An Abridged History of Western Music in 16 Genres (cdza music video)

[Video Link] The latest from Boing Boing collaborator Joe Sabia's CDZA project: "an abridged history of Western Music, performing 'What a Wonderful World' in 16 different genres."


  1. This is brilliant and charming.  They butchered all 16 genres, but they made me laugh!

  2. Dubstep is not a genre, it is a cancerous growth which must be excised. Rest of it was entertaining though.

    1. Agree on dubstep, but I thought that about grunge too … only to fall in love with the ‘grunge-influenced’ popular and ‘alternative’ music that followed. So the same thing could happen with dubstep for me.

    2. I’m not wild about dubstep, but I have to really, consciously enjoy good dubstep when I hear it, just because of the prevalence of attitudes like yours.

  3. I think I heard a little bit of ‘musical theater’ throughout this too. I wonder if I would have heard the same if I hadn’t been watching the video too, and I wonder what it is that makes me think some songs “sound like musical theater” independent of genre. Maybe it’s the enunciation…

    1.  I actually thought they were going for “sounds like musical theater” for the genre at the very end.

  4. I expected to find something else here, based on the headline.

    Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
    Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got Country and Western. 

  5. A fairly arbitrary and inaccurate summary of Western music. No western swing was represented, which is arguably the transit through which blues became rock n’ roll. No country music. No modern folk music. No new wave, synth pop. No Celtic music, which predates everything they sung. I came away feeling like these people are aliens and only know western music through watching transmissions of Glee.

    If you’re going to take the time to put all this together, at least do some research first. Because as it stands, it comes off as facetious and flippant, and thus ultimately forgettable.

    1. Hard to specifically criticize them for leaving out swing, the transit through which blues became rock n’ roll, when they completely skipped over rock n’ roll too :)

      I think they followed a single thread of influences… one genre led to the next down a specific path (to, uh, dubstep I guess). Other genres will have branched off at each step, but were not part of the direct path that led to dubstep. Hence soul & blues leads to motown – skipping over rock and roll which is a different path – and goes to reggae directly after that.

    2. Also, a summary with a 150-year hole in it.  They skipped from the Classical period (late 1700s) to the Jazz age (1920s).  Because Jazz just follows from Mozart I guess.

    1. Yes. They started with Organum which is about 400-500 years after Gregorian Chant… :) I thought the same thing but I am indeed a music dork. ;)

  6. Is that Donny Osmand?

    That’s a noble high splat on the wall. When I was working on The Chipmunks, we tried a similar thing doing Chipmunk versions of Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Little Richard and Chuck Berry all in one medley. It left our singer horse spitting blood on te spit screen and our engineer laying in a puddle of sweat on the floor. These things look easier than they are to make.

    But that said, these folks don’t have much of a sense of ragtime or jazz. And no country? Pfew!

    1.  Or a sense of Motown. It was the soul and blues with horns. Not that a label is a genre, but whatever.

  7. There are glimmers of a brighter future within — particularly when they claimed “house music” and the bluegrass guys were getting down in that background.

    That’s a melding I would like to see.



  8. Lazy.  Failure to grok bluegrass, ragtime, gregorian, jazz.  Those kids spent too much time doing shitty Acapella  in college.

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