Music Zen!

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The Good Ol’ Days

with 3 comments

My friend and I got into a big long discussion today about the evolution of music in specific genres, and how we came to be where we are at right now musically.

In a world where music spans into so many more medians than just listening to CDs and going to see concerts, it’s a wonder music still has remnant artists who part take in the industry to just make music and do what they love to do.  There is so much corruption in the hopes and dreams of those who become very involved in the business as bands and acts hope to one day have their own signature line of anything whether it be guitar, bass, amplifier, fragrance, clothes, and whatever else corporations can scheme to make you spend your hard earned money on their products being endorsed by whoever.  Today was one of those times where we took a step back and just wondered, what the hell is all this about?

My friend and I both stuck to our guns, which was metal for me, and rap for him.  It was really interesting to see the points brought up on both genres as to this transition from then to now.

Then: In both genres, it was made apparent to be an outward expression of inner feeling [as most music is] to this not-so-known world to the majority of America.  Though rap started in the inner cities and ghettos [so my friend states], metal in a primal state was about this industrial mentality which was unknown to many places, primarily being America.  But there you had it, we were talking about the two genres in their purest form in the beginning.  And though the subject matter was different, the basis for the genres remained the same: The IDEA is most important.

I’ll just stick to my guns for the article, but metal in the pioneer days was haunting occult references directed toward the outward world.  And people in the area of Britain and Northern Europe took the the ideas of metal, as they were built on industrial complexes as well!  When metal was solely a British entity, artists weren’t capitalizing on quick fame and loads of record sales to be heard.  It was still about the music and being able to voice the obscure opinion of those who didn’t see eye to eye in a way that was new.  And then we transition to now.

Now: It’s not just solely about the music.  It’s not about the ideas of the genre and the music that went with it.  It’s about a look that goes with a sound, and trend that fits with this band, and a corporate aura that would make the equivalent Holy Trinity of Metal [Ozzy, Black Sabbath, and Randy Rhodes IMO] all wonder what the hell happened just as we were today.  No doubt the transition occurred when metal was introduced to the United States in the form of bands like Iron Maiden, and then given some LA flare, but honestly, didn’t metalheads learn their lesson the first time in the 80’s when people thought it was no longer a good idea to drink until you die, put up the spandex, and get back to the music?

My friend and I laid it out on the table in quite the same fashion.  We then moved to the idea that history repeats itself, and charted the trends of popular music to our respective genres.  We both found that a lot of todays trends spawn from the days of hair metal.  In rap, he said that the largest common factor between hair metal and rap was the “15 minutes of fame artists”.  When stacked up beside one another Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and Lil Jon can be coupled into the same category of artists like Whitesnake and Skid Row.  He deducted that following the trend pattern, rap and hip hop would suffer a serious slap to the face, suffer a breakdown, and then be revived in a very positive fashion with up-and-coming artists within the next three or four years.

As for me and metal, the largest common factor between the two was the trends in general.  While they aren’t made of spandex, tight or form-fitting clothing has made a serious comeback.  Amongst the emotional ties to music today, teen angst is a large part of the past and present.  Again, the get-rich-quick artists are on the rise in metal, but more so in the way it was in hair metal where they would release a few albums, have their glory, shag their groupies, and then look back going “Why?”  Hell, even the MULLET is making/has made it’s comeback in recent years!

The primary difference that I was able to pull from the comparison of the future of rap and metal is that I don’t know if metal would be able to bounce back after a second trend hit like this.  It may be because these trends have been going on for quite some time in rap and the scene movement is still in it’s “infant” stages, but even then I don’t know if even the most loyal headbangers would be able to revive metal to a state of elite music known more for an in-your-face approach which draws a giant “HELL YEAH!” than a trend.

The future of music is shaping up to be a very unique one with a resurgence to the primary focus of music in the ideas presented.  It should be interesting to watch.


Written by Paul K

June 19, 2008 at 5:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Yeah man, it’s weird. Sort of like with the Katy Hudson thing. She tries — who knows, maybe legitimately — to write a Christian CD. Then she ends up appealing to the sentiment of squealing, needy bisexual wannabe teens by writing songs like Ur So Gay and I Kissed a Girl.

    In my opinion, there have always been mainstream gems. But even as far back as Elvis and the Beatles, it was all about looks and style management. Mainstream tunes have always been a little more… well, marketed. Because they’re mainstream. That doesn’t necessarily mean “bad,” it just means that sometimes it’s expecting too much for corporations to turn out art. Sometimes art just doesn’t sell. Sometimes what the people want sells. Sometimes the people pick what we like, sometimes they don’t.

    Metal has a history I haven’t followed closely. But rap and black artists have a history I find very… interesting. I’m really too tired to put together some coherent thoughts on it, but yeah… Rap’s history is very fascinating to me. I take it back, though, all the way through all black recordings in this country, because I think that rap comes out of specific cultural experiences that black people have been through throughout this country’s history.

    Marshall B

    June 19, 2008 at 6:27 am

  2. I like the comparison drawn between mainstream hip-hop and mainstream rock of the 80s. The lyrical content parallels itself too. People give hip-hop a hard time for degrading women, but those same people don’t have a problem with, say, W.A.S.P.

    I think it will be that way forever, just with different genres. America is obsessed with sex, so that’s what labels will tell their bands to rap/sing about. And the way the industry works, one artist with a “new” sound will become a little popular, so every label will get their own Vampire Weekend to make more money. The worst part about the music business is the fact that it is a competitive business that has to make money.

    I have a lot more to say but I have to go.

    Jacob Z

    June 19, 2008 at 12:11 pm

  3. No matter how people look at it, Metal will never be mainstream. Even to its finer points in the media, Most Metal bands still retained underground. So what if we have metalcore and a few trendy death metal bands in the mainstream. Its just a trend for them, while the real metal is always gonna be underground. I bet if you come up to some kid wearing a Job For A Cowboy or Cradle Of Filth shirt, and asked them about the LLN scene, then they will give you a clueless look.

    After hundreds of thrash bands that came out of the 80’s, only 4 of them are looked at. Out of hundreds of NWOBHM bands that came to US, only 4 are looked at.

    Nobody in the mainstream media will like Death Metal or Black Metal to its purest form of music. Its always gonna be mixed with something and make it sound poppish or more acceptable, hence forth JFAC.


    June 19, 2008 at 1:05 pm

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