Hard Rock Music Essay

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Elijah Kuska and Zachary Siefker

Misunderstood metal

              Heavy metal music is often subjugated for being a negative influence on adolescents due to the lyrical content and aesthetics of the genre.  For those unfamiliar with heavy metal it is easy to make this assumption because of the darker and often taboo themes present throughout the music.  With a little more analysis however, it can be discovered that those aspects thought to be negative actually bring forth positive results among metal listeners.  What is found in heavy metal music is actually a display of emotions and views that often have a purging effect which helps youth listening to metal cope with the constantly changing world around them.  Additionally, metal is used as a tool for expressing emotion in a nonviolent way, rather than through physical destruction sought by some adolescents.

               Adam Rafalovich and Andreas Schneider in their essay, “Metal Music as the Politics of Youth Culture,” from the American Sociological Association, analyze the political formations of heavy metal in youth through three key elements of the genre; psychological chaos, nihilism, and themes depicting anti-Christian sentiments.  Both authors are self-proclaimed “metalheads” allowing them to speak from a perspective that is, although somewhat biased, of experience and understanding.  In terms of psychological chaos, they explain how these themes in heavy metal help youth to identify with the music since the world around them is full of chaos.  This connection helps in forms of expression and relation that other music genres cannot provide (Rafalovich and Schneider 6-7, 10).  Nihilism present in heavy metal lyrics are said to be a challenge to the culturally constructed code of conduct.  As youth explore their beliefs they can challenge what is commonly accepted and look outside the common mind frame to form their own beliefs.  In addition, it is explained by Rafalovich and Schneider that nihilism and violent nature in heavy metal are used by listeners as a form of expression rather than action, such that feelings can be expressed through heavy metal music rather than in an otherwise violent nature (Rafalovich and Schneider 11-13).  Anti-Christian elements in heavy metal have a similar effect in that they push the boundaries of what is commonly accepted.  In the article, Rafalovich and Schneider contend that the anti-Christian elements are used more for “shock value” rather than actual identification of non-Christian views (Rafalovich and Schneider 14-15).  For example, the picture above shows a DIO album cover portraying satanic images to give the "shock value" to the album.  So through psychological chaos, nihilism, and anti-Christian sentiments, three otherwise negative aspects, Rafalovich and Schneider have shown how they are positive ways of forming and expressing beliefs in youth. According to Rafalovich and Schneider, “today’s metal scene, it can be argued, offers a vehicle to express the subjective condition of an insidious repression” (Rafalovich and Schneider 21).

               Metal is a lot like an experiment to the people who do not understand it or those who dislike it. They look at it as a disgrace and try to analyze it. They dissect it and run tests on it in order to get results to put it down. Unfortunately, this is where the next two journals become relevant. Kelly D. Schwartz and Gregory T. Fouts’ journal ““Music Preferences, Personality Style, and Developmental Issues of Adolescents” as well as Simon I Singer, Murray Levine, and Susyan Jou’s journal "Heavy Metal Music Preference, Delinquent Friends, Social Control, and Delinquency" are very biased journals that attempt to prove that medal promotes delinquency in adolescents. The first point that Schwartz and Fouts bring up is that the lyrical content of heavy metal forces the adolescents into juvenile delinquents and gives them psychological issues.

               To attempt to prove this the pair conducts and experiment. They recruited kids who listened to three types of music: heavy, light, and eclectic. The heavy category was their main target and it contained “heavy metal, hard rock, and rap”(Schwartz 206). They then interview these youths in an attempt to prove that the genres promote a type of behavior; they believe delinquency is the product of heavy metal. They first interject that the themes in heavy metal “are often driven by moral relativity, antiestablishment values, and hyper masculinity”(Schwartz 206). They believe that these topics force adolescents to “have more sympathetic views of suicide, homicide, and Satanism” as well as have more psychological issues and innumerable angers issues along with emotion dilemmas”(Schwartz 206). Even if this were true sympathetic views for these touchy subjects does not make them criminals. It makes them more able to cope with tough issues, which is a bonus not a psychological issue. Next, Schwartz and Fouts attempt to prove that the persuasive and “pervasive” lyrics push these kids toward social issues. They state that the lyrical content of heavy metal focuses on “hypersexual, showing less respect for women, exhibiting greater criminal… and being more risk-taking or sensation seeking”(Schwartz 206). Unfortunately, this is a common belief with those who do not understand metal. Like many, Scwartz and Fouts have a bias towards metal which leads them to interpret the “problematic” lyrics incorrectly. To further try and prove their point they use a standardized test.

