Rating System And FAQ’s


Table Of Contents:

Rating System

Frequently Asked Questions:

Music Terms & Genres



Rating System:

Here at ListenUpReviews.com we use a 5 & 1/2 Star rating system.

0 Stars 0 Stars: Absolutely Awful (i.e. Horrendous).

1 Star 1 Star: Very Bad.

2 Stars 2 Stars: Fairly Bad.

3 Stars 3 Stars: Fair.

4 Stars 4 Stars: Fairly Good.

5 Stars 5 Stars: Great.

5 & 1/2 Stars 5 & 1/2 Stars: Utterly Superb (i.e. Awesome).

Any fractions you see in between these ratings are, as you might expect, increments in between two ratings. (And to clarify the above list, we don’t count the last half star— 5 & 1/2— as a fraction, but a rating in and of itself. In fact, we’ll use fractions in between 5 and 5 & 1/2 if necessary. “5 & 1/2 Stars” is the absolute best and highest rating we can give.)



Frequently Asked Questions:


Us, Our Site, Our Reviews, & Other Details


Who are you?

We here at ListenUpReviews.com are a small group of independent reviewers* who love to read, write, play games, listen to music, go to concerts and festivals, ride roller coasters, visit websites, and watch movies, TV shows, stage shows, and plays… and then rate and review it all and share those ratings and reviews with you.

[* Note: Though all of us have input, of course, Ember is our official writer, even on reviews that do not specifically state this.]


I assume, judging from some of your photo and review credits, that you’re all using pen names. Why?

Hey, pen names are cool!


I noticed that in the music reviews you sometimes write about all of an album’s tracks and sometimes only certain ones. Why is that?

Well, we try to keep a balance between completeness and interest. Most, if not all, of the albums that win Awards get complete reviews, with every track mentioned and explained, because they’re just that good. The other album reviews usually explain as many of the tracks as is practical. Either way, we try to be as thorough as possible while still being interesting.


How often do you update the ratings for bands’ live shows?

Literally as often as possible! Usually we try to update them at least once a year; and since most bands’ live shows typically only change once a year anyways, that makes it quite convenient. Now, for obvious time and financial reasons, we may not always get to every band’s show each year; however, we do our best to see that our live show ratings are as current, up-to-date, and accurate as possible.


Do bands’ live show ratings equate to their album ratings?

No— live show ratings definitely do not equate to album ratings. As an example, if a band has a 5 & 1/2 Star album but a 5 & 1/3 Star show, it does not mean that their show is slightly less great than their album! Rather, live shows are rated solely on their own merits, apart from whatever their music is rated.


I know that the band live show ratings change (as you say, for obvious reasons), but I noticed that an album rating changed once. Why’s that?

Well… we do say often that, along with adding new material, we also constantly update our reviews. Seriously, though, the ratings for things such as rides, albums, novels, movies, and the like usually stay the same… unless something changes, a new edition is released, etc., or if we feel that it’s necessary.


How can my band or album [or etc.] get reviewed?

We always accept submissions. Due to the high number of requests and projects currently on the calendar, we cannot guarantee if or when we might actually post reviews, but we’re always happy to listen— and to keep the door open!


Can you get a message to [a band] for me?

Unfortunately, no— at this time, we do not have any affiliations or personal connections with any of the bands/authors/etc. that we review; and if we do gain some of those connections in the future, out of respect we would never use them as message channels. However, when possible we do post links to their official websites, which often provide a way to send them a message.


What is the “Content Advisory” link that I see in some of your reviews?

For your convenience, since this site is meant for people of any and all ages and you should be notified of any negative content contained in a book, movie, or etc. that we’re reviewing, we will provide a list of these elements— for example, excessive violence (meaning something especially visible or nasty), swearing, or other questionable content— hidden inside a special “Content Advisory” link. This link is usually placed before the main part of the review, unless it concerns music— in that case, if the Advisory is about something on the regular album, the link will be placed at the beginning of that particular record’s review; if the Advisory is about something in any special/alternate edition bonus content, the link will be placed at the beginning of that section in that record’s review.


