Yesterday I renewed my gym membership and in the process of doing so someone said something to me that I hear quite often which got me thinking that this could make for an interesting blog post. So here goes.
After I paid for my annual membership, I told the gym manager that as a paying customer I thought he should consider changing up the music selection a bit because I’m tired of hearing Britney Spears every time I work out. The manager asked me what I would prefer & I told him that to be honest a lot of the music I like probably wouldn’t be appropriate for the gym because a lot of people are much more easily offended than I am, but nonetheless a few hard rock songs here & there would be a refreshing change of pace. The manager, who is a man probably in his mid 30’s, told me what I have heard so many time before. “You just don’t seem like the kind of girl who would be into rock music. You’re too nice & soft-spoken.”
[Ok, those of you who really know me should get a good laugh about the soft-spoken part of that comment!]
The real crux of this scenario is that I am often told I seem “too nice” to like rock music. I just don’t understand where our society gets the idea that a “nice” person can’t like hard rock or heavy metal. This is 2013 & yet people who like this kind of music are still invariably considered “weird, different, mean, angry,” and a whole lot of other generally negative adjectives. Now let me give you a little background about how I got into this kind of music before I explain why it’s my favorite genre.
I grew up thinking rock music = devil music. I had no interest in it & on the rare occasions that I actually heard real rock/metal I hated it. I honestly couldn’t understand how anyone could like this stuff. However, as I got into high school I started hearing a few more rock songs here & there, & I gradually, gradually began to realize that there is so much more than initially meets the eye (or should I say the ear?) with this type of music. Once I got to college & finally had the freedom to listen to whatever kind of music I wanted, I gradually began discovering all kinds of music that I never even knew existed: European symphonic metal bands like Nightwish, American metal bands like Five Finger Death Punch, and so much more. I soon realized that I loved this music, & I think after a solid six years of listening to rock/metal more than any other genre I am finally figuring out why this music appeals to me so much.
Anyone who has glanced at my iTunes collection knows that I like a little bit of everything. My music collection spans everything from Alice in Chains to Godsmack to Toby Keith to Eric Church to Flo Rida to Lady Gaga to Beethoven to Mussorgsky. In short, there really isn’t any genre of music I don’t like. Some, like rap & bluegrass, aren’t my favorites but there are still certain pieces from those genres that I do really enjoy. However, I think the reason rock music speaks to me so much is its brutal honesty.
By comparison, rap music so often celebrates an urban, party-it-up or “gangtsa” lifestyle that exists only in manufactured music videos. Country music too celebrates a lifestyle that doesn’t actually exist in real life. Trust me, I grew up in small town America & I can tell you from experience that the only country music singers who consistently tell the truth about rural life are Eric Church & Kacey Musgraves, especially the latter. It ain’t always a pretty picture either. The vast majority of modern pop music is so superficial & vapid as to hardly be worth mentioning. (I’ll discuss classical music in another post some day. As many of you know, I am a total classical music junkie.)
So that brings us back to rock music. Yes, the stereotype is that rock music celebrates sex, drugs, & devil worship & generally seeks to push the envelope in every possible way. Sure, there are a few groups whose music focuses largely on those things. But would you judge all Christians based on Westboro Baptist Church or all Muslims on the 9/11 terrorists? I certainly hope not. You cannot make an accurate judgment about any group based on its most extreme members. That is just unscientific.
People often say that rock music makes people angry or inspires people to commit terrible acts of murder & violence. I say music is music. Nothing more, nothing less. If someone’s mind is so twisted & sick as to commit heinous violent acts, music isn’t to blame. The person is. I say music is perhaps the greatest form of therapy known to mankind. If you listen to enough rock you’ll find that every emotion you’ve ever felt is covered in this music, from love to anger to jealousy to confusion to pain to joy. It’s all there. And it’s all expressed in an outlet that cannot possibly harm anyone. We all get angry sometimes & experience other “negative” emotions. That is not a sin. Emotions are what make us human; they are what tells us we are still alive. It’s what we do with these emotions that can be sinful at times. (If you want to read more about this fascinating topic, check out Corey Taylor’s book “The Seven Deadly Sins.” It is without a doubt one of the most intriguing & well-written books I’ve ever read.) What better way to express your anger or hate than through a song? It’s much preferable to actually hurting someone or bottling it all up inside so that inevitably you explode. Besides, what other kind of music pumps you up enough to make you want to finish that grueling workout at the gym or to stay up all night caring for sick people? On my way to work I invariably pop in a fist-pumping rock album & by the time I get to the hospital I am ready to face whatever comes my way.
So in summary, no, I don’t have tattoos or unorthodox body piercings. I don’t dress in all black or wear dog collars around my neck. I don’t give a crap if other people do those things but they just aren’t for me. I am not an angry person who hates the world. But I do love rock music. I am proud to be a headbanger. And some day I hope that the world will realize that rock stars & their fans are some of the kindest people in the world. And more importantly I hope our society will learn the greater lesson here: don’t judge a book by its cover because we are all more than meets the eye.
So what do y’all think? For those of you know me, is it really that surprising that I like this kind of music? If so, why? Or better yet, have you experienced anything similar to this where people are surprised to find out you like a certain type of music or whatever?
In the spirit of the post I’m including a link to one of my favorite rock bands, Pop Evil. I have been following them religiously for a few years & own all three of their albums, so naturally I am very happy to see them finally getting some great radio airtime with their latest hit, “Trenches.” (Ladies, google Leigh Kakaty & I promise you will thank me.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWdtN7pCZug