               The MAPT is the Million Adolescent Personality Test which is what Fouts and Schwartz try and use to prove their argument that heavy metal promotes delinquent behaviors among adolescents. This test is highly valid, reliable, and widely used. It” was developed to quantify several personality characteristics and development issues salient during adolescence”(Schwartz 208). The test was given and the results were clear. They explain “adolescents preferring heavy music had 8 MAPT scale scores significantly higher than one or both of the other music preferences,” and on top of that “7 of these scores were greater than 60, indicating that they may be experiencing at least moderate difficulties in their development”(Schwartz 210). The scores that heavy metal youth scored higher on ranged from pessimism and over-sensitivity to doubt in their academic abilities and even higher levels of discomfort with their families(Schwartz 210). I will not doubt that all these could be true but what this argument is lacking is correlation. There is no correlation between heavy metal and these issues; let alone that they lead to crimes. They are missing the point. The only thing they prove is that the kids who enjoy heavy metal and its apparently “harmful” lyrics have more troubled lives. Sadly, Simon I. Singer, Murray Levine, and Susyan Jou, go about this topic much like Schwartz and Fouts.

               Singer, Levine, and Jou also attempt to prove that a heavy metal preference correlates to delinquent behaviors. Unfortunately, they do an even worse job at proving this point. Even worse, is that they are very biased towards metal and attempt to put it down throughout the whole article which greatly takes away from their already failed argument. Their main point is that heavy metal’s themes corrupt youthful listeners. Much like Schwartz and Fouts they say that metal “expresses a culture of power, violence, and fatalism”(Singer 317). They believe this is illustrated by the lyrical content of heavy metal songs such as Montley Crue’s song “Live Wire” and Judas Priest’s hit “Defenders of the Faith.” These songs apparently “call women whores,” and warns that “’rising from the darkness where Hell hath no mercy and the screams of vengeance echo on forever, only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of Metallian’”(Singer 317). Yet, again this is another poor misinterpretation by a group who have a prejudice toward metal and its fans. If one still believes that they have a valid argument then the horribly bias statements planted throughout the essay will turn one away. First they tear apart metal and say that it “can only be considered entertainment by particular segments of society”(Singer 318). On top of that they continually refer to youths who enjoy heavy metal as “’punkers’ and ‘heavy metalers’”(Singer 320). These arguments and biased statements provided by these two articles should be easily over looked because they are invalid. They do not prove anything, Rather, they are common misconceptions by prejudices people.



Essay on A Brief History of Hard Rock

1219 Words5 Pages

The music industry has many different genres, to suit a multitude of listeners; but, the most popular is rock. Rock has numerous genres within itself, including; heavy metal, hard rock, arena rock, and many more. The most popular genre would be either heavy metal or hard rock. They are both very similar in “taste” with the only differences being what the music is about and the pitch of the music. Heavy metal is typically about the “darker” things in life and it will have an overall deeper pitch to it. While, hard rock is considered “good-time music” and contains a multitude of different pitches.

Hard rock really began in the 1970’s; but, is rooted from the music of the mid-1960’s; such as, garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock.…show more content…

These bands along with the others that had risen from this time period are still around today and have millions of fans. The 1980’s had brought with them a new era of hard rock, the glam metal era. During this period many of the hard rock bands of before had broken up and only a few remained. The remaining bands changed their style of play even more, toward the heavy metal scene. This in turn allowed the creation of the punk metal genre and the development of the heavy metal scene. Within this new era several bands had changed their appearance along with their music. Kiss had removed their, famous, makeup and moved toward the pop/punk genre. Near the end of this era all of the surviving artists had either stayed with hard rock or jumped on the new, popular, heavy metal bandwagon. Within the 2000’s many of the band had come to end and were forced to separate because most people had fallen for the heavy metal genre and were no longer interested in just heard rock. To this day a few bands such as AC/DC and Foreigner are still holding sold out concerts and completely refuse to ever cease, even though the public would never let it happen.

On New Year’s Eve 1974, one of the greatest rock bands to have ever existed took the stage for the first time. This band is known as AC/DC. The band first debuted at Chequers, a nightclub in Sydney, Australia. AC/DC received their name from what was printed on the outlet of the

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