In some of your reviews, you give an “Age/Content Recommendation”. What are all of the levels and their meanings?

Well, first, our Age/Content Recommendations do not have to do with any sort of comprehension “level” (for example, in terms of how a book is worded). Instead, our recommendations have to do with the stories’ themes and content. (And please remember, these are just our personal recommendations; it’s up to you to decide if the content is appropriate.) That said… Anyone means that it’s probably suitable for anyone. Mid-Teen and up means that it’s probably suitable for anyone over the age of about 14 or 15. And if we ever happen to rate something Mature, it will mean that it’s probably only suitable those over the age of 18 (or, preferably, 19).


What is a ‘prequel’?

A prequel is the opposite of a sequel, but still released afterwards. For example, say that there’s an already-released novel (or movie, etc.), and the author (or filmmaker, etc.) later decides to release another connected story, this time set “earlier” within the overall chronology. This second release is consequently dubbed a prequel, because it is released later than, but its story internally precedes, the original story.


What on earth is a ‘pregap’?

The pregap is a special area of an audio CD that is placed before the CD’s first track, usually containing several seconds of silence. Some bands, however, have cleverly placed hidden tracks in this ‘secret’ area, which can only be accessed by playing the CD’s first track and then seeking in reverse. (This kind of hidden track is really hidden! )


Your site obviously has reviews of a whole bunch of stuff (books, games, movies, rides, even plays and etc.) but the focus really seems to be music. I mean, you have two entire sections devoted to it (the general section and then your Awards), plus some articles, and even most of your FAQ is has to do with music. Why?

Great question! We must admit, ListenUpReviews.com— as it now is— is actually quite different from what was originally conceived. Believe it or not, ListenUpReviews.com was originally going to contain thrill ride/coaster reviews… and that’s it. Some time after that idea was formed (and already being worked on), one of us wanted to write a book review, and with one stroke that suddenly expanded the idea to encompass ‘reviews of a whole bunch of stuff’, as you say. Well, some time after that was being worked on, one of us came up with the idea of holding our own Music Awards. One thing that we here at ListenUpReviews.com all have in common is a strong love of great music (though of course our individual tastes in that area do vary ), so we took that new idea and pretty much ran with it… and it all just went from there. Looking back, we’re still not exactly sure how it all came together; but music has indeed become the main focus of ListenUpReviews.com— and we couldn’t be happier.



Our Music Awards


What’s the difference between the 2005 Awards and the ones that follow?

For the 2005 Music Awards (our first annual Awards), we decided that we couldn’t just pass up all the great music and festivals from prior years that we didn’t have a chance to actually Award until 2005. So not only did we Nominate and Award those bands whose music was featured in 2005, we pitted them against those in previous years, as well. In essence, whether the featured music is classic or brand new, the Nominees and Winners of the 2005 Music Awards are the best of the best to date [through ’05]. The following annual Awards (from 2006 and on) will only feature the music of that particular year. The other differences are that the Best Final Release Award is a 2005-Music-Award-exclusive, and we added a new, multi-Winner-acceptable Award, Best 7th-Or-Higher Release, starting with the 2006 Music Awards.


Sometimes you count EP’s as releases, but most of the time you don’t. Why not just do one or the other?

Well, firstly, we usually don’t count EP’s as true full-length releases for the simple reason that they usually aren’t. Even record labels rarely count EP’s as “Studio Releases”. When we occasionally do count EP’s as releases, it is because 1, the EP was full-length, or close to it; 2, usually either no songs or very few are repeated from it when the band comes out with their next ‘official’ album; 3, it was at least somewhat well-known; and 4, it was counted by the band itself as a true release (i.e. doing whole live shows off of the EP’s songs, etc.).


What about indie releases?

The qualifiers for indie releases are the same 4 as for EP’s (see above).


What about compilations and other specialty albums?

