Move to the Darkness

When I think of Goth dancing I usually remember the episode of South Park that describes the Goth culture. The Goths of this animated show describe the proper way to dance in Goth culture as starring at one’s own feet and shuffling left and right. They say extremely joyful dancing with flamboyant dancing is against the horrid darkness of reality. This idea about Goth and Goth dancing is held by most people. This might be true for certain sects of depressing Goth, but it is not the only characteristics of Goth. The stereotypes of Gothic dancing is similar to the stereotypes of their culture. The stereotypes are like a few drops of oil in a swimming pool. Most of the pool and most of Goths are not like the small dark, depressing oil that they comingle with. Nevertheless, the oil is the first thing people notice and occasionally averts them from swimming. The oil stereotypes is present, but Gothic dancing is extremely diverse.

Stereotypes are quite powerful in influencing our opinion on groups like the Goth culture. It seems to be a psychological commonality that humans will associate a specific subset of a group with the entire group. This can be seen in American’s current view on Islam, the Romans view of the northern tribes, or even the Third Reich’s view of undesirables. This persists in modern Goth culture. Many see those who are associated with Goth as masochistic, depressed, angry, and devil worshipping. This arises from a small set of satanic, suicidal individuals in other Emo or Cult cultures that resemble the Goths. This gives the negative, homogeneous idea about Goth dancing. It is seen as depressing as the stereotype of the culture. These are the views that are present, but the integrity of wood does not depend on the solidity of its bark.

Many Goth songs are very conducive to dancing, but not in the depressed way people might believe. Sisters of Mercy is a Goth band whose songs usually involve rhythmic lyrics at low tones. Most might associate this with static dancing, but the background guitar and keyboard inspire the body in a different way. The use of the keyboard provides an electric popping sound that drives ones hips to swing, his arms to flail and his feet to switch at a fast pace. The guitar in some Goth music like Bauhaus is even similar to the rock guitar. These rolling rifts will cause anyone to move around with every part of his or her body. These classic examples of Goth music are not for the static dancer in the corner of the room, but for the dynamic person right in the center of the dance floor.

Some Goth music is even designed as aggressive dance music. The new Dark Wave, Industrial or Cybergoth movements incorporate electronic music with Goth lyrics to create a new sound. Groups like Faith and the Muse and Switchblade still sing about the Goth topics of beauty in pain and the darker aspect of life. Nevertheless, the background music sounds like it belongs at an EDM concert. The same dish is being served, but on a different plate. The plate, however, is a cacophony of electric noises that add together to create driving rhythms. This is dance music in its essence. It leads people to jump around with flashing lights, not slit their wrists in a dark room.

The true nature of Goth dance reveals truths about the meaning of Goth. Goth dance music is beautiful and artistic despite the lyrics being about dark subjects. This is the very flesh and bones of Goth culture. What seems intimidating and scary is beautiful, and this duality is the essence of art. Furthermore, some Goth bands create music that inspires dancing. These bands preserve the Gothic dichotomy. Overall, Goth and its music are like black roses. Black roses may look dark and scary. Nevertheless, the scary part is just paint masking the poetically sublime beauty of a rose.

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Rap Metal: A Union of Genres

Occasionally two genres of music can be refined and fused to create a new sound that is entirely unique. Hard Rap is a fast paced genre with angry themes. Naturally, this form of music fits in perfectly with the attributes of Metal music. Therefore, the existence of Rap Metal would be a natural development as a Metal subgenre. Rap Metal fuses the most aggressive aspects of Rap with the essence of Heavy Metal (“Rap Metal”). This subgenre incorporates many aspects of Metal, especially the guitar with the vocals of Rap.  One of the most popular and influential Rap Metal bands is Rage Against the Machine, a band that does not conform to the commonly childish themes of this genre. This complex genre incorporates various influences, demonstrates specific themes and is characterized by bands like Rage Against the Machine.

