Youth culture, since the creation of teenage separation from adults, has tended to separate itself from the mainstream of society temporarily. This is especially true during times of social change. In the 1970s, the UK and WE were in the middle of a lot of change. The sexual revolution of the 60s had opened the floodgates of sexual expression. The economy was really sucky and then there was Vietnam.
Some people sang of peace, love and "the age of Aquarius" but the mild form of protest did not reach out to or speak up for everyone who wanted to protest. Regular Rock was chalk full of stupid lyrics and substandard music, Dance music was shallow and uninvolved philosophically. All of these styles were over commercialised. Then Punk arrived to shake everything up.
Punk was protesting loudly, with raw, heated lyrics. Groups like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols did very well but it wasn't due to marketing or radio airplay. Radio stations would not play punk, and most clubs refused to accept live punk bands. It spread mainly by word of mouth through the underground society that was forming around it. There was a sizable portion of the mainstream which did not realise punk had happened until after the second wave in the 1980s.
Because it was mainly a protest movement, it faded out a bit for a while. Then the later part of the decade saw resurgence. The new bands used the "old school" three-chord structure but altered it some. As the industrial scene began, some industrial and synthesised elements began to influence punk. Out of that came the "New Wave" sound. Others kept the instrumentations true but subdued them just a little.
B. Death rock
The sound wasn't all that changed. So did the lyrics; they went from protests to the introspective, dark, melancholic, restless lyrics of Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, Alien Sex Fiend, Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Their lyrics dark and haunting - gothic from a literary standpoint. Music critics mentioned the fact repeatedly, though the fans called it Death rock and not Goth or Gothic Music
C. Gothic Rock
To some within the Gothic Community, Death rock and its musical offspring Goth rock are the only true forms of Goth(ic) music. Gothic Rock came to be as Death rock began to change and become less and less like Punk. It was still underground, but they added innovations such as drum machines and keyboards. The tempo slowed and the fans began to call themselves and the music Goth(ic).
Some bands like The Cure were successful from a commercial standpoint, and today the influences of such bands can be seen in music ranging from modern rock to alternative to metal. Most truly Gothic bands however prefer to remain underground - fearing the effect the mainstream and commercialism would have on the culture.
Lyrically themes from gothic literature were the norm. Musically, some darker, more distinctive patterns became commonplace.
D. "Goth" Styles
The philosophy and mindset of the gothic community began to express itself in a myriad of other musical forms. In some already established genre (like heavy metal), a gothic subcategory would emerge. Other times, experimental formats came and some went.
Gothic music sometimes crosses into the mainstream, most often it does not. Gothic music can be found filed as "Heavy Metal" (Nox Arcana), "New Age" (Steve Roach and other Ethereal and Ambient Styles) or "Classic Rock" (Love Spirals Downwards) even when these labels make no sense. For instance there is no rock beat at all in Love Spirals Downwards and Nox Arcana make dirge-like atmosphere music. Classifications such as "newgrave" and "dark wave" mean very little to the mainstream professionals who create the standards for categorising music.
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