Compilations, such as B-sides, Rarities, remixes, and etc.— along with other specialty releases such as live discs, Christmas albums, and etc.— are not counted as “Studio Releases”.


Do you count a current or former bandmember’s first side or solo release as a ‘first release’ for Award purposes?



How exactly do you choose the nominees and winners of the album releases?

We compare each album several ways: First, very much on its own merits (i.e. musical, vocal, and lyrical quality and content, etc.), then with the previous releases of that band, and then with other bands’ same-number releases. For example, if we were looking at a band’s third release for the Awards, after judging it by itself, we would then compare it both with that same band’s first two albums, and then with other bands’ third albums. First releases, of course, after being judged by themselves, can be compared only with other bands’ first releases.

As mentioned above, we only Nominate those CD’s that are proven truly excellent by this method. There are plenty of other great ones that we also review and recommend, but we reserve the Awards for the absolute best of the best.


Are the Runners-Up/Nominees of the Awards also worth checking out?

Good heavens, YES! As explained above, in every category we choose only the best to be Nominees. The Award Winner is simply the best of them. Every Runner-Up/Nominee in our Awards is excellent, with a close (sometimes very close) chance of winning the Award. We definitely encourage you to check out both the Winners and Nominees.


What do the winners of the Awards receive as prizes?

Currently, the winners receive two things: Permanent recognition on this site for as long as it runs; and a custom icon created specifically for that Award (which they might or might not use— that’s up to them). If someone wins more than one award, they will get more icons (unless it’s a holdover from a previous win, as can be the case with festivals and live shows; though, in the case of live show holdovers, we may update the icons on occasion)… and, of course, more recognition.


Do you really custom-create a separate icon for each Award, every year? That seems like a lot of work.

Not compared to the actual very hard work that we all put into the Awards in the first place! Custom-creating icons is fun— and besides, it’s part of the prize— so yes, we do.


How can my band win an award?

Quite simply: Be truly excellent at what you do. We give Awards for live shows and many different categories of album releases, and if you’re excellent in one of those categories, we’ll find you! Just remember— true excellence is a rare class, and that is why we Nominate and Award it. If your band didn’t get a Nomination, don’t worry; there are a lot of bands that are really good or even great that we don’t Nominate. We’ll give them high star ratings, and even recommend them; it’s just that we reserve our Awards for the top of the top.

Please take heart— even if you don’t receive a Nomination or an Award, if you work hard and you believe in and love what you do, you’ll always be a winner (and we sincerely mean that!).



Music Terms & Genres

(Note: We placed this handy guide to music terms and genres on this site to aid your understanding of the sounds of the bands we review and also to just generally inform you. While we usually do not give a history of each genre, or describe every change the genre has gone through {and be warned— descriptions, terms, and even entire genres and genre names have changed over the years!}, we may occasionally describe some changes to make it more clear. Mostly, though, we simply describe each genre in its current modern form. We hope that this guide is helpful, informative, and just plain interesting to read. Enjoy!)


A Cappella / Acappella:

In this form of music, absolutely no instruments are used. A Cappella uses a chorus of many voices, in many different ranges, doing many different things, to create the illusion of a full sound while only singing. Obviously, Acappella is extremely old, and it’s almost never used anymore (except in certain situations, where if done right it actually sounds very good, like in the opening track of Relient K‘s Five Score And Seven Years Ago).


Adult Contemporary / AC:

Adult Contemporary, also commonly referred to as AC, consists mostly of the softer stuff. It’s applied to groups who solely play acoustic music, soft rock, soft pop, and etc.; it can also be applied to a large number of regular Country, regular Pop, and even certain Pop/Rock groups.



Alternative is a term more than anything else, and it’s really the most vague and unhelpful term we know of! When used, it typically means “anything other than AC or straight-up Rock.” Obviously, that doesn’t really tell you much, because there are oodles of radically different styles that it could refer to. Thankfully, most music reviewers have realized this, and are beginning to use far more proper and specific terms to describe modern music.


