Does Metal Have a Bad Reputation?
The funny thing about music is that there are often stereotypes created or perpetuated by people who follow certain musical genres.
I supposed this is not all that unavoidable. I mean when you tell people that you listen to classical music, what’s the first thing that would pop us in their mind? Well, people might think that you are very refined and educated. You probably make decent money. You may be a pillar of society or somewhat stable person. That is the positive side.
Now, the negative side is that they might think you are so conservative like you are a stick in the mud like you are a joykill. They might also think that you go out of your way to impose your opinion on others. In other words, they might think that you are an asshole.
Musical stereotypes are always a two-edged sword. The same applies to reggae. A lot of people think that if you listen to Reggae, you are very easy to get along with. You are open-minded, you tend to be on the liberal side and tend to be mellow. Sounds good so far right? Well, the negative connotation is that you smoke a lot of pot and you’re not all that sharp. In fact, a lot of people think that you’re not the sharpest stool in a shed. And people might think that you’re just one toke of a marijuana pipe from being a full-blown drug addict.
Not exactly an awesome reputation, right? Well, guess what! This seemingly nuanced or two-sided reputation system for many different musical genres completely go out the window or up in smoke, depending on what analogy you prefer, when it comes to heavy metal.
Believe it or not, like it or not, and accept it or not, heavy metal has almost a totally bad reputation. Seriously, either you’re a Satan worshipper, you’re not all that bright, or you do all sorts of drugs and unemployable. That’s it. It’s very rare that you come up to somebody who says that they have a very favorable view of somebody who loves heavy metal.
I am not talking about people who dabble in metal music from time to time like, like President Medvedev of Russia. He’s kind of an outlier. We’re talking about people who are basically dismissed by the rest of society as complete, total, and perennial losers.
It really is too bad because if you look at heavy metal and compare it with other genres, it actually compares favorably when it comes to musicianship. People who love heavy metal do not tolerate crappy musicianship. This is not the case with punk. With punk, you can barely put together two chords and you are a guitar hero because, with punk, the focus is on intensity and sincerity.
With heavy metal, the focus is on virtuosity. You better crank out some very innovative and heavy music done right to impress a heavy metal fan. And this emphasis on standards is kind of lost in translation. A lot of people think that those who love heavy metal do not have any standards and live really worthless lives.
This really is too bad because if you look at the lives of big metal bands, by and large, they actually live pretty normal, suburban, upper middle-class lives. You have to look no further than the life of Ozzy Osbourne. Download or check out some old episodes of The Osbournes, the MTV series on YouTube to see what I am talking about. It’s completely normal, upper middle-class lifestyle.
The life in a mansion and the kids went to school. It’s pretty normal except that they use the F word every other sentence. Discounting those flavored nuggets, they are completely a normal family. Infact, there was a lot of discussion about business, business strategies, marketing, and believe it or not, musicianship.
So this reputation for metal really comes down to just plain bias. It really is. It really is a negative stereotype for people who love this kind of music. And if you look at the breakdown in terms of income, educational attainment, and occupations, they’re actually the same as other genres. So it really all boils down to bias and arrogant ignorance.