Many genres of popular music boast to have “changed the landscape.” Some of them even make a strong case for the claim. But of all the musical styles to have arisen in the past few decades, it’s arguable that none has had as deep an impact as hip hop. And though it’s unquestionably an expression of the African-American experience, it’s found resonance in every corner of the globe and on every continent. (Yes, including Antarctica.)
Of all the musical styles jostling for their place in the spotlight, perhaps none is as all-encompassing as electronica. In many regards the first truly global genre, electronica isn’t bound by any specific language, cultural boundary or geographic limitation.
Imagine, if you will, the musical landscape of 1976. Disco and soft rock rule the airwaves; in November of that year, Captain & Tennille’s “Muskrat Love,” strangely, will go to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mainstream music remains placid, pleasant, and unchallenging, save the occasional sprinklings of prog and harder-edged stuff. “Harder” meaning, in this case, Boston and Ted Nugent.
Now, picture a sonic hand grenade thrown into the center of this safe and serene environment: A deafening wave of crashing guitars and furious, bile-spewing singers set on destroying everything that’s come before it. We’re talking, of course, about punk rock.