Celtic Punk:

Celtic Punk features Punk or Heavy Punk music combined with either bagpipes, mandolins, flutes/whistles, or combinations of these. (Flatfoot 56 is a great example.)


Classic-Style Rock / Classic-Style Heavy Rock:

Classic-Style Rock is actually pretty hard to describe. We call it that because when you think of, well, simple classic American Rock, that’s what comes to mind! An example of Classic-Style Rock is The Elms‘ second album Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll.

A variation of this is Classic-Style Rock/Rock, a fairly distinctive combination of Classic-Style and modern Rock. An example of this is Bleach.

Classic-Style Heavy Rock is classic heavy American Rock. An example is Thieves & Liars.


Crunk Rock:

“Crunk” (or “Krunk”, etc.) has often been used as a slang term before, with varying definitions (and spellings). But now there is an actual genre called Crunk Rock… and it was actually created by Family Force 5! Their style takes Rock, Hard-Edged Rock, Funk, Emo, Rap, Dance, even more Rock, a little humor, and a ton of cool keyboard/electronic effects and throws them all into a super-high-energy blender to create some incredible music that we just can’t get enough of. [Note: FF5’s debut album Business Up Front / Party In The Back is pure Crunk Rock, and their later releases are Electronic Crunk Rock.]



Dance is a rather broad genre, able to encompass certain Pop, Pop/Rock, Electronic, and even some straight-up Rock elements. Because of this, it’s hard to precisely describe; but basically, Dance music is the kind of beat-driven, energetic, sometimes Pop-y/sometimes Electronic-y/sometimes even Rocking-out music that literally makes you want to dance (or at least move around) to it.


Electronic / Electronica / Techno:

The Electronic genre (sometimes called Electronica or Techno, among other terms) is actually split between electronically-backed bands who mostly sing, and DJ’s who mostly just create music and who perform solo live.

In the first, “Electronic” category, you have bands whose music is very heavily created by keyboards, synthesizers, and computers and yet still uses a few instruments and has a distinct ‘band’ quality (and, of course, they actually sing full, complete songs that are of a somewhat normal length). There are really too many different examples of this to list; however, a loose variation is Plumb‘s Electronic Pop/Rock / Rock album Chaotic Resolve.

In the second, “Electronic–DJ” category, you have guys like Andy Hunter, who use a combination of computer-generated beats and sounds with real instruments to literally create whatever music they feel like creating. Their albums usually contain a mixture of totally instrumental tracks, tracks with just some vocals, and tracks with full lyrics and vocals (although those last are often done by guests); and, as mentioned earlier, live up to their DJ moniker by performing solo live.


Emo & Emocore:

Emo is a sort of sub-genre that is usually applied to certain Rock bands. While Emo used to have the stereotype of featuring mainly breakup lyrics (or etc. to that effect), that is thankfully no longer the correct definition— modern Emo bands are simply just especially emotional and/or expressive in their music, lyrics, and vocals. (Take Emo Rock band Further Seems Forever for example). Also, Emo bands can often, through the vocals, make you feel each emotion/expression that’s sung; and at live shows they seem to pour all of that emotion, expression, and (if energetic) energy into the crowd ten times over.

Emocore is, of course, Emo’s heavier derivative; it features heavier music (anywhere from Hard-Edged Rock to full Hard Rock and beyond), and more intense vocals, emotions, and expressions— often using a few screams to make the point. For examples see Emocore/Hardcore variation subseven, and Emocore Rock/Rock variation The Wedding.



This is a descriptive term, rather than an actual genre. And, for once, it’s a term that doesn’t need much description— because it means exactly what it sounds like! The bands who are dubbed with the Experimental term are quite simply experimenting with the limits, boundaries, and stereotypes of their genre(s)— going well beyond the typical expression of those genre(s) to create something blended and usually unique to them. (An example of this is John Reuben, whose style is Hip-Hop (Rap)/Experimental/Rock.)



