Has electronic music lost a certain type of raunchiness and “humor” that our eighties synth brethren were all too enamored with in favor of a more “conventional” raunchiness?

Reader Kaleb wrote us to ask, “Has electronic music lost a certain type of raunchiness and “humor” that our eighties synth brethren were all too enamored with in favor of a more “conventional” raunchiness?”

Our thoughts exactly – especially after watching Soft Cell‘s live performance of Sex Dwarf.

What do you think? Has electronic music lost a certain type of raunchiness and “humor” that our eighties synth brethren were all too enamored with in favor of a more “conventional” raunchiness?

23 thoughts on “Has electronic music lost a certain type of raunchiness and “humor” that our eighties synth brethren were all too enamored with in favor of a more “conventional” raunchiness?

  1. It’s probably because I was born in 1990, but I never liked 80’s music. I never liked the sounds of the cheesy synths, and just the entire creative decisions behind the entire productions.

    I like modern EDM of all kinds though, minimal house, dubstep, hard dance, IDM, whatever.

    So maybe it’s just a generation thing.

    1. i Don’t think it’s a generational thing. I was born in 1987 and I love 80’s cheese , italo disco, edm, and George gershwin. i think its just different strokes for different folks.

    2. Well, you’re quite right in not liking it.
      80’s synth was inventive but the sound was crappy – we knew it even then; how I HATEd those gated verb snares!!! – because the tools almost didn’t exist (except in Trevor Horn’s studio, and he didn’t put it to good use most of the time). Front 242 did everything right, but just couldn’t get power into their production (until Funkahdafi – hey lots of things change don’t they 😉

      I liked it then cause that was all there was, today so much more is made (also of the crap of course).
      Same as my liking the first Iron Maiden albums just cause Death Metal didn’t exist yet.
      DM sadly gone to repeat-until-fade, Venetian Snares is here to comfort somewhat.

      The generational part is that you can still like what was the best at the time for what it was, even if it is later superseded.

  2. electronic music has not lost it’s raunchiness at all, it’s just harder to find. it’s much easier to have enough gear to make music now. people are getting their kicks with synthesizers in ways we can’t imagine, i’m sure…

  3. It might seem that “raunch” is over but I have a different idea. Any art today with overtly sexual or nasty imagery does often seem immediately underwhelming in this post-internet world. Our brains are imprinted with so many pornographic visuals that there is nothing shocking about some themes that 30 years ago would have been made relevant for content alone. As a healthy young adult I’ve only got to close my eyes and I can picture so many depraved and voyeuristic, fetishist, images I’ve found out there when the mood has struck me. I’m not unique though. We are all the same in that regard I would bet, whether we’ll admit it or even mention it up is another story but again I’d bet most of us would today.
    Still though, when we are confronted with any kind of “raunchy” themes in media, it can come up lame if not prepared to really ‘go there’ meaning really pushing beyond where we expect the social bounds are going to be found. Terry Richardson’s work drips with “raunch” and there is infinite beauty in that.
    It’s not that we’ve lost the “raunchy” but we’ve grown much more open to lifestyles of hedonism and I think as a society and as an audience in the last 30 years we’ve just pushed the edge of “raunchy” to a place where it wasn’t before. And that’s a good thing to me.

  4. That track was truly awful on almost every level. I for one am quite alright without a return to anything vaguely resembling this, ever.
    It wasn’t raunchy, it was uncomfortable, juvenile, and amateur.
    If this were lost in the depths of time, well, that’d be too good for it, there’d be a possibility of future generations or aliens discovering it.
    If you find that you have a copy, please destroy it.

    ..wow. I feel loads better now.. maybe that puddle of unaccomlished tosh does have a purpose after all..? Above comment retracted.. Sort of.

  5. When i spoke of raunch and humor i was alluding to lines such as ” You know what they say about small boys”( Sample…Done). I’m 24 so i didn’t live during this time obviously but have always been attracted to the sense of imaginative shock, satire that groups like this and the velvet underground implored ( not electronic obviously). I guess I just feel like maybe this type of Imaginative sexual riskiness has been traded in for what i see as more traditional sexual riskiness which just makes me think of fun but normal sex.

  6. I think there are “two kinds of synthesizer players”: those who like having new ways to make music as their main drive and those who are generally just seeking to party. With so many cheap n’ cheerful music toys to be had, you can beef up a party and appear musical with little or even NO actual “talent.” You know what’s wrong with that? Nothing. I think new music overall would be better if more people had heard things outside their chosen area of fan-hood, because some styles are just plain inbred. OTOH, I hear new things all the time that really impress me, such as Kimbra’s solo looper performance of “Settle Down.” Raunchiness or flashy costumes can be amusing, but if the music is fun or even superior, you’re already in the right zone.

  7. It’s not so much “raunch” as much as the punk background of many artists in that era. I think it resulted in a much more lackadaisical but spontaneous approach. Electronic music used to have rock and roll in it which provided a more universal appeal that is sorely missing today, as demonstrated by both the downturn in electronic music sales, and lack of originality and integrity of mainstream electronic music. It’s more geekstuff now and everyone’s taking it way too seriously.

    Soft Cell was more unique in their exploration of sexual and fetishist themes and I wouldn’t attribute it to anything universal in the 80’s.

  8. Wow… it kind of makes me sad that people take themselves so seriously that they can’t enjoy Soft Cell. Aphex Twin had some pretty juvenile track names, too.

    So… no. Raunchiness is here to stay, drug fueled or no. As long as it’s honest, every aspect of life has a place in music in general. I think it’s kind of a pointless question.

  9. Raunchiness isn’t necessarily something to be applauded! And it’s a dumb thing to propose, given that if you turn on most music videos in the last 15 years its largely naked people dancing and shaking in the hopes of getting you sexually interested enough to watch till the commercials roll. As musical skill dropped, so did the amount of clothing the entertainers wear.

    Not that I’m prude… it’s just ridiculous.

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