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Sadcore is a subgenre occasionally identified by music journalists to describe examples of alternative rock characterised by bleak lyrics, downbeat melodies and slower tempos, or alternatively, songs with deceivingly upbeat melodies that are simultaneously characterised by depressive lyrical undertones or imagery. It is a loose definition and does not describe a specific movement or scene. It is categorised by AllMusic's reference guide as music "by and for the depressed".[1] Sadcore is synonymous with the term slowcore, and both share the distinction of often being dismissed as a label by the bands they would describe.

LA Weekly called Charlyn Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) the "Queen of Sadcore".[2] In 2006, The News Record used the term to refer to Arab Strap, describing their sound as "a lot like the band's native Scotland: dark, cold, rainy and depressing" as well as "aggressive and somber."[3] Coming from the hardcore punk scene, solo artist Harm Wülf put out his album "Hijrah" August 26, 2016 on Deathwish Inc and has been referenced as being within the genre.[4]

The term is still current in pop culture. Lana Del Rey's musical style has been described as "Hollywood sadcore".[7][8] In regard to her song, "Blue Jeans", MTV journalist Nicole James noted the neologism is a "music buzz word" floating around the music blogosphere.[6]


  1. ^ AllMusic definition
  2. ^ Payne, John (February 13, 2003). "The Queen of Sadcore". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Scottish duo release sadcore album - Arts & Entertainment". Archived from the original on 2008-09-13.
  4. ^ "INTERVIEW: Folk/Dark Rock Band Harm Wülf - TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY". 4 August 2016.
  5. ^ Copsey, Robert (November 23, 2011). "Lana Del Rey: 'People didn't take me seriously with a high voice'". Digital Spy. Hearts Magazines. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ a b James, Nicole (12 September 2011). "New Video: Lana Del Rey, 'Blue Jeans'". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ James, Nicole. "New Video: Lana Del Rey, 'Blue Jeans'". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ "Lana Del Rey - Biography". MTV. Viacom. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 2012.

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