This is a weekly series of genre descriptions. If you disagree with my descriptions, you’re probably wrong. It’s OK. It happens to the best of us.

For the rest of this series, click here.

Danny Elfman:

It’s like listening to a child’s dream. The sky rains glitter and fairy dust, as an aquamarine sun floats through the sky. Then, goblins riding on dark clouds clash against kaleidoscopic clowns and circus performers. Explosions of inky darkness dot the edges of the battle. As the ink overwhelms your vision, you sense the fighting fading away. But something else is coming…




Straight towards you…

Yes, Danny Elfman counts as a genre, too. Listen to him here. Also, this description is only about his scores. His work with Oingo Boingo is for another day.

Gothic rock:

It’s like listening to ash and hail raining down around you, as the air grows hotter and thicker. The very reality around you cracks and fractures, hungry fissures racing past your feet. The crumbling ground you stand on could give way at any moment, sending you tumbling into a burning abyss.


But, what a wild ride it’s been. It was worth it. You light your cigarette and breathe deeply, calmly closing your eyes. You’re ready for what happens next.

Inspired by Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead“.
See also: Siouxsie and the Banshees.
And, The Cure.

Alternative rock (pre-grunge):

It’s like listening to the soul of a dirty, crumbling, concrete-slab neighborhood. The energy within the walls hums and pushes against its boundaries. There, at the cracking seams, the power wriggles free. It’s made up of dozens of pieces. Some match, but are in the wrong place. Most don’t.


Its rough hodgepodge nature doesn’t seem to bother it a bit. It thrives in the chaos. The gaps in what has come before are where it dances and plays.


Off it goes.

Inspired by Siouxsie and the Banshee’s later work.


It’s like listening to a friend tell a joke that you already know to someone else. As the joke builds to its climax, you’re more excited than anyone else to get to the punchline. The sentences get shorter. Choppier. You’re bouncing with excitement.


Your friend nods to you and starts the punchline, the and you jump in, too. The two of you proudly leap to your feet and shout the words together.

Inspired by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones & Reel Big Fish.