Introduction[edit | edit source]
Hair metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that began to develop in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The main exponents of the style are radio-friendly, pop-oriented bands who write songs specifically to appeal to large crowds. It was the dominant commercial style of heavy metal for about nine years, starting in 1983 with Def Leppard's Pyromania. Hair metal's prime, however, ended in 1991 with Nirvana's Nevermind being put on top of the mainstream rock pile at the same time alternative rock and then-current new wave acts (U2, R.E.M., Wang Chung, Information Society, etc.) started to cross over onto album-oriented rock and contemporary hit stations.
The genre is generally characterized by an emphasis on visual appeal and repeated chorus lines.
It's worth noting that arena rock tends to be a blanket term used for any acts that are known for anthemic songs and memorable stagecraft, the term began as a epithet used by critics to bash the genre for what they perceived as music that favored spectacle and mass appeal over artistic quality (given that many arena rock acts favored polished production styles and precise songwriting, compared to the critics' taste for the messy Three Chords and the Truth style of Punk Rock at the time of arena rock's peak in popularity). The epithet "corporate rock" was originally applied to this type of music by the more elitist critics, with "dad rock" also popping up sometime around the late '90s, due to the genre's popularity among aging baby boomers. Listen to any Classic Rock radio station nowadays, and chances are arena rock is the genre you'll hear a lot of.
It's also worth noting that the sort of stadium rock played by bands like U2, INXS, Simple Minds or The Police doesn't necessarily come under this heading; their sound was typically more influenced by Post-Punk and Alternative Rock (such as it was in the 1980s).
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
- "Guitar pyrotechnics" and massed vocal harmonies performed by bands are very common.
- Most hair metal songs feature big, anthemic choruses and are audience participation songs to which the audience is expected to sing part of the lyrics.
- "Follow the bouncing ball" may come into play, with audiences singing along in rhythm to the lyrics. Hair metal bands tend to sing part of the song and then signal for the audience to repeat it. They will often hold their microphones toward them and are responsible for stock phrases like "all together now" and "I can't hear you".
- Hair metal songs have high-pitched vocals and a sound that seems to echo, unlike arena rock.
- Hair metal is more professionally produced and less "raw"-sounding than normal metal, making full use of studio engineering equipment and audio modification devices such as reverb. Alongside the distorted guitars, hair metal bands also use synthesizers to fill out their sound.
Power Ballads[edit | edit source]
Hair metal and arena rock (or AOR) bands are known for these. They are noticeably slower than most of their fare.
A typical power ballad opens with a solo keyboard or an acoustic guitar, with more instruments and more elaborate melodies brought in as the song progresses. All of these build up to a dramatic finale. An electric guitar solo close to the halfway point is pretty much obligatory.
It's Simplistic[edit | edit source]
There is no creativity or any attempt at making anything other than overly simplistic, market-driven formula drivel. Most hair metal songs have simple, boring beats that are played over and over. There is simply no soul left in heavy metal. Anyone who hasn't lost their taste in culture or enlightenment can agree with this claim, while a herd of sheep can just follow and listen to whatever they're told because they can't comprehend that the over-processed garbage they relish in consists of no soul, emotional movement, or varying sound.
It's Almost Always About Love[edit | edit source]
Just look at some Bon Jovi or Def Leppard lyrics like these:
You paint your smile on your lips, blood red nails on your fingertips
A school boy's dream, you act so shy
Your very first kiss was your first kiss goodbye
Woah, you're a loaded gun (a metaphor for love as well as having a boner)
JESUS, MAKE IT STOP!
It's Corporate[edit | edit source]
Hair metal is completely processed and made with a team of audio engineers known for mixing, overlaying, and clipping. No musical talent or any effort whatsoever, eh?
Hair metal is a legitimate way to make a lot of money and shows the ease of doing business in America.
It's Juvenile and For People Ages 13-34[edit | edit source]
Hair metal songs are marketed towards teens and adults ages 20-34. Like with teen pop, all hair metal artists care about are fashion, love, partying, being better than anyone else or being someone they aren't, or whatever age-appropriate, radio-friendly junk they can come up with. They especially drool and obsess over girls, which gets extremely weird and disturbing.
Typical Lyrics[edit | edit source]
"YOU PAINT YOUR SMILE ON YOUR LIPS... BLOOD RED NAILS ON YOUR FINGERTIPS!"
"WITH LOVE, WE'LL FIND A WAY! JUST GIVE IT TIME!"
"I IMAGINE THE THINGS WE DO! I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED BY YOU!"
"WHAT ABOUT LOVE! DON'T YOU WANT SOMEONE TO CARE ABOUT YOU!"
"GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS... GIRLS, GIRLS GIRLS!"
"COME ON, FEEL THE NOISE! GIRLS, ROCK YOUR BOYS! WE'LL GET WILD, WILD, WILD!"
"HERE I GO AGAIN ON MY OWN! GOING DOWN THE ONLY ROAD I'VE EVER KNOWN!"
"I CAN'T DRIVE... FIFTY-FIVE!"
Listen To These Instead[edit | edit source]
- Heavy metal
- Folk rock
- Alternative country
- Free jazz
- Progressive rock
- Dark wave
- Funk rock
- Hard rock
- Progressive metal
- Power pop
- Glam rock
- Art pop
- Acid jazz
- Hardcore punk
- New wave
- Funk metal
- Psychedelic pop
- Alternative rock
- Outlaw country
- Southern rock
- Power metal
- Noise pop
Comments[edit | edit source]
yeah you're right i think it's the same person coming back on multiple ips since they just complain about music and other things, they've never written a single positive thing. we're actually considering making the wiki editing to accounts only to stop this
-- Raichu's Endless Nights (talk) 09:11, 26 February 2022 (UTC)