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Throughout history, iconic musicians have courted fame and attention through more than just being the first to pioneer or capitalise on a sound. Some resort to boundary-breaking dance moves, scandalous stage antics, shocking outfit choices and all round notoriety to cement their relevancy. An artist like Madonna, the undeniable queen of revival, has built her career on her ability to reinvent herself entirely, changing her style, sound and stage antics. Just when you think you’ve seen the last of her, she appears, gyrating on stage and acting like worldwide women’s suffrage was a thing when she was born. Genre, in its definition, is a very loosely-based term. Determined by specific stylistic criteria, a category is created. Yet this category can never be all encompassing, with different interpretations consistently changing the nature of the genre. For the purpose of this piece, mainstream genres as a whole will be looked at, in order to see exactly how uniformity is created, and how it comes to represent an entity. Oasis: the kings of cool hairstyles Some artists – unintentionally or not – become representatives of a certain genre, and their style of dressing becomes their uniform. Oasis, emerging out of Manchester in 1991, became a symbol of the traditionally Mancunian way of dressing coupled with their petulant, attitude-filled faces of days past. Their wardrobes were dominated primarily by their ensemble of tracksuit tops, sweatshirts, long coats with turned up collars, and typical sports-luxe-cum-90s-gear. The band, having conquered the charts between 1995-2005, heavily influenced the Britpop rock genre, and came to represent it through their signature look and rock ‘n roll antics. During Oasis’ reign, Britpop/rock bands like Muse and Arctic Monkeys sprung up, citing the band as a strong influence in their conception, and perhaps unconsciously, mimicked their iconic way of dressing. Once these bands were more established and had found their own fan base, they moved away from Oasis’ signature look and created their own one, such as Alex Turner’s Danny Zuko-meets-schoolboy style. Alex Turner's best Danny Zuko impression Indie rock, a genre that has stretched considerably since its early days as a variation of alternative rock music, came to be represented by bands who brought long hair (don’t care), tight pants, trendy kicks and geeky cool getup into the mix. At times, it was possible to identify an indie band strictly by what they were wearing. In pursuit of originality however, bands now tend to avoid this cookie cutter way of dressing, that was created and iconised, by those who came before. Hip hop finds its origins in the increasing popularity of American block parties in the 1970s. Characterised by its stylistic rhythmic music, musicians who fall into this category have adopted a specific way of dressing, which has eventually resonated into a thriving culture. Headgear, “blinging” chains, and low-slung pants have become the uniform that hip hop artists subscribe to, and in turn, its influence has spread to everyday wardrobes. Headgear in hip hop is an especially popular accessory. Wu Tang Clan and their headgear Eminem aligned himself to the genre through his favouring of do-rags, Tupac wore sundry bandanas and 50 Cent is an avid cap-wearer. Musicians like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams have experimented with this categorised way of dressing by adopting a unique style that still largely includes characteristics of the hip hop uniform, thereby still aligning themselves to the genre. Psychedelic rock formed as a tributary of rock music, as artists attempted to replicate the highs of psychedelic drugs and convert it into melodic music. This type of music, which usually involves the use of synthesizers and a strong keyboard influence, was once considered counterculture. As a subsection of rock music and its counterculture approach to society, it makes sense that ripped pants, cut-offs, spiked clothing and tattoos have become the uniform of psychedelic rock. Its decline began after (the popularity of) LSD wore off in the 70s, however its resurgence was always inevitable considering how many bands contributed to the genre. Night Beats representing psychedelic rock With modern bands like The Black Angels and Tame Impala, the genre has found a whole new fanbase, and is now commonly associated with the skate scene. It is difficult to find young up-and-coming psychedelic/neo-psychedelic bands not sporting Vans, Converse or other skate-related footwear, alongside their ripped pants, long hair, tattoos and hipster fashion. Many musicians have capitalised on the popularity of the apparel they wear, by creating fashion lines to further promote their brand and image. Musicians like Pharrell Williams (Billionaire Boys Club), Kanye West (Yeezy), Gwen Stefani (L.A.M.B) and P Diddy/ Puff Diddy/ Diddy (Sean John), among many others, have all headed their own clothing lines fashioned around their style, which have garnered attention and success from critics and fans. Pharrell Williams for Billionaire Boys Club Despite all the meticulous planning that goes into each outfit to cultivate a certain look as a representation of a genre, sometimes it doesn’t work out as planned. The notable 2004 Super Bowl performance by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake went down in history not for their duo’s singing abilities or chemistry, but for the famous “wardrobe malfunction” or Nipplegate as it came to be called. In hindsight, the act was deemed a pre-planned publicity stunt, and met criticism and was ridiculed for its attention-seeking ploy. For male celebrities, clothing malfunctions usually involve unzipped flies or exposing themselves, such as Kanye West, Harry Styles and Lenny Kravitz, who all showed a little too much of themselves in public. Lady Gaga's meat dress... What a time to be alive On the flip side, certain musicians, such as Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, fuelled their careers through loud, bright saccharine ensembles that clashed as much as they gained attention. Their approach to dressing, which basically translated to more is more is more, has been toned down since finding their fan base (and their voices) however Lady Gaga and meat dress will always be mutualistic. Genre helps to define the type of music a person favours, through its general categorisation of bands. The prominence of uniformity in genre is undeniable, as music has always stood as a symbol of unity and inclusion between bands and their fans. The creation of a uniform, or way of dressing, is paralleled across all types of genres. Whether it be the prominence of black clothing, eyeliner and dyed hair associated with the emergence of emo music or the brightly colourful dress code and syrupy-sweet lyrics of pop singers, genre and style tend to remain interconnected, as it serves as uniformity and identification. Cover image courtesy of La Weekly
