I'm new here to Dieselpunks, but i have a serious question for everyone that is not very simple to ask. Not because its difficult to bring up, but difficult to word. its a mix of many ideas that spawn from a single strand of inspiration. Maybe the lot of you will feel the same way I do.
There is a musical artist by the name of Janelle Monáe who I feel is very fantastic in her presentation, fashion, imagination and obviously her music. She is a pop star who relishes in R&B, soul and funk which most if not all genres have nothing to do with Dieselpunk, Steampunk or even Cyberpunk. However. Her EP "Metropolois: The Chase Suite" and debut album "The Arch Android (Suites II and III)" are all inspired by the 1927 German silent film "Metropolis". She has a back story that is featured throughout both albums of an android named Android #57821 AKA Cindi Mayweather. It just gets even better from there as pulp fiction mystery meets sci fi time traveling all so Cindi and her beloved Anthony Greendown may love each other without fear as their arrangement is not the status quo, android and human. I strongly anyone who wants to listen to someone who clearly knows how to modernize period music to go and check her out.
That being said there are 2 things here that I am curious.
#1 would anyone consider Janelle Monáe Dieselpunk worthy with select songs like "Faster" though retro-pop is heavily Gospel influenced which plays heavily into early Jazz and R&B that had its big push in the 1920's, "Sir Greendown" with its of fashioned pop themes which screams 1950's and "BeBopBye Ya" with its big band cool jazz content with even rumba rhythms? As well as both "Suite II" and "Suite II Overture" having an aged showtunes choir singing with the orchestra. If you give at least these songs a listen and keep in mind that they are modernized for the sake of creativity I feel that you will understand where I'm coming from when I push for a positive remark about her music, though I am very anxious to hear all remarks.
#2 would you not consider the 1927 "Metropolis" a Cyber/Dieselpunk story/movie given its environment, technology, themes and storytelling techniques? Just like with Last Exile how it almost meshes both Dieselpunk and Steampunk together, but there are definitive aspects from both genres that can be pointed out from the use of muskets and 8" cannons to vanships that resemble Airflows and run on "Claudia". Last Exile even has a slight Cyberpunk feel when it comes to the Guild's technology, lifestyle and environment. All this being said can a gum shoe detective dance underneath a street lamp with an andoid woman in a high tech Art Deco city and drive away into the night in a flying Chrysler Imperial and still be considered Dieselpunk as well as Cyberpunk?
I personally would like to think that all three genres can meet on the same plane and be beautiful together without hurt ether's storytelling integrity or creative rule and boundaries. What do the lot of you think?
Very interesting. On the music of Janelle Monáe. I would include her in the same family as other musicians who's music itself isn't what one might call Dieselpunk but who's presentation is. Such as Madonna's "Express Yourself" video, for example. I addressed this style in my blog not very long ago. I think Janelle Monáe's EP would fit well in there.
On Metropolis. I think the consensus in the Dieselpunk community is that it's Dieselpunk and not Cyberpunk. In their landmark article in Issue 1 of the Gatehouse Gazette, “Discovering Dieselpunk," Nick Ottens & Mr. Piecraft certainly included it among Dieselpunk movies (though they included a few others that I would disagree on). Some might say it set the tone for some trends in Dieselpunk. In addition, I think the presence of robots doesn't make something cyberpunk. For example, robots, or automatons,were found in Victorian era science-fiction (Steam Man)
Steampunk today continues it's fascination with automatons. One example is the Steampunk band Steam Powered Giraffes. I don't think anyone would say that either were Cyberpunk.
I certainly enjoy Cyberpunk as well as Steampunk. And I think it's fair to say that sometimes the various genres can come together.
Thanks for such an interesting and thought provoking post.
Not knowing her music it's hard to place it, but the look of the art is very much Diesel Era inspired. Metropolis is the Grandfather of the Diesel Retrofuture aestetic.
A lot of popular musicians, including Lady Gaga and the recently lost Amy Winehouse, have evoked a very Diesel aestetic in a lot of their work. Yesterday is hot right now.
Face it, folks, we're officially trend setters. As a lifelong social outcast this is very strange for me.
I have the 4 songs i mentioned on my profile if you would like to listen to them. You can also go to jmonae.com, he official website, and listen to the whole album there.
I agree that the era based stories are coming back in a big, bad way. They always have and always seem to capture the imagination in such an interesting fashion. Before this was the Pirates of the Caribbean, What i find interesting and not intentionally a common theme, but that all era-punk stories are always based on the level of technology of the time period. That's what makes science fiction so great that you can expand an idea at any point in time in history, rewrite it and make it your own without fettering with the main ingredients. The only thing that will change is cyberpunk because it is based in the future. Everything else already happened so we have established rules to play by and generally know what to expect, but cyberpunk could change completely in 20 years if we achieve everything we've written about. Cyberpunk will just advance to the next level of technological innovation, like dieselpunk and steampunk strive to do.
Sorry, kinda got lost in the moment there. Long story short, the present it pretty boring because we live it every day, which i why fiction is the most popular form of media for the longest time to the present and most likely the future. History fiction, time travel fiction, all just rationalizations of PUNK tropes. Where we're going we need none of that. We make our own world.
I'm exceedingly happy to see depth and sophistication returning to mass market music. It'd happened very briefly in the early 90's until "Alternative" decided to out-pop the pop it was raging against. Hopefully this signals the start of a persistent trend, rather than another short window awaiting homoginization. For too long it's been either corporatized pseudo-goth/emo "music to open your wrists to", empty pop and skank-rap, or line dance country. The rise of Hannah Montana was starting to bode poorly, too.