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Author Topic: Two questions about music bands  (Read 562 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Two questions about music bands
« on: August 05, 2014, 04:54:15 PM »
There are two band-related issues I keep wondering about lately... As one of them is a bit political, I decided to post it here.

Question 1:

Is it me, or some modern rock / metal bands seem to be bands strictly for teens? Let's take Linkin Park - here's one of their songs:



I may be wrong, but this sounds like a song addressed strictly to teens. And, overall, a lot about Linkin Park screams "teen music" for me. Am I wrong? And, if I'm right, then how widespread it is? Is, for example, Evanenscence a a teen band? Is - gasp! - Metallica?

Question 2:

There are some rock / metal bands that are quite political in their message. For example, Rage Against The Machine has been, I think, openly leftist:





System Of A Down seems to be similarly anti-establishment:



I'd like to ask: do you think that these bands have a point or not?

And, out of curiosity, if there are such leftist bands, then are there any rock bands that would be - let's say - on the conservative side of the political spectrum?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 05:16:49 PM »
Rock and roll/heavy metal has always attracted the rebels of society more than the conformists.  Elvis's hip wiggle was banned from the Ed Sullivan show, for example.  There were a few bands that touted themselves as 'Christian metal' (I remember one called Stryper), but I'm not sure if any of them or their like are still around - they tended to draw fire from both the 'rebellious youth' for being too godly, and from the religious right as being too worldly.  Hard to win in that situation.

Offline Lilias

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 06:26:49 PM »
There have been (and still are) plenty of Christian metal bands. Most have enjoyed long cult following, though relatively few have broken into the mainstream.

Rock and metal music deal heavily (quite naturally) in rebellion and criticism of the establishment. The conservative wing of society, and its respective political life, has long been on rockers' shit list. After Tipper Gore, who was responsible for the introduction of 'Parental Advisory' stickers... yeah, reconciliation wasn't going to happen.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 06:39:35 PM »
Thanks for the list... I looked at it. I admit that the only name I recognize is P.O.D., which even made it to MTV in early 2000s...

BTW. Weren't U2 a bit on the Christian side in their early years? And I could've sworn that one song by The Cranberries was an anti-abortion protest song...

Anyway...

What do you think of these rebellous bands? What's your opinion on their message? I honestly don't know what to make of them...

Offline Lilias

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 06:47:23 PM »
You don't really have to make anything of them. If you like their work, listen to it. If the lyrics upset you, don't. You don't have to support the views they express to appreciate the whole package. The members of System of a Down are all of Armenian descent, so the history of their people, including the genocide of 1915, is an important part of what they want to talk about. I bet that a lot of Westerners wouldn't have known about that bit of history without listening to SoaD's lyrics. They're not expected to go join rallies on the upcoming centenary, but they have lost some ignorance and gained some perspective.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2014, 06:51:54 PM »
Rage Against the Machine and related acts are firmly on the left politically. It's probably more common for bands to exist on that side of politics, if they are political in any way ( and a lot of bands are, even if it's not at their cores ). I know of a few that would fit better on the right, though. In particular, Sons of Liberty, which is the side project of Iced Earth's ( itself a band with a heavy emphasis on American patriotism, if nothing else ) lead guitarist Jon Schaffer.

There's almost certainly others, too.

As for appealing to teens? Well, it probably does. I mean, I was once a teenager who listened exclusively to European power metal, so I'm not going to deny that. While there are bands - probably including some of the ones you mentioned - that do appeal mainly to a teen audience, I think the reason it might seem like a lot of them do that is because they tend to be more noticeable. That is, they're the bands you're going to be aware of if you're not going looking for the music.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2014, 07:28:13 PM »
There have been (and still are) plenty of Christian metal bands. Most have enjoyed long cult following, though relatively few have broken into the mainstream.

Rock and metal music deal heavily (quite naturally) in rebellion and criticism of the establishment. The conservative wing of society, and its respective political life, has long been on rockers' shit list. After Tipper Gore, who was responsible for the introduction of 'Parental Advisory' stickers... yeah, reconciliation wasn't going to happen.