Folk comes in several different musical types (both old and new), so the lyrical style is really its distinctive element. Folk lyrics are almost entirely life-related (taking ‘snapshots’ of their lives or others’; using a natural commenting or talking style of wording; sometimes projecting thoughts out into the future; etc.) and often thoughtfully rambling. As for the music, it can come in either the old acoustic indie style (probably what you think of when you hear the word ‘Folk’), or now several definitely-modern styles (for example, Folk Rock Aaron Sprinkle and Electronic Folk Pop/Rock Owl City).



Hardcore is a catch-all term encompassing many diverse genres, sub-genres, styles, and derivatives, all of them heavy in some way (just a few examples are Hard Rock, Metal, Screamo, (True) Screamo, and the heavy indie styles, although there are plenty more). ‘Hardcore’ can be used to describe any heavy music— if you don’t know the precise heavy genre name, as an easier or quicker way to describe it, or in the absence of any other more specific description. Because of its inherent broadness, ‘Hardcore’ is of course not the most precise way to categorize different brands of heavy music; but it can be a quite useful term, and it’s widely used.


Hard-Edged Rock:

Hard-Edged Rock is, well, Rock with an edge. In other words, it isn’t quite Hard Rock; it’s in-between, on regular Rock’s hard edge. This can mean one (or a combination) of several things: Guitars that can be just up to Hard Rock in heaviness; vocals that may include more power; several screams used mainly for emphasis; and etc. (Note also that most Hard-Edged Rock bands sound quite different from each other.) Some diverse Hard-Edged Rock examples include Flyleaf, and Showbread‘s second album Age of Reptiles.


Hard Rock:

While it is certainly true that the vocalists in the Hard Rock genre tend to throw in a few more screams than Rock or Hard-Edged Rock bands do, that is actually somewhat optional. Hard Rock is truly characterized by guitars that are very heavy, yet usually very skillfully (and often even Melodically) played as well. Several examples are Skillet, Eowyn, and Disciple.


Heavy Metal:

(Note: Heavy Metal is not the same genre as today’s modern Metal. For that genre description, please see the Metal entry below.)

Old Heavy Metal had guitars that could be up to as heavy as those of today’s Hard Rock, and there were usually quite technical and expansive guitar solos during many Heavy Metal tracks. The genre also almost always featured the often-ridiculously-high falsetto vocals of that era. One band that actually did the genre naturally (and quite well) was Petra— especially on their album Jekyll and Hyde.


Hip-Hop (Rap):

“Wait a minute! Aren’t Hip-Hop and Rap a bit different?”
Well, technically, yes. Or at least that’s how it used to be: The typically-gritty, very-heavy-beat, superfast-delivery, similar-sounding kind was called Hip-Hop; the typically-tamer, easier-on-the-ears, more-variety kind was called Rap. Over the years, the two ‘styles’ mixed a little and then separated again; but by then it became easier for everyone to just call it all one or the other, and that policy stuck. So, while music aficionados do still distinguish between Hip-Hop and Rap, it’s important to know that those two terms have become widely interchangeable everywhere else.



Indie (usually uncapitalized) can actually refer to a number of things. An “indie artist” means that artist is currently not signed to a label; similarly, an “indie album” or “indie release” means that album was released independently. The latter terms can also be confusing, however, as there are so-called “indie labels” that produce and give aid to those wishing to release independent albums, and even though these are technically labels, the CD’s released from them can still be called indie albums. There is also an “indie” pseudo-genre, which basically refers to the huge number of Experimental, non-mainstream, and often otherwise-indescribable underground music styles that are out there.



Instrumental can be used as a term or a genre. Either way, it means instruments-only, with either no vocals at all or just some type of background lyricless vocal. Instrumental music can run the style gamut from AC all the way to full Rock, Hard-Edged Rock, Punk, Metal, and beyond. One great example is Instrumental Hard Rock guitarist Brad Noah.



