It’s tough to listen to metal, sometimes, because it’s been so reviled.
I will never forget the newscasts after the Columbine shootings, when ghoulishly excited reporters combed through the shooters’ rooms, reading lyrics from CDs they had lying around and looking at closets full of black clothing.
Despite its bad reputation, however, I have always wondered if the metal=bad person debate might be a bit more of the chicken and the egg than we’re comfortable admitting.
In the past two months, my new favorite thing to listen to while lifting is the new tape by Whitechapel, Our Endless War. If you haven’t heard it…you need to. It’s amazing. Here are my two favorites from it, just in case you want to try it out.
At any rate, the fifth song on the disc, Let Me Burn, has an incredible beat, with a heavy, growly chorus “Why do I do the things I do? Why am I evil through and through?” (You can listen here…you’re welcome.)
I love this song, and this album, but don’t consider myself an evil person. Much of my soul searching tends to be of the “am I really doing enough for the world around me, am I doing good things” variety. But I love this song.
So riddle me this. Are “evil” people drawn to evil sounding music? Does evil, bad sounding music bring out bad qualities in us?
I don’t think so. I think often this type of music is popular mostly because it does not offer the rougher parts of the self as areas of shame, which we cannot acknowledge in fear of losing our basic humanity. We all have bit and pieces of evil in us, negative thoughts, anger or hatred for the world around us, but the vast majority of people will never commit violence, never act on their violent thoughts, and be able to function in normal society. How refreshing, then, to have an outlet in which we can enjoy these negative aspects of our personalities without being fearful or ashamed that they will take us over and all will be lost.
I go both ways, especially when it comes to specific glorification of violence (the same album has a song with a chorus exhorting listeners “no one cares, kill yourself, your kids and your wife”), but I can’t help digging that nasty beat.
Maybe awareness is the key?