That Congressional hearing had some really funny sound-bites.  Dee Snider pointing out that the stunts in his video came from Wile E Coyote cartoons, for one.

Offline consortium11

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2014, 09:34:40 PM »
As well as the previously mentioned Christian metal bands (which doesn't necessarily make them right wing but does tend to lead to more conservative political positions), there's the nazi skinhead/bonehead and nazi punk scenes both of which tend to wear their politics pretty openly. One can also find a number of death/black metal bands with distinctly right wing (and frequently nazi) based views.

More in the mainstream and less of the nutjob variety (although not necessarily by much) a number of classic Rock bands/singers, especially from the South of the US would be seen as right-wing politically, even if it doesn't always translate into their music; Kid Rock and Ted Nugent are the obvious two but you could also point to Lynard Skynard for example.

On the "why are all the songs about teens" thing, a cynical man would say that bands know their target audience and know what sells. As a general rule the target audience for nu-metal, pop-punk and pop-emo is basically teenagers so songs related to the issues they face tend to hit the right demographics... however strange it is for them to be sung by people frequently in their 30's.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2014, 10:09:45 PM »
you could also point to Lynard Skynard for example.

Case in point:

'Well I heard Mr. Young sing about her (Southern Man...)
Well I heard ol' Neil put 'er down.
Well I hope Neil Young will remember:
A southern man don' need him around anyhow.'

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 12:04:00 AM »
Hard rock and metal bands, from Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy to '80s thrash metal and glam metal bands (Metallica, Slayer, Guns'n'Roses) right into the present have always had an appeal to teenage kids and youngsters, that's for sure, and the vibe of danger and excess (driving too fast, lots of women, sexual imagery, Satanism and occult flirtations and so on) have been part of it. Most people who love this kind of music likely picked up on it before they turned twenty-five or even eighteen. But it's not something that wears off, that's got no attraction for older and kind of serious musicians or which has only a rearview mirror appeal. There's fairly many people in thůse bands - musicians and songwriters - who will do complex and sophisticated, even groundbreaking work. Deep Purple, Mastodon and Metallica were/are outstanding musicians and they have earned the respect and interest of classically trained musicians and listeners too; of course Jon Lord was classically trained himself and there was a kind of buried influence from Bach and baroque music on Purple's peak seventies albums, not just the organ playing but in the structure of the music. I think if there wasn't more to their music than teeny rebellion those bands would not have been able to keep going with real energy and renewal past their members turning forty. With acts like Guns'n'Roses, Van Halen and INXS it was more of a "strictly for the young hotheads" thing I guess - the spirit of young upheaval, sex and drugs and rock'n'roll,  was always at the heart of the show. Iron Maiden are sort of midway, it's first off a teenager appeal band but the members have clearly grown-up preoccupations, they are thinking men alright, and I think that's part of the reason they didn't crash into a ditch long ago. And you know, hard rock/metal fans are some of the most solid and die-hard in all of rock music, as unwavering as old Arsenal fans.

Pink Floyd and The Smiths are two others (though not hard rock bands, mind you!) that come to mind as having been appreciated by people in classical music too, acknowledged for their musical qualities and the improvisational, composing and playing skills of their members. I'm sure Floyd has even been a musical influence on some classical composers and players; their innovative approach to sound, sonorities, songwriting and rhythm will land them in the history books of late 20th century music some day.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 12:10:50 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 04:24:01 AM »
Is it me, or some modern rock / metal bands seem to be bands strictly for teens?

Getting old sucks.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 05:19:12 AM »
Rockers always enjoyed mythologizing and exulting their own lifestyle, their heroes and their aspirations, but this Deep Purple song is really interesting: it takes a hard look at the whole arc of a band (or a singer) rising up to the peak and then falling or fading away - and really takes in the part of failure, getting bypassed and buried by the next big act. Most local bands donít make it big, even fewer make an impression all over the world, but few hard rock anthems admit that, few lyrics talk about the lack of attention or the quick burnout one could get into. Ian Gillan was just around twenty-five when he wrote this and a fast rising star; no one close to him would have thought he and Purple would still be around forty years later, performing and doing fresh new albums.