This is a descriptive term, rather than an actual genre. While sometimes used improperly or confused with the actual word ‘melodic’, the Melodic term is only properly applied to guitarwork that has a very certain sound. It’s hard to describe; but, basically, the Melodic guitar style features near-constant note-changing, and usually also playing a tune that is almost completely different from the lead singer’s melody— and yet it all sounds great together. It’s a unique, interesting, and quite enjoyable sound. A fair number of Hard Rock bands play Melodically; for a regular Rock example, see Melodic Rock/Rock band High Flight Society.



(Note: Modern Metal is not the same genre as ‘Heavy Metal’. For that genre description, please see the Heavy Metal entry above.)

Modern Metal music usually features bass and guitars that are at least as heavy, and usually blisteringly heavier, than Hard Rock; and in combination with the bass and guitars, modern Metal also features unique drums and vocals. Drums, because (except for an occasional Hard-Edged Rock, Hard Rock, Punk, or Hardcore band) very few bands besides Metal ones consistently use double bass pedals in the unique, machine-gun-rapid-fire way that they do; and vocals, because they’re mostly very low-pitched roaring. Believe it or not, though, some Metal bands actually incorporate a little bit of singing as well, and actually sound great doing both. An excellent Metal example is Demon Hunter.


Modern Heavy Metal:

Modern Heavy Metal blends the best musical elements of both the Metal and Heavy Metal genres while using completely different vocals— mostly normal ones. It’s a very rare, but very good, genre.


Pop / Pop/Punk / Pop/Rock / etc. :

Pop is a genre that usually sounds very processed, with sugary vocals perfectly sung and harmonized (among other things).

Although Pop is its own genre, it is also often used as a modifier on other genres (such as Punk and Rock). For example, when you see bands with the genre Pop/Punk, it means that their music is Punk that has certain Pop twists to its vocals, lyrics, and music. A further variation of this is Pop/Punk/Rock, which contains mostly Pop/Punk elements but adds in a fair amount of straight-up Rock as well (some examples of this variation are Hawk Nelson‘s second album Smile, It’s The End Of The World and Relient K‘s fourth album Mmhmm).

Pop/Rock is a lighter kind of Rock with, again, certain Pop twists to its vocals, lyrics, and music. Power Pop, or as we like to call it Pop/Rock / Rock, is similar to Pop/Rock but uses more straight-up Rock guitars.


Punk / Punk Rock / Heavy Punk:

Punk is instantly identifiable by its unique and unusual drumline. The off-beat is always played and accented, and in practically all Punk songs the drums are also played very fast. A number of Punk songs also have characteristic fast-chugging guitars; but it’s really the drums that give it away. Some classic Punk bands are MxPx and Slick Shoes.

Punk Rock utilizes all of the Punk elements plus a bit more straight-up Rock. A slight-variation example of this is Punk Rock/Rock band Children 18:3.

You may also see the terms Power Punk and Hardcore Punk, which both mean the same thing as Heavy Punk. Heavy Punk, in turn, consists of hard-hitting, heavy-rocking Punk music, along with (usually) quite heavy vocals (i.e. making their voices sound rough, gritty, low, etc.). An example of this is Dogwood, and a variation is Celtic Punk band Flatfoot 56 (for that variation explanation, please see the Celtic Punk entry).

[There are also more Punk variations such as Pop/Punk and Pop/Punk/Rock; for those variation explanations, please see the Pop entry.]



Please see the Hip-Hop (Rap) entry.



Raprock was a complete blending of Rap and either Rock or Hard Rock— it had full Rock/Hard Rock music, and its vocals were a seamless mix of singing and rap. Done well, it was actually pretty good (see Thousand Foot Krutch‘s first album Set It Off for example). Unfortunately, Raprock’s popularity was quite shortlived; in consequence, its participants either quickly changed their style or disappeared. (Luckily, TFK decided to change with the times… because while they were an excellent Raprock band, now they’re an even more excellent full Rock band. )



Reggae features Jamaican-style vocals that are half-sung, half-rapped, and usually include a number of vocal/vocally-created ‘sound-effects’. The vocals are also very rhythmic, and are usually placed on off-beats.


