Anti-hair metal, revisionist rock historians would have you believe that hair metal was dying out by 1987. This is a lie. Poison would not even release "Every Rose Has its Thorn" until 1988 and Slaughter would not debut until 1990. Warrant's and Tesla's biggest hits were not until 1991, and Def Leppard spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart in 1992. Nevertheless, when grunge got big, it did a lot of damage to the glam metal scene. Kurt Cobain struck the fatal blow to hair metal, and, worse, he was proud of it. He felt that by replacing the happy, uplifting sounds of pop metal with his depressing dirges, he was taking music forward. He thought that going from an era where virtuoso guitarists were glorified to an era where it was uncool to be an accomplished musician was progress. He thought that taking away music based on melody and replacing it with angry yelling was an improvement. Cobain would have thought that an Egg MacMuffin was an improvement on smoked salmon, basically.
Unfortunately, there were areas in which Kurt was definitely right. He said he didn't like the sexism and macho posturing (not that Kurt would be capable of using such a big word as "posturing", but if he could have, he would) in hair metal, and he had a point. Most 80s rock bands wrote lyrics that were frankly degrading. And I don't think anyone is going to say they miss the enormous hair and tight clothes. But still, it's depressing that such great music was rejected and replaced by such disgusting music.
This is not, however, an anti-grunge page. Grunge is dead, and we metal fans can revel in that fact. After all, hair metal fans can say, "I miss when the music was loud, the songs were catchy, people were happy, and the musicianship was phenomenal." What are grungies supposed to say? "I miss when the musicianship was crap, everybody was depressed, nobody had any fun, and the songs had no melody whatsoever." Hmmm… Anyway, grunge is dead. The Kiss reunion tour spat on its grave. Then came comebacks from Def Leppard, Motley Crue, and Poison, all doing far better than critics expected. And, with the new decade well and truly here, we can gain revenge on the ridiculous weed-smoking grungers by pointing out, "You are SO nineties!!!"
With grunge dead, we all hoped the tide would turn musically. Hair metal people are realistic. Hair metal is not coming back to relive its glory days of the late '80s. But we dared to hope that the new fashion would be something melodic, with good musicianship. No such luck.
The noughties are here and with them we have nu metal, essentially grunge with added gayness, to all intents and purposes. These bands think they are so original, but in fact, there is nothing original about any of it. Let's examine nu metal in all its lameness, shall we?
Down-tuned guitars: Nothing new about this. Blues musicians have traditionally tuned down to E Flat, and Motley Crue's entire Dr. Feelgood set was tuned down to D for added power. The down-tuned nu metal sound, however, is simply absurd. The strings are down so low they are virtually hanging off the neck, leaving a woolly, indistinct barrage of black noise.
Samples, DJs, scratching, and all that lameness: Please! Is it rock or dance? I'm all for diversity but this is not about music… Aside from the sheer lack of creativity involved in samples, the whole vibe of rock 'n' roll with its jamming and unpredictability is removed in a sea of computer-generated mechanical perfection. And while DJ-ing may be quite a skill (debate that elsewhere), to class DJs as musicians is pretty laughable. Anyway, all that stuff is just nauseating. AND their use of loops is simply down to bad musicianship. Losers.
Stupidity: If you asked me to describe any nu metal band in ten words, intelligent would not be one of them. Not would it be if you gave me 1000 words. This manifests itself in the lyrics, where Durst et al, too dense to think of anything to actually say, simply swear for four minutes in a time in a bid to persuade us that they are hard. It's not working, mate.
Melody vs. rap: One problem with guitars tuned sub-sonically low… no one can sing over them. Besides which, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and co. couldn't carry, let alone write, a tune to save their lives. So instead they rap, all very well except that rap depends on a) clever lyrics and B) diverse instrumentation. So with the same beat and essentially same feel, structure, and sound to every song, it is fair to say that all nu metal is in fact one song.
Lack of stage presence: It always startles me how much the members of Stain'd have in common with The Thunderbirds in their on stage movements.
Manufactured: Rock & roll is about rebellion. It is about independence, freedom, and attitude. So a band that is controlled, nay, manufactured by the record company is surely against the spirit of rock & roll. Indeed, it is not unfair to point out that manufactured rock & roll is an oxymoron -- a CONTRADICTION IN TERMS. In other words, these complete idiots posing as rock & rollers are puppets to the industry, simply a cynical, money-making scam which the record companies create and we are supposed to follow like sheep. Then MTV play them relentlessly, selecting the bands that suit the MTV, politically-correct, plastic and unthreatening (to them) way, at the same time rejecting other artists putting out quality product… the record companies and MTV work together to tell you what to listen to. Are you going to let them do that?
FIBI (For Idiots By Idiots): No real comment necessary here (but here's one anyway)… ever noticed the lame audiences nu metal attracts? And the way they dress...
And that's all I have to say about that.