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MetalMaidenMal
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:31 am
Posts: 29
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:16 pm 
 

I agree. Some musicians write hateful lyrics out of genuine feelings of hate, some write them because they find it fascinating to explore such subjects, and some write them because perhaps they think it's expected. Tradition. There are plenty of other reasons, I'm sure. I love metal because it's a no-bullshit genre that can explore any and all subjects. You have songs about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and you have things like the Jag Panzer album Thane to the Throne, which is a metal adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and you have everything in between. And yes, lyrics about violent and gruesome subjects, which naturally most often attach themselves to the darker, harsher-sounding subgenres. I don't listen to very much death metal myself, and in any case it would be wrong to make the claim that I truly know why any given band writes certain material, but I guess I'm just saying I try to take it with a grain of salt. In the end, it's entertainment. I believe it's important for people to have the freedom to explore any subjects and feelings with their art, even the ones that don't sound so nice, and I have a huge amount of respect for people who have the balls to tackle those subjects and do it in a way that's still intelligent and interesting. We can debate all we want about what is or isn't offensive, but ultimately it's a matter of opinion, and mine tends to be that everyone should relax a little. I try to be open to anything, I will never take song lyrics as a personal attack on me, and if something really does bother me it's my right to make the choice not to listen to it, after which I'll say no more about it. I don't think the bands need to justify their lyrics to anyone, and I don't think anyone should have the power to decide what is or is not okay to write about, no matter what their reasons are, although like Balor, I generally assume that most of the more disturbing lyrics out there are not sincere, which is a large part of why I don't feel any need to be upset by them.

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kapala
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:56 pm
Posts: 156
Location: Sweden
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:28 am 
 

MetalMaidenMal wrote:
Thank you, Balor. You seem to be the only one who really understands the point I was making: That being sexually attracted to women, wanting to have sex with a particular woman, and acting on those natural urges with her full consent, does not have to come with the implication that she's not good for anything else or that any disrespect is meant. If the song doesn't explicitly say anything to indicate otherwise, I will always assume that the woman involved is up for it, that's she's being treated with respect (sexual acts and respectful behavior are not mutually exclusive), and that it's fully understood that she is a person with thoughts and feelings and a whole life of her own, even though the role she's presently playing is the role of sex partner.

She Goes Down? When I mentioned Motley Crue, I wondered if someone would bring up that song. Okay, it's about getting a blowjob and enjoying it. Is it misogynistic or sexist to enjoy sexual favors? I don't think so. If the woman were being forced or coerced into performing that act when she wasn't comfortable with doing so, yes, it would be very denigrating. But if she's choosing to do it of her own free will because she wants to make the guy feel good, then that's her choice and there's nothing denigrating about it. It's not offensive for men to sing about being attracted to women. If you think it is, why don't you consider the opposite situation: a woman singing sexually charged lyrics in a metal band. For example, Halestorm's "I Get Off." Is Lzzy Hale objectifying herself? Is she objectifying men? I don't think so. She's just singing about a sexual situation where both people involved are into it and having a good time, and I don't see how that's offensive to anybody.

When asked about hip hop, I want to be careful about my answer, because frankly, I don't know a lot of hip hop, I really dislike what I have heard, and for those reasons it can be tempting to just go flaming it, but I want to avoid being unfair or judging it by a different standard when I don't know much about it. Not really knowing any hip hop lyrics, I have to give a very general answer: If it's about sex, it's not automatically offensive just for that reason. If it explicitly says that sex is all women are good for or that it's okay to force women into sex or anything like that, obviously there's something offensive there. Personally, I hate what I know of hip hop not because of any wounded femininity, but because of the lack of creativity I perceive. In my experience it always seems to be one simple beat with nothing more interesting going on musically, and some guy speaking cliched lyrics that don't put any new spin on it. I think one could try to make the case that hip hop is more sexist based on this trend: In metal songs about sex, the emphasis is usually on how much fun the sex is, and just having a good time, whereas in hip hop songs about sex, the focus seems more on bragging about the fact that they got sex. There's a bit more of a trophy thing going on there. But again, I don't want to generalize too much on a subject I'm largely ignorant of. The most I will say for sure is that with hip hop, I don't find it interesting musically, so it seems like it's lazily relying just on sex appeal to sell, which I find a bit pointless, although still not inherently offensive.

As for metal bands who sing about mutilation and such, obviously men and women alike can reasonably find them offensive and choose not to listen to them. For me personally, intent matters. I'm not too bothered myself because when I look at lyrics by someone like Cannibal Corpse, I can't take them seriously. I know they don't really go around doing the things they sing about. They just write offensive lyrics BECAUSE they're offensive. That's their thing. Shock value. I can't blame people for being offended, but I myself am not, because it's just a gimmick. They're playing characters, quite apart from whatever their personal beliefs might be. The number of such bands who actually believe in the offensive material they're writing is very small.


It's not really about whether or not the lyrics are offensive, actually. That's not my point. You're putting words in my mouth there, as I not only never said that, I never hinted at that, either.

You touched on it somewhat with your comment on hip hop. First of all, from an outsiders perspective, I'm sure the lyrical content of a lot of metal bands is much of the same, or at least someone not familiar with the genre will see it that way. I mean, the groups who really were (or at least claimed to be) offended by either hip hop or metal lyrics, often argued, or still argue, the same things: "They're violent. The lyrical themes include sex. They have lyrics that objectify women," and so on. Songs like "Doggystyle" and "Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's Cunt" might account for 0.00000001% of all songs in each respective genre, but people who are not familiar with said genre, will, almost always, immediately focus on those (and subsequently, sales for both respective albums will go up, [or maybe downloads these days]).
Bringing up "She Goes Down" wasn't because I'm offended by the song, but rather because it is a cheap cliché relied on to sell records and exhibit some kind of dominant sexual prowess. They give blowjobs to get backstage passes, for example. It's like, one out of countless examples I could have used. Where did I say it was misogynistic or sexist to enjoy sexual favours? Is it automatically "being offended", if I demand better than tired, clichés and the madonna/whore dichotomy, then?

It's interesting how 2 Live Crew's album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be" was banned for playing on the same themes a lot of rock bands did in the 80s under the guise of "sex, drugs and rock & roll". I mean, "Appetite for Destruction" was critically acclaimed, when "Anything Goes" isn't much better, if at all. "Oh, but it's part of rock! They're just having fun!" Even though I don't like the guy, I remember an early interview with Marilyn Manson where he stated he was going to do everything he could to spawn the same reaction 2 Live Crew got, and see how long it took. We're still waiting.

My point is, it's not about being offended or not, but rather, metal isn't some self-contained genre immune from the same clichés that exist in exactly every form of music, and musical subculture, or society as a whole, even if it's championed as being inclusive, tolerant, and whatever else. Look at your subculture of choice critically? Demand better, maybe? Don't stick your head in the sand and accept boring clichés and lazy lyrics? Be a little self-reflective and self-critical?
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MetalMaidenMal
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:31 am
Posts: 29
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:08 am 
 

I apologize if I did put any words in your mouth. When I first replied to this thread, suddenly a lot of people were responding in different ways and challenging some things I said or asking my opinions on others, so my successive replies were kind of all-inclusive and I may have blurred different people's statements together. After all I am new here and not familiar with any of you, so I was replying to a faceless group. Although you didn't yourself say the Crue's song was offensive or misogynistic, I seized on it as an example for the others who were trying to make that claim about songs with sexual content.

Saying the song is lyrically lazy is a much more valid point. It's true that there's nothing new or brilliant there. Personally, I still consider it a decent enough song to keep in my library because it stands up musically as a simple but catchy rock tune, although it's not particularly memorable and not one of my favorites, even from the Crue's body of work. I listen to some bands or songs for the lyrics, and some I'm into musically without paying as much attention to the words. At least one of those two aspects has to be reasonably appealing to me. Ideally both the lyrics and music are creative and enjoyable, but if it's one or the other, it may still be worth my time. That's why I criticized hip hop songs that show no creativity in either music or lyrics. I would give the same criticism to any metal tunes that are guilty of the same thing.

I do want to acknowledge that everything I've said here is a matter of my own opinions and feelings, and though I may disagree with some things that have been said, I have no wish to discount anyone else's viewpoints, and if I have misunderstood or twisted what anyone has said, it's unintentional. This is a very subjective topic. I responded in the first place because I thought a discussion of how woman are portrayed in music might benefit a bit from my perspective as a woman (One woman, of course. I don't claim to speak for my gender). Frankly, since then the whole conversation has become a bit more of a heavy debate than I anticipated or particularly enjoy.

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The_Beast_in_Black
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:34 am
Posts: 7741
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:49 am 
 

BaloroftheEvilEye wrote:
In fairness most bands with those kind of themes involve butchering men as well. As for hip hop, well, maybe because I just fucking hate most of it, I see it as just much, much more trashier, and the women it features in music videos even more so, and as an aside, don't a lot of the big female artists in the genre sing about themselves in a similar way?

Not reeeeally. Most of the bigger-name female artists like to talk about fucking, but it's usually filtered through the same braggadocio as their male counterparts. Some (Lil' Kim comes to mind) are sexually aggressive to an almost frightening degree.
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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6558
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:04 am 
 

Focusing on the sexist aspects of rape-and-murder lyrics is missing the point, in my opinion. For overly brutal music, lyricists often believe that the lyrics must be as atrocious as it's possible to write. In those lyrical depictions of brutal sexual assaults and consecutive murder, the victim's sex is an irrelevant detail if we're simply to assess the unacceptability of those lyrics. It's a general serial killer thing, in popular culture, that their victims are of the opposite sex - the killer's sexual fascination with the victims brings an interesting dichotomical element to their nature that goes beyond being a mere killing machine. That isn't the invention of death metal lyricists, obviously - they're simply emulating and exaggerating others' work (or being inspired by actual serial killers they've read about).
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Jackoroth
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:55 pm
Posts: 346
Location: Roxburgh Park
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:56 am 
 

The_Beast_in_Black wrote:
At the end of the day, the worst thing metal does is denigrate women with its lyrics.


Then there's women who openly embrace bands who do that, someone I used to know used to quote Stripped, Raped and Strangled and She Was Asking For It constantly and it made her the least attractive female I've ever met for doing that.
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