Metalheads have Souls!


| 7 Comments

If my introduction blog post was any indication, I'm a music person. I love to play and listen to music.  While I do listen to a lot of jazz because I play Saxophone, my favorite genre is heavy metal music (that's how I'm going to refer to it, genre snobs, so no comments about nu-metal, black metal, or the other millions of pointless sub-genres).

The stereotypical listener of metal music is usually portrayed as being violent, loud, stupid, and suicidal.  I found an interesting article that disproves and/or clarifies many myths about people that listen to metal music.  I'm going to give my opinions about a few of them right here, while you can read the rest of the article here.

Aggression: People commonly believe that metal music causes listeners to become more violent and more belligerent against others, given the violent and "angry" nature of the music in question.  As the article states, some studies confirmed this theory, while others had the opposite effect. "Some researchers have even found that subjects who were angry to begin with become happier, calmer and more relaxed after listening to heavy metal when it is their preferred musical genre."  I'm glad that this proves that I'm not the only one that actually listens to this kind of music when I'm stressed or angry at something, because I do actually feel better after listening to it.

Intelligence: I never really thought about this one until I read about it.  The general public believes that metal heads are stupid. This article, along with another one on the same site, say that "College students whose musical preferences are alternative, rock or heavy metal actually obtain higher IQ test scores on average, particularly on questions where abstraction is required".  This kind of makes sense, because the lyrics of certain metal songs (yes, metal music has lyrics, not just inane screaming) seem to have more symbolism and meaning than the lyrics of more popular songs.  So when preparing for a test, consider listening to "...And Justice for All" rather than "Call Me Maybe". 

Suicide: With songs about suicide like Disturbed's "Inside the Fire" in existence, the belief that all metal heads are depressed or suicidal was bound to come about.  The article said nearly the same thing as the aggression section until it said that metal music is used to treat serious depression for those that prefer the genre.  It probably doesn't mean that doctors give depression patients a prescription for a Slipknot album, but it does pose an interesting question. Why bother with anti-depression pills when you can just listen to your favorite music

What do you think? Will you start listening to metal to test the benefits? What psychological effects do you think other genres have on people? FFDP0036.jpgAbove: Five Finger Death Punch: Ideal music for studying for Monday's test?


7 Comments

This was an interesting post. I'm also a metalhead. I'm not your typical type of metalhead. I mean, I love fashion and I'm quite girly, but at the same time, I enjoy moshing and blasting my music at levels that are so ridiculously high that I don't understand how my roomies tolerate me. When I get really upset, I turn to bands like August Burns Red, Texas in July, The Devil Wears Prada, We Came as Romans, Enter Shikari (even though they aren't really *that* metal), etc. to help calm me down. It works. In fact, I've got several metal bands in my Spotify study playlist. I feel a huge rush of energy when I listen to them, and my mood gets elevated. I mean, bands like Jack's Mannequin and Mae have the same effect on me, but they don't get me nearly as pumped the way that metal does. They don't calm me down the same way that metal does when I get angry. Being able to thrash around to metal music makes me not want to punch a hole in the wall when I do get incredibly angry, which is what many people think WILL happen when I listen to it. It's funny how these things work.

A lot of the things said about metal are the same things that are said about rap music. Listening to a certain genre of music doesn't make you stupid, violent or suicidal. You were already those things before you started listening to whatever music you listen too, in my opinion. But here is a article that think otherwise and actually says that listening to rap music and watching violent things made these black girls act worst.

This was an interesting post. I'm also a metalhead. I'm not your typical type of metalhead. I mean, I love fashion and I'm quite girly, but at the same time, I enjoy moshing and blasting my music at levels that are so ridiculously high that I don't understand how my roomies tolerate me. When I get really upset, I turn to bands like August Burns Red, Texas in July, The Devil Wears Prada, We Came as Romans, Enter Shikari (even though they aren't really *that* metal), etc. to help calm me down. It works. In fact, I've got several metal bands in my Spotify study playlist. I feel a huge rush of energy when I listen to them, and my mood gets elevated. I mean, bands like Jack's Mannequin and Mae have the same effect on me, but they don't get me nearly as pumped the way that metal does. They don't calm me down the same way that metal does when I get angry. Being able to thrash around to metal music makes me not want to punch a hole in the wall when I do get incredibly angry, which is what many people think WILL happen when I listen to it. It's funny how these things work.

My best friend since the very first day of kindergarten became depressed in 7th grade and attempted suicide in 9th grade, luckily it was a failed attempt and she is living, happy, and currently in Savannah, Georgia for art school. Her 12 year old self was black wearing, metal listening, and suicidal, but to this day she says it was music that helped her get through her worst of times. I really do think the psychological effects of music can effect people in ways you wouldn't even know. I remember one My Chemical Romance song she always listened to was Famous Last Words which has the refrain line "I am not afraid to keep on living", obviously related to suicide. Granted, at the time she fit the stereotypical characteristics society has dubbed all heavy metal music listeners, but she was still the exact same (beautiful, intelligent and talented) person then as she is now and she still listens to the same music today.

First of all, I appreciate the fact that you played the saxophone! I played the alto in high school.

I found your post to be very interesting. I always imagined kids who liked metal to be exactly what you described: suicidal, long hair, depressed types. But obviously, that's not the case! I also know grunge-y people that like classical, jocks that like Carly Rae Jepsen and "Valley Girls" that like gangsta rap. I feel like it's more so how the music sounds to you versus who you are as a person. What is it in our brains that say, "this sounds good" and "this is garbage." I'm not sure how our brain processes preferences. I'd be interested to see if there's some kind of study that links genetics to preferences-- not just with things like music, but other things like food or sense of humor.

This is a great topic for rock music buffs (such as myself) and I found your article you provided quite interesting. You state that "people commonly believe that metal music causes listeners to become more violent and more belligerent against others, given the violent and "angry" nature of the music in question." But just like we have learned in class so far "correlation does not imply causation!!"

One perfect example pertaining to your topic is how when they were doing investigations in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting and looking into the mannerisms of shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. During it, one of the small details they dug into was hobbies of the two shooters. This went from their personalities to even the video games they played. But one small detail they brought up was they music they listened to. At one point, they directed the shooting towards Marilyn Manson and how his music and persona "may have" had an impact on the horrific tragedy. But they later found out that neither Harris nor Klebold were Manson fans!

This is a great topic for rock music buffs (such as myself) and I found your article you provided quite interesting. You state that "people commonly believe that metal music causes listeners to become more violent and more belligerent against others, given the violent and "angry" nature of the music in question." But just like we have learned in class so far "correlation does not imply causation!!"

One perfect example pertaining to your topic is how when they were doing investigations in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting and looking into the mannerisms of shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. During it, one of the small details they dug into was hobbies of the two shooters. This went from their personalities to even the video games they played. But one small detail they brought up was they music they listened to. At one point, they directed the shooting towards Marilyn Manson and how his music and persona "may have" had an impact on the horrific tragedy. But they later found out that neither Harris nor Klebold were Manson fans!

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