Have you ever been insulted by someone who doesn’t listen to? Maybe you’ve been made to feel that your taste in music is inferior by such a person. These people usually make statements like, “How can you listen to that? It’s just screaming and there’s no melody. It’s so loud and aggressive.”
Well, yeah! All of that is sort of the point, you asshole. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
The thing is, at least in my case, I usually inadvertently solicit such a response because I try to introduce metal to non-metal listeners. Is it my fault that I think what I listen to is awesome and should be heard by more people? In my defense, I usually only attempt such a feat when I think the song or band offers something extraordinary, when I think that there’s something there beyond just the metal.
Everyone is entitled to their own taste in music. And, understandably, heavy metal is an especially difficult genre to appreciate from the outside. However, most metal fans have an appreciation for other types of music and that shows in the multitude of heavy metal subgenres. Does this make us better patrons of the arts? Well, yes, but the point is why can’t others at least acknowledge the talent of heavy metal musicians instead insulting us and implying that it’s an inferior musical genre?
has long been the pariah of the music industry. Sam Dunn talked about this in his documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. As a result of its outcast status, metal has attracted society’s outcasts, the kids who don’t fit into any other social group. That’s a generalization, but to a large degree it’s true. For this demographic, heavy metal has become a surrogate companion, and we’re happy to be exiled to the island of misfit toys. But as you send us away, don’t insult us; try to understand us and our sanctuary.
So, if you’re a heavy metal fan and have ever been insulted by someone’s prejudgment, let us go to bat for you. Aside from citing the studies that say we’re smarter and women finding men who listen to metal more attractive, next time it happens to you, cite any one, or all, of these five reasons why we listen to heavy metal.
What’s listed here may not be entirely exclusive to heavy metal.
5. We Party Harder
4. We Drink More
3. We Mosh
2. Um, Lemmy Is God
1. The Chicks Are Hotter
Just kidding. As true as this might be, this isn’t the real list.
Here’s the real list.
No.5 It’s Loud and Aggressive
Indeed, those who criticize heavy metal for being loud and aggressive are absolutely correct. And we revel in those qualities. Why? There are many reasons why. For starters, loud and aggressive is energizing and motivating. Sometimes there’s no better way to get the day started, or to get through the day, than to put on something that’s fast and hard. For athletes or anyone pushing themselves physically it can pump them up, give them that extra push to go the extra mile. For others, it helps them focus their concentration on a mental task or to overcome obstacles in their life.
Basically, heavy metal helps us dig deep inside ourselves to strive to be better than the status quo.
No.4 It’s a Release
I want to avoid using the term “cathartic.” Contrary to what outsiders may think, it’s heavy metal’s aggressive and sometimes violent nature that helps us cope with stress, anger, and other issues. The lyrics, which often deal with sensitive and real subjects, speak to us as we relate to them. It’s all simpatico.
In this sense, heavy metal can be calming and soothing. That’s one of the big shockers for people who don’t understand it. Who says that music that calms your emotions has to be all sad, soft, and depressing?
At the same time, some genres of heavy metal can lift one’s spirit, pulling them right out of a depressing funk or moment of rage. For me, KISS does this. No matter how dark my place is, once I hear some I’m immediately transposed to a happier place. OK, so I might be bipolar.
All of what I’ve said in this entry is a release from one’s current state of mind in one form or another.
What are my top 3 reasons for listening to heavy metal? Find out after the jump…