What I hate so much about hardcore, rap, and nü metal
by Scott Hefflon
collages by Scott Hefflon
OK, now I don’t wanna get off on a tirade that’ll have the PC sheep writing heartfelt, typo-riddled letters saying the exact same spoon-fed opinion, or worse, get my ass kicked by brute morons/gangsters pissed off cuz I lost them in the first run-on, but they know I’m dissing them and instead of arguing, they’ll just beat me up until they think of something better to do, but I have real problems with hardcore, rap, and nü metal. And while I shouldn’t shit where I eat, the shit’s already here and I’m simply shoveling some of it elsewhere, dig? My issues with hardcore and nü metal are easy to say cuz I’m white. Hardcore, musically, is usually pretty simple to play, much like bare-bones punk or metal, and that’s good cuz it’s best played by kids who’re still idealistic enough to believe the better-world lyrics so common to the genre. And hell, I sure prefer some quaint, naive ideas spewed with conviction than the thuggish tough-guyisms of metalcore. Like rednecks on coke or muscle-bound jocks on steroids, these meatheads are dumb and proud of it. Dangerous mix…
My main issue with rap is the same that’s plagued it for years: It’s basically the cry of desperation from a culture with little hope. We glorify the violence and, to be brutal, the lack of education. Sure, it’s passionate and vital and alive in a way that rock music hasn’t been in a long, long time, but a rapper going on about the bitches and hos and money and cars is just as bad as Mötley Crüe and the whole glam brat pack back in the day. Ain’t so cool now, is it? And the excessive fashion has similarities to glam you’d really have to intentionally overlook, and that’s exactly what most fans do… It’s goofy, it’s energetic, and some rappers really have skills (to use their lingo) and good DJs and producers with novel ideas, but there’re a lot of dumb followers making a whole lotta the exact same racket with very little new to say.
And nü metal? Hell, TV commercials for the armed services are now using nü metal; if that doesn’t speak volumes to you, ask someone whose knuckles don’t drag on the floor to explain it to you. Nü metal is “groove-oriented,” much like hardcore, basically because most of the genre is perpetuated by young ‘uns who never learned to play very well. Slackers, remember? It took time, effort, and a lot of fuckin’ practice to be a now-laughable fancy-pants wanker like all those glam fruits of the late ’80s who shredded for Dio, Ozzy, and all them “old guy metal” bands. Shit, the coke-freaked, yuppified, ambition-driven ’80s wasn’t just Wall Street, it translated to the overall work ethic of the time, which trickled down to bands (not really a fine representation of the workforce then or now), thus guitarists competed to be great and write interesting riffs, and they practiced like mad. Fast-forward through the anti-success, post-grunge, S.F.W. (So Fuckin’ What) mentality of the mid-’90s (I’m a little hazy here myself) to the current day and you have “old school” bands from the mid-’90s who never really tried very hard or pushed any envelopes who act as if they’ve paid their dues. Being a chump for a long time doesn’t make ya wise, K?
General idea here is that such lowered expectations have made ALL OF US applaud the fledgling efforts of anyone who looks like they might just have a clue. But most flatline once the fawning starts, cuz honestly, why keep trying to outdo yourself when people already think you rule? I’ll tell ya why: Posterity. As we’re noticing now, half a decade has passed and the lazy shitheads are still milling about, and as the next generation of bands is coming up, the last refuses to shuffle off into justly-deserved obscurity and all we’re getting is more and more lazy bands. The kids grew up on slacker chic, never realizing that it was in drastic contrast to the (admittedly) rather superficial take-it-all attitude of the generation before. They never knew anything other than their idols refusing to work hard or sell out, and that turned into the new ethic. And that ethic, when not rebelling against what came before, is now the status quo. So the alternative has become the mainstream in a very easy to understand and misquoted way, and now so many are searching for a new rebel stance that clever marketeers keep selling us prepackaged “new & improved” stuff that’s really only a tiny bit different than the last, and hence not the revolution that the label claimed.
Something needs to change, and seeing as going back ain’t the answer, some hard work has to be put in by the new generation of kids who are as sick of what they’re being fed as old fuckers like me who haven’t yet completely given up on the whole sordid mess. I am not the target demographic, but I’m smart enough to see that what’s being offered has very little to do with what “the kids” would ask for if they knew the power of their own voices. But in a time where Gore and Bush are the best we’re offered, it’s no surprise that even “that devil rock’n’roll” is simply scaled-back, dumbed-down, thoroughly watery, bland-tasting variations of what’s come before.
And yet I have hope… Like the little hoodlum skate punks in High Fidelity, someone’s bound to simply stroll in – pure and beautiful – and we can kick all this lame posturing to the fuckin’ curb and get on with rockin’!