The main characteristic that delineates Rap Metal from Rap is the use of the rock guitar (“Rap Metal”). The guitar is the quintessential instrument for Rock and Metal genres. Nevertheless, the guitar is rarely used in Rap. Rap commonly utilizes synthesized beats and rhythms. In 1987, Anthrax’s “I’m the Man” truly combined hard guitar with Rap (“Rap Metal”).  Rap Metal uses the guitars and drums to create the beat to rap to. The Metal aspect comes from the hard, fast riffs that are played. Bands like Linkin Park incorporate the guitar into their rap verses and also have choruses that are more synonymous with Metal music (Linkin Park). They even occasionally use guitar or drum solos to accentuate the Metal aspects of their genre (Linkin Park).  The instruments used in Rap Metal distinguish it as a subgenre of Metal.

The vocals of Rap Music reflect the Rap influence on the genre. The lyrical themes conveyed in both Rap and Rap Metal are usually concerning urban toughness. In addition, the lyrics are not sung but said in rhythm in both types. Some Rap Metal bands will actually yell the Rap lyrics as to incorporate the angry motives of Metal music (“Rap Metal”). The rhythmic monotone verses of Rap Metal are contrary to most other forms of Metal. Metal is usually grand and melodic, even demonstrating aspect of opera occasionally. Nevertheless, Rap Metal isolates the melodies of Metal to just the choruses of songs.

Rage Against the Machine is one of the most influential Rap Metal groups in existence. The instrumentals usually consist of a guitar, drums, and a bass guitar. The songs they play utilize very rhythmic, strong guitar riffs. This can be best heard in the song “Bulls on Parade” which repeats a whining guitar sequence throughout the whole song. Despite being repetitive, the guitar in this song is still overpowering and aggressive. The lead singer of Rage Against the Machine is the purest example of Rap Metal. He forces his rap lyrics in a raspy voice, and he yells the choruses with great intensity (Rage Against the Machine). In addition, most of the songs they perform have political themes(“Rap Metal”). Overall, the intense lyrics and driving instrumentals of Rage Against the Machine make it a perfect example of a Rap Metal band.

Rap Metal combines the most aggressive qualities of both Rap and Metal. The rolling sound of Metal fits in as a perfect background for hard, rhythmic Rap. The use of the guitar mainly makes this music Metal. Meanwhile, the way the lyrics are sung is synonymous with Rap. No other band uses this form of music to convey political themes better than Rage Against the Machine. Their rough sound perfectly shows the anger they feel toward political entities they disagree with. Rap Metal is a unique subgenre that is a result of the artistic union of two hate fueled genres.

Works Cited

Linkin Park. Hybrid Theory (Bonus Track). Warner Bros 2000. CD.

Rage Against the Machine. Evil Empire. Epic 1996. CD.

“Rap Metal”. All Music. All Media Network, LLC. 2014. September 24, 2014. Web. http://

www. Allmusic .com /style/rap-metal-ma0000002817/artists

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The Dualism of Metal

My perception of the genre of music named metal is similar to the scope of this type of music, expansive. As an adolescent this music was introduced to me through various sources. The sources themselves influenced my perception of the heavy songs that filled my mind. The sources that included my friends led to a slightly skeptical interpretation of the music. Conversely, influences from my family and my activities allowed me to develop a positive view of this violent music. Nevertheless, I perceived metal music through my inherent idea that music is a medium by which emotion is conveyed.

Many of my friends during my middle school years listened to modern heavy metal music. Therefore, I was introduced to bands like Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold. I originally abhorred this music as it was a divergence from the classic rock I preferred. The friends who introduced this music to me were very angry individuals. Either peer pressure, my own volition or some combination of the two led me to begin to appreciate some of this music. I saw it as an emotional stimulant. When I wanted to relieve stress through bursts of anger, metal was an efficient outlet. I did not appreciate the noises that were angering me as musical pieces. This perception of modern metal would persist throughout my teen years. I still use modern metal as music to anger me during work outs, before athletic events, and during stressful periods of my life. I use metal as a tool for emotional inspiration due to my friends’ dispositions and preferences.