The track is a bit like Bowieís Ziggy album (recorded around the same time) in the way it admits that failure or quick turnover can be right around the corner even when the star is at the peak Ė and at the same time, it makes this defeat and danger (or death and oblivion) close by into part of the mythic thing. Brilliant song, the lyrics and the playing are just flawless (and some of the lyrics really funny).



Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 01:06:11 PM »
Okay, so... am I weird that I still listen to Linkin Park or Evanescence occasionally? Is it a music for teens I should leave alone?

As for the political bands, I'd really like to hear what you specifically think of their message? Are they right or wrong?

Offline consortium11

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2014, 01:40:49 PM »
Okay, so... am I weird that I still listen to Linkin Park or Evanescence occasionally? Is it a music for teens I should leave alone?

Anyone can listen to anything. The fact that Linkin Park and Evanescence were both marketed at and play music that is stereotypically for teens doesn't change the fact that people from other age ranges can listen and like it in the same way that there's nothing weird about a teenager listening to and liking Wagner (the composer, not this guy... although each to his own...)

I go back and listen to the "classics" (although I use that term very loosely) for both Linkin Park and Evanescence, although that's less about the music in and of itself and more about the way music can inspire nostalgia; I remember when, where and who I was when those songs came out and they give me pleasant memories. It's the same reason I quite like listening to the otherwise awful "Call Me Maybe"... not because I particularly like the song for its own qualities, but because it reminds me of an excellent summer I had.

As for the political bands, I'd really like to hear what you specifically think of their message? Are they right or wrong?

Well, it rather depends on the band, the message and who's listening. I'd hope that we all agree that the Nazi/far right political bands are wrong in their messages but for the less outwardly controversial ones? Someone on the right wing isn't likely to agree with Rage Against the Machine while someone on the left probably won't think much of Toby Kieth's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)" (outside of generally being ironic about it).

I will note one thing about pretty much all political bands and songs though. Politics is a complex thing and whatever demagogues like to say there's rarely a simple answer. Any political message which has to be delivered through a three minute song (where the intention isn't just to make a political point but also deliver a good song) and 30 second chats inbetween songs during a gig is unlikely to have much depth or nuance to it or really explore the issues.

Offline Lilias

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 01:41:34 PM »
Okay, so... am I weird that I still listen to Linkin Park or Evanescence occasionally? Is it a music for teens I should leave alone?

Why do you need other people's approval of what you listen to? You like what you like.

As for the political bands, I'd really like to hear what you specifically think of their message? Are they right or wrong?

If you agree with the message, they're right. If you disagree, they're wrong. :P

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2014, 02:17:11 PM »
Most songwriters and singers in popular music really don't like to talk about the content of their lyrics on any level beyond what is quite open. Paul Simon, Bono, Prince, Mick Jagger, the members of the Beatles and Pink Floyd back in the day, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin are/were obviously not keen on discussing their lyrics, the imagery or any hidden implications. The main reason is they don't want to get flooded by letters, phone calls and interview questions where people are pushing for answers on "why are you singing it like that? why did you write it like that?".

Bob Dylan was exposed to the full weight of that kind of questioning in the mid-sixties when he broke out of folksy protest singing into electrified rock music with more personal, freely built and privately grounded lyrics, he refused answers and has spent most of a lifetime trying to outwit and continually reinterpret the legend, the music, the memories that fans have kept up of his sixties persona. I think all of rock and pop music has been very affected by that episode, by how Dylan was held accountable for his lyrics and (without wishing it) got millions of people looking through everything to do with him searching for clues to "what he really means" - some people were literally looking through his garbage bins for those clues.  :D (Paul Simon jokingly claimed in an interview in the late sixties that he had riffled through Dylan's trash bins, but it was some other guys...). Anyway, no one wants to have to answer questions on their lyrics by people who can't see that they are not meant to be perfect or divine statements or aimed at just the person asking, or that they were written twenty years ago, and then have those answers and the fan/journalist exegesis tossed out into the media - so most well-known songwriters and artists just avoid the topic, as soon as the "big issue" isn't hot anymore.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2014, 03:12:22 PM »
And now I am ashamed to admit that I don't think that I know a single song by Bob Dylan... aside from All Around The Watchtower, because it was on Battlestar Galactica...

