By the time you see a star in the sky, it has been dead for millions of years.
This is similar to the ARIA charts and radio: once you notice a new sound beginning to infiltrate the more commercial end of the musical world, it’s far too late to jump onto the bandwagon.
So, how can you tell a genre is in its nascence and about to explode? It’s simple: all the artists are still singing about the type of music they are creating.
Take early blues songs. They are mostly about playing the blues, singing the blues, and having the blues. They are named things like ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Those Bayou Blues’ or ‘Dysentery Blues’ or ‘Alimony Blues’.
Early rock and roll was about rock and rolling, loving that old time rock and roll, rocking around the clock, rocking in general, and pleading to hear some of that rock and roll music, the type with a back beat that you cannot possibly lose. There were also a number of dance moves like The Twist which didn’t exist prior to the instructional song that introduced them into the lexicon.
Early disco hits were about disco (the genre and the venues that housed the genre), boogie-ing, blaming actions on the boogie, catching disco fever, night fever and other dance-related ailments, the dance floor in general, and dancing queens.
Nascent hip hop explains what hip hop is over a hip hop beat, the making of which they also explain. This is also where the trend of putting your hands in the air to signal indifference began.
When DJs begun to take over, many songs made by DJs were about requesting songs, beats, or specific actions from said DJs. “Hey DJ, play that song” is a maddeningly unspecific request, especially when shouting it in a club. Music to be played at rave parties was about raving, club music was about being in the club with the intention to never leave the club, and the drop was often preceded by a discussion about the drop.
So pay attention. If you begin hearing songs where the genre of the song is being discussed, buy stocks immediately.
Then, if Bono tries to weave it into the next U2 album, you’ll know you got there just in time.