But really, it just got so complex, I just use iTunes Genius to create playlists automatically.

Wow! Everything is changing too fast for me. I don’t know how to keep up xD


I’ve never used it but I did see the option to add tags on the computer. I just didn’t understand why I would do it but I certainly do now. If push comes to shove I will probably try to use our computer to organize the music (using tags) then transfer it back to my phone again. We don’t have internet on the computer so idk about the apps and whatnot but I should check that out if there are apps like Gladtobeblazed mentioned for phones.


Like two paragraphs into that article I got so blown away. Know that song by Hank Williams Jr. called Family Tradition? He sings about how other (mainly older or more traditional) country singers disapproved of him so. I think it’s because Country was once known for being super sad or emotional/romantic (by romantic I don’t necessarily mean in a way that means love/relationships) then singers started going outside of the box.

In the article I was kinda shocked to read that there was opposition to Bro-country. Interesting stuff, huh?

Musical genres have always fluctuated, with a lot of borrowing from one genre to another, in many cases to make it easier to dance to, like Rock and Roll from the Blues, or Big Band and Swing from Jazz, and many more I couldn’t list even if I knew them.

Duke Ellington put it best: There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.

Hank Jr. is actually responding that he does it because his father did it, who drank himself to death at a young age. It’s not the greatest song, but there’s some actual meaning behind it other than “let’s go party”.

And bro-country usually has the lyrical content of a hair metal song. Just take out any references to anything outside of the United States, and just throw in a truck, some mud and a creek. It’s pretty vapid stuff.

To the OP: I’ve never found musical genres to be clean. This is reflected fact that we have to combine then to describe some bands (e.g. Country Rock or Funk Rock).

I’ve found that rather than trying to put everything into sub-sub-genres, using a minimal number very broad categories (Rock, Classical, etc.) actually works better for my day-to-day listening purposes - YMMV.