Anyway...

Why do you need other people's approval of what you listen to? You like what you like.

I don't know. Is it really normal to be thirty-something and listen to teen music?

Quote
If you agree with the message, they're right. If you disagree, they're wrong. :P

Ah, but the thing is, I don't know if I agree with the message! Back when I was in early twenties, I was quite naive, so the image of a band blocking the Wall Street seemed fun and the right thing to do. These days, I mostly think why were these guys trying to make it unable to other people to do their jobs... But, maybe, that's because I grew old and I sold out?

Similarly, the "working for a modern business is slavery" message I get from the No Shelter video was appealing to me back in the day. Now, I tend to think that business is good... but, again, maybe I'm just ignorant?

That's why I'm asking. I'm curious what other people think...

Offline Mosaic

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2014, 01:04:12 PM »
The lack of anti-establishment sentiment in popular music today is, for me, quite depressing. I don't think Rage Against the Machine would have anywhere near the impact they did back then if they appeared on the scene today.

Sure, a great deal of commercial rock pays lip service to abstract notions of rebellion, but it is very largely apolitical, and basically never radical. System of a Down are a great band, with some great messages, but they largely snuck them in through the back door. I bet many huge SOAD fans totally overlook the politics of the band.

None of this is particularly surprising since an increasingly small group of incredibly rich corporations plays an ever-larger role in what gets popular, even controlling countless ostensibly 'indie' labels.

I'm not trying to take anything away from music that isn't political, or even commercial rock created to be marketed at teenagers, but it is a shame how things have changed. The UK adored "I Predict a Riot" by The Kaiser Chiefs, and yet the majority leap to defend abusive and racist policing in London, and are totally stunned when a riot kicks off. And this in a country that has in the last 30 years seen a huge increase in overall wealth, while real wages dwindle and rent is completely unaffordable.

This is not the fault of musicians. The apolitical music is a symptom of the depoliticisation of young people generally, which is another topic altogether.

I'm reminded of the beastie boys' Fight For Your Rights (To Party). It was a huge hit because people didn't realise it was being ironic. I'm pretty sure it's lamenting the fact that the youth are becoming increasingly apolitical, their rebellious instincts being diverted to selfish and individualistic aims. Or, if the video is anything to go buy, simply being a massive ('cool') arsehole.



All that said, there's still a ton of really awesome politically conscious and radical music being made. You just have to really want to seek it out, but with no exposure that's not a clear option for many people.

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2014, 12:37:49 AM »
Beorning, I'm 45 and I love Linkin Park and Evanescense (and Amy Lee, rawr).  I'm lucky enough to have been brought up by parents who listened to anything and everything musical, from classical to 30s jazz to Elvis to Johnny Cash to acid rock to stuff that was modern in my teens in the 80s.  I love modern music like Kerli, Skrillex, and Imagine Dragons.

Besides, I always say that...of you've never heard the music before, regardless of its age--it is new to you.

Offline Sheoldred

Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2014, 01:19:36 AM »
I love old LP.

Yes, the lyrics are something you'd expect a teenager to associate with. But it's the energy and the emotion that was put into those songs that make them have such a strong impact even today.

I think the problem with LP is that back in the day they had to get all those inner frustrations out of their system, so you could truly feel that strong emotion in their music. But as they became famous, their old problems were no longer relevant, and they no longer had that emotional base to give their music that same edge, that energy. So their music just turned mellow and less memorable overall, imho. Well, that's my little theory in any case. I'm all for change but they certainly didn't change for the better.

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Re: Two questions about music bands
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2014, 07:37:17 PM »
You know I actually like some of the pro establishment songs, so long as they aren't too drone ish you know?

Like I am the Law (even though the song is rather old) which feels a lot like a pro-police song, as opposed to a lot of other songs which talk on and on about shooting police officers. It honestly feels good to hear a song supporting the police  ;D  (especially since my own father is one, though I guess that makes me kind of biased.)

« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 07:38:33 PM by Lustful Bride »