White Paper – Justin Baker

1. Heavy Metal has been a very important genre of music over the past fifty years. Originating from blues and rock and roll of the early 1900s, bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple paved the way for metal. At first, metal was deeply rooted in blues, but played much louder. Metal helped musicians express different emotions such as sadness and struggle, which was what blues did as well. Heavy Metal was, and still is, a way for people of all ages to escape the daily struggles of life.

2. While heavy metal is judged by the surface and the fact it is heavy and aggressive, it has many reasons why it is a great genre of music to listen to.

3. On the surface heavy metal seems very aggressive and satanic, but it delivers many good messages. It is not just about death and sadness. In the song “Tornado Of Souls” by Megadeth, on the surface it seems heavy, fast, and lyrics that do not make sense. A closer look at the lyrics suggests that the man in the story was in a very bad relationship and needed to get out of it in order to live. Eventually the man gets out of it and his future looks very bright.

4. Some topics for smaller papers would be how heavy metal impacts younger children, how heavy metal is used as torture music for terrorists, and how heavy metal makes people less violent. Heavy metal as been said that it impacts children by turning them onto satanism and making them violent.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/metallicas_lars_ulrich_discusses_music_being_used_as_torture.html?no_takeover

There are many subtopics of my thesis that could be used to write smaller papers as there are many angles heavy metal impacts.

5. I am researching and finding many academic sources and studies. I have found a study done by Loyola University explaining why people who listen to heavy metal are generally less violent. http://clearinghouse.missouriwestern.edu/manuscripts/209.php

I have started a rough draft on my paper and continue to edit it daily.

 

Annotated Sources

1. http://clearinