Death and hate and little else
Turns out metal music themes are a bit repetitive
There are certain things about every genre of music that tend to come up more often than others. The urban scene has money and women. The punks have their politics and lack of self-respect. The country and western crew have trucks and heartbreak.
However, if you want to look at one genre that plays the same note more constantly than anyone else, give heavy metal a serious listen. It honestly seems as if every band is trying to outdo each other in being one-dimensional.
The epiphany became glaringly obvious when I was sifting through my t-shirt collection and realized that I’ve been essentially living in cut off band shirts and jeans for the last decade.
What can I say? It goes with the hair. However, the more I thought about it the more I wanted to look deeper, so I dove into my staggering iTunes library of 18,932 songs and started to break it down.
Not all of those tracks are metal. Hell, some songs are even doubles or triples of others when you count live albums and re-recordings, but that’s a minor detail in this experiment. The rest of it came together like some sort of bizarre math problem.
It started with a list of common themes in heavy metal off of Invisible Oranges, a prominent metal blog that conducted a similar experiment using the website Metal Archives. Their top five were, in descending order: death, war, life, hate and love.
Life and love were the only ones that really surprised me, but those can likely be attributed to the hair band contingent of the 1980s.
Punching these five themes into my collection yielded results about myself that I wouldn’t have wanted to know beforehand.
My “hate” repertoire brought up the rear with only a meagre 138 songs. Next was “life” and “love” at 332 and 374, respectively. This was an odd coincidence, given the correlation between the two. Then it was “war” at – wait for it – 666 songs. I have to admit, that one made me laugh.
Now, here’s the doozy. “Death,” much like the results of the Invisible Oranges experiment, blew away the competition with a staggering lead at 1,638 songs.
The important thing to remember here is that these are songs that only contain those words in their titles.
This doesn’t even factor in songs with the subliminal or subtle take on the subject matter or the entire metaphorical approach that this genre likes to take. It doesn’t even factor how many times those words pop up in the actual song lyrics themselves.
Taking that approach would probably yield such astronomical numbers that I would walk down to the nearest asylum and check myself in.
Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to view this as the starting point to break out of these self-crafted stereotypes that we metalheads have placed upon ourselves.
Many folks, but especially metalheads, always complain about getting this kind of type-casting and unfair judgement in social groups, but it’s become clear to me that we’ve been doing it ourselves all along.
Unless being a depressed, suicidal maniac is your thing. In which case, just ask to borrow some of my records. It shouldn’t be tough to find you something to fit right in.