I was also introduced to classic metal music by my father and brother.  I began to listen to the band Black Sabbath at the recommendation of my family members. This classic metal was more compatible with my classic rock partiality. I certainly appreciate the musical value of this form of the genre. Although I may not agree with the satanic counterculture promoted by this subgenre, I enjoy the consistent bass rhythms and the intensity of the guitar melodies that are the cornerstone of this music. I believe the theme is irrelevant in defining the quality of music. This view could have developed from the respect I hold for the recommending individuals. As a teenager I lionized the musical view of my father and brother due to my status as a musical neophyte. Ultimately, I appreciate the musical talent of the classical subgenre of metal.

There is an obvious dichotomy in my perception of metal music. The modern versions of metal seem to me to be attempts at emotional inspiration. Meanwhile, I enjoy the art of classical metal and hard rock. I do not associate both subgenres of metal music as the same music. I have developed a dualistic view of music. One type of music is focused on the artistic value of the noises produced. The second type of music is mostly noises that intend to inspire specific emotions. I place most modern metal in the second category and most classic metal in the first category. Nevertheless, I listen to both types but for different reasons.

Metal is a diverse genre that requires a unique analysis. My original perception of this genre was molded by the people who introduced it to me. Additionally, my ideology concerning the dualism of music influenced my opinion of metal. Songs are either written to inspire or entertain. Therefore, I categorize metal into two distinct groups. Despite my categorization of this music, I do not discriminate between either of the forms. I use heavier modern metal as a source of motivation, while I listen to classic, lyrical metal for the artistic value.

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The Concavity of Music

Music is a concave mirror perched in front of society. It reflects back the societal aspects with which it is presented. Yet it has a specific focus that leads to occasional visual and conceptual distortion. Additionally, this musical mirror allows the observer to determine the moral aspects of a society by observing its reflection. Nevertheless, the obvious distortion of opinion must be acknowledged and interpreted when observing the way music portrays society. Ultimately, this mirror can reveal great truths about a society and influence the society’s opinion of its own actions. Furthermore, talking of music’s impact on a large unit like society is depersonalizing. Individual experiences of musical events best demonstrate music’s true influence on individuals in a society.

Music and music videos direct a large portion of their viewpoints toward gender. Gender stereotypes are a common tool utilized by the music industry to sexualize content and attract audiences. My personal introduction to this dynamic between music and gender occurred when I was approximately twelve. I watched music videos like “Dance, Dance” by Fall Out Boy that depicted the erotic male-female relationship. These videos focused on women as luring sirens whose mere movements act as an aphrodisiac. Women were portrayed as objects for men to obtain and use. Although I would later contest this view, at the time objectification of women as a normative given was what I learned from these videos.

The perpetuation of the sexist centerpieces of music videos deeply harms society due to the nature of music. Music mirrors our society and is a portal by which we may experience other’s feelings. Therefore, emulation of musicians is a natural conclusion. I succumbed to these stimuli present in the music videos I watched. My adolescence was plagued with talking down to women. Also, my actions were compounded by psyche. I thought little about the accomplishments of the women in my life. I emulated men for their identity as hard working individuals who could dominate women.  My basic issue during this time period was my inability to admire the accomplishments of intelligent women around me. This resulted from many factors. One of these factors was indeed my exposure to sexist portrayals in music videos.

Retrospectively, I have reassessed my view of these videos and my opinion on gender roles in music videos. Furthermore, I realize why I accepted the ideology of objectification of humans due to my understanding of the underlying motives of such videos. “Dance, Dance” and other music videos depict the female character as the siren who draws in the male character. Also, the male character feels a sense of accomplishment after “obtaining” the women he sought. These roles both reflect society’s misguided assumptions of human relations and project these beliefs onto their viewers. For this reason I was convinced that objectification was an acceptable norm. Nevertheless, I now see past these illusions.

The dynamic of a concave mirror is that any individual looking into it will see a different distortion of the image at different points. I viewed the expression of gender in music through two distinct vantage points. First was my early experiences with music videos where I saw their sexual expression of females as an accurate depiction of societal norms.  Second was when I became aware of the distortion and saw the upright image at the focal point of the mirror. I realized that women are key contributors to society and not just objects. Music is an art that depicts and influences society while incorporating comments about gender and other topics. Nevertheless, the way we interpret music is essential toward the message we receive from it.

 

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