Rock Worship / Pop/Rock Worship / Hard Rock Worship / etc. :

Rock (etc.) Worship is exactly what it sounds like: it’s Rock (or Pop/Rock, or Hard Rock, or etc.) and it’s Worship. These albums often contain hymns or AC worship songs remade into solid Rock (etc.) versions, although some bands like Light Rock Worship Leeland completely make up their own worship songs.



Like Hip-Hop and Rap eventually getting lumped together into a general term of one or the other, Screamo has also become a ‘lumped’ term. You see, for a long time (even aside from modern Metal bands) there had been a few bands that just mostly screamed, but there wasn’t really a widespread term for it. Then along came the new, true genre Screamo, with its diverse yet rigid description (which can be read in the ‘(True) Screamo’ entry below) and a lot of differences from other ‘just-mostly-screaming’-type bands. At the same time that true-genre-Screamo’s popularity began its fast climb, more and more ‘just-mostly-screaming’ bands also began to appear. Since there only ever have been just a few true-genre-Screamo bands and albums, while the ‘mostly-screaming’ bands and their variations began to quickly flood the scene and also needed a term, pretty soon it became easier for everyone to call it all “Screamo”. (We here at ListenUpReviews.com have changed our reviews and this Genre FAQ accordingly; yet we still would like to acknowledge the differences between the two. So while we now use the term ‘Screamo’ generally, as it’s widely used elsewhere, we will use ‘(True) Screamo’ to mark the original, specific, true-genre-Screamo style.)

Screamo, of course, features mostly-screamed vocals, usually in the high or medium range (though a few Screamo vocalists can also bring their screams down into the low Metal range for variety); and they also often incorporate little bits of singing here and there. The underlying music can encompass Rock, Hard-Edged Rock, Hard Rock, Emocore, and/or combinations of those, often including some Melodic elements as well.

Of numerous modern Screamo examples, the best is easily Underøath.


(True) Screamo:

(Note: This is the original, true-genre-Screamo description; only a few bands and albums were ever classified as this. The description of the now all-inclusive term Screamo is in the entry above. (True) Screamo is a very specific genre with a very rigid description; it’s a class all its own.)

(True) Screamo blends the energy, expression, and emotion of Emocore; the styles of Rock, Hard-Edged Rock, Hard Rock, and occasionally even Punk; and— well— a fair amount of screaming. But the interesting thing is that true-genre-Screamo bands, while screaming a lot, don’t actually scream all the time. In fact, their lead vocalists usually have excellent voices, singing as often as not; and there is typically a lot of vocal layers and variety. Also, (True) Screamo lyrics are often quite deep— intelligent, intellectual, touching on theology, philosophy, and morality; and often doing so in visual, metaphorical, or artistic language. It’s a very interesting genre.

See Showbread‘s first album No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical for a perfect example of these (True) Screamo qualities.



Ska is a unique style. In its modern form, it blends a whole lot of Punk and a whole lot of Rock with some brass instruments (such as trumpet/trombone/saxaphone/etc.) to create some very interesting, usually energetic, and sometimes quite humorous melodies. Three Ska bands— all quite different from one another in their lyrics, vocals, and portrayal of the genre— are The Insyderz, The O.C. Supertones, and Five Iron Frenzy.


Southern / Southern Rock:

Southern Rock is separated from regular Rock and other Rock variations by its twangy, almost-Country-but-heavier-sounding southern guitar style; it can also contain a very distinctive organ. Once you hear it you’ll instantly recognize it again later.



Urban used to be (and probably still is) a catch-all term for the Hip-Hop (Rap) and R&B genres. However, there is now also a separate genre called Urban, which is a rather neat style blending Hip-Hop (Rap) with Pop or Pop/Rock. This genre’s vocalists mix singing with a kind of musical rap, and the music itself mixes the two styles in a beat-driven way.