Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Music Blog #2 - Hair "Metal"

Normally I'm against labeling music.  Well, to a degree, at least.  I think that labels are necessary on a rudimentary level.  I love punk rock.  It has to have a name, otherwise I'd have to say "I love the music where the guys with the spikes go 'arghhh' with the bopping and booping."  And that would make me sound like Bill Cosby.  No good!

My problem is with the micro-managing of genres.  It is rampant in the age of the internet.  I started reading about some kind of music called "dream pop", which lead me to an article on Wikipedia about "shoegaze", which then lead me to "space rock".  If you let yourself get sucked in, you'll follow a never-ending rabbit hole of ridiculous names for music.  "Cybergrind", "powerviolence", "twee pop" and "donk" (otherwise known as "bouncy house").  These are all real genres and it seems to be super hip to come up with the most confusing variations.  If someone were to dangle me over the Grand Canyon and say "Explain the difference between 'thrashcore', 'crossover thrash' and 'bandana thrash' or you're dead" then I guess I'm going out Wile E. Coyote style.  "One's the thrashiest?  Noooooooooooooooooooo!"  *SPLAT*

Which leads me to the dumbest and most inaccurate genre label of them all: "Hair metal."  Warrant, Poison, Bon Jovi.  These bands are not heavy metal.  What's metal about poofy hair and blush?  Metal is supposed to be scary and it's supposed to be gross.  You're supposed to wonder if they're satanic, not if they're your baby sitter.  No sir, hair bands don't get to be called metal anymore.  From now on, they will be called "emo".  Think about it, it's really what they've been all along.  It's the exact same people, just 25 years removed.  They both wear make-up, have horrible hair and sing schmaltzy high-school grade lyrics. What's the difference?  One shopped at Claire's and one at Hot Topic.

1986 - Poison
Today - Davey Havok from AFI

I feel like there still might be some resistance to my "hair bands are not metal" statement.  So allow me to hammer home the point in pictures: 

This is a metal band:

Immortal - www.immortalofficial.com

This is your sister:

Unknown band

These people will eat your liver: 

Celtic Frost - www.celticfrost.com

This man will teach you Tae Bo: 

Unknown band

This is a human skull: 

Satyricon - www.satyricon.no

This is a fire extinguisher:

Unknown band

Here's the final say in whether or not a band is metal:  Would you take them to fight an orc?  Black Sabbath?  Yes.  Iron Maiden?  Yes.  Motorhead?  Lemmy actually is an orc, so absolutely.  Motley Crue would hide and feather their hair.  Cinderella would suffocate on their own spandex.  Stryper might convince the orc they're bees for a second and then he'd eat them.  So stop calling yourself "metal", hair bands.  Metal bands are Lord of the Rings.  You're Legally Blonde. 


  1. Emo = Mineral, SDRE, early Jimmy Eat World, Penfold, Cap'n Jazz, American Football, other good bands that occupied the fringes of the wussy (yet lovable) hardcore underground from 1994-2000.

    I wouldn't sully the good name of the 90's Emo era. I would just call it "aqua(net)-pop." And Davey Havoc looks like a 5 dollar tranny. He's also clearly had it with having to look like that to sell records. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

  2. Actually, Tyler, emo is Rites of Spring, Embrace, Dag Nasty, etc. It started in the mid-80's in DC. You're from DC, I thought you'd know that? All that stuff you mentioned is 2nd wave emo and it is great but is closer to indie rock than hardcore. Emo as we know it died in the mid-90's when the Get Up Kids put out a record. It's gone. People call Weezer emo and Atmosphere emo-rap now. Let it go. You'll never get it back.

  3. I know the term originated from a Maximum RnR (I think) critic who called Embrace "emotional hardcore" but when I think of the golden age of emo, I think of Chris Simpson strangling his guitar and wailing. Also, the DC bands rejected the label (I remember Ian M. called it "the stupidest fucking thing he'd ever heard") and the 90's bands embraced it (sort of).

    I've never once heard Atmosphere called "emo-rap" but I'll take your word for it. Does Slug even live in the TDC anymore?

    And would you still be friends with me if I told you I liked the Get Up Kids pre-2000?

  4. Yeah every decent band that was called emo hated it. So that's why I won't call them that anymore. I fought that fight for years saying that real emo is this or that. Its a lost cause. Screamo is a totally different thing too and that got co-opted. Let them have it. We can't win.

    I never see Slug around anymore but you never know! I think he lives here still.

    And I like Four Minute Mile and Something To Write Home About. They were a good band but Fallout Boy went on record and said if there was no get up kids thered be no fallout boy. Sigh.