Throughout history, iconic musicians have courted fame and attention through more than just being the first to pioneer or capitalise on a sound. Some resort to boundary-breaking dance moves, scandalous stage antics, shocking outfit choices and all round notoriety to cement their relevancy. An artist like Madonna, the undeniable queen of revival, has built her career on her ability to reinvent herself entirely, changing her style, sound and stage antics. Just when you think you’ve seen the last of her, she appears, gyrating on stage and acting like worldwide women’s suffrage was a thing when she was born. Genre, in its definition, is a very loosely-based term. Determined by specific stylistic criteria, a category is created. Yet this category can never be all encompassing, with different interpretations consistently changing the nature of the genre. For the purpose of this piece, mainstream genres as a whole will be looked at, in order to see exactly how uniformity is created, and how it comes to represent an entity. Oasis: the kings of cool hairstyles Some artists – unintentionally or not – become representatives of a certain genre, and their style of dressing becomes their uniform. Oasis, emerging out of Manchester in 1991, became a symbol of the traditionally Mancunian way of dressing coupled with their petulant, attitude-filled faces of days past. Their wardrobes were dominated primarily by their ensemble of tracksuit tops, sweatshirts, long coats with turned up collars, and typical sports-luxe-cum-90s-gear. The band, having conquered the charts between 1995-2005, heavily influenced the Britpop rock genre, and came to represent it through their signature look and rock ‘n roll antics. During Oasis’ reign, Britpop/rock bands like Muse and Arctic Monkeys sprung up, citing the band as a strong influence in their conception, and perhaps unconsciously, mimicked their iconic way of dressing. Once these bands were more established and had found their own fan base, they moved away from Oasis’ signature look and created their own one, such as Alex Turner’s Danny Zuko-meets-schoolboy style. Alex Turner's best Danny Zuko impression Indie rock, a genre that has stretched considerably since its early days as a variation of alternative rock music, came to be represented by bands who brought long hair (don’t care), tight pants, trendy kicks and geeky cool getup into the mix. At times, it was possible to identify an indie band strictly by what they were wearing. In pursuit of originality however, bands now tend to avoid this cookie cutter way of dressing, that was created and iconised, by those who came before. Hip hop finds its origins in the increasing popularity of American block parties in the 1970s. Characterised by its stylistic rhythmic music, musicians who fall into this category have adopted a specific way of dressing, which has eventually resonated into a thriving culture. Headgear, “blinging” chains, and low-slung pants have become the uniform that hip hop artists subscribe to, and in turn, its influence has spread to everyday wardrobes. Headgear in hip hop is an especially popular accessory. Wu Tang Clan and their headgear Eminem aligned himself to the genre through his favouring of do-rags, Tupac wore sundry bandanas and 50 Cent is an avid cap-wearer. Musicians like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams have experimented with this categorised way of dressing by adopting a unique style that still largely includes characteristics of the hip hop uniform, thereby still aligning themselves to the genre. Psychedelic rock formed as a tributary of rock music, as artists attempted to replicate the highs of psychedelic drugs and convert it into melodic music. This type of music, which usually involves the use of synthesizers and a strong keyboard influence, was once considered counterculture. As a subsection of rock music and its counterculture approach to society, it makes sense that ripped pants, cut-offs, spiked clothing and tattoos have become the uniform of psychedelic rock. Its decline began after (the popularity of) LSD wore off in the 70s, however its resurgence was always inevitable considering how many bands contributed to the genre. Night Beats representing psychedelic rock With modern bands like The Black Angels and Tame Impala, the genre has found a whole new fanbase, and is now commonly associated with the skate scene. It is difficult to find young up-and-coming psychedelic/neo-psychedelic bands not sporting Vans, Converse or other skate-related footwear, alongside their ripped pants, long hair, tattoos and hipster fashion. Many musicians have capitalised on the popularity of the apparel they wear, by creating fashion lines to further promote their brand and image. Musicians like Pharrell Williams (Billionaire Boys Club), Kanye West (Yeezy), Gwen Stefani (L.A.M.B) and P Diddy/ Puff Diddy/ Diddy (Sean John), among many others, have all headed their own clothing lines fashioned around their style, which have garnered attention and success from critics and fans. Pharrell Williams for Billionaire Boys Club Despite all the meticulous planning that goes into each outfit to cultivate a certain look as a representation of a genre, sometimes it doesn’t work out as planned. The notable 2004 Super Bowl performance by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake went down in history not for their duo’s singing abilities or chemistry, but for the famous “wardrobe malfunction” or Nipplegate as it came to be called. In hindsight, the act was deemed a pre-planned publicity stunt, and met criticism and was ridiculed for its attention-seeking ploy. For male celebrities, clothing malfunctions usually involve unzipped flies or exposing themselves, such as Kanye West, Harry Styles and Lenny Kravitz, who all showed a little too much of themselves in public. Lady Gaga's meat dress... What a time to be alive On the flip side, certain musicians, such as Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, fuelled their careers through loud, bright saccharine ensembles that clashed as much as they gained attention. Their approach to dressing, which basically translated to more is more is more, has been toned down since finding their fan base (and their voices) however Lady Gaga and meat dress will always be mutualistic. Genre helps to define the type of music a person favours, through its general categorisation of bands. The prominence of uniformity in genre is undeniable, as music has always stood as a symbol of unity and inclusion between bands and their fans. The creation of a uniform, or way of dressing, is paralleled across all types of genres. Whether it be the prominence of black clothing, eyeliner and dyed hair associated with the emergence of emo music or the brightly colourful dress code and syrupy-sweet lyrics of pop singers, genre and style tend to remain interconnected, as it serves as uniformity and identification. Cover image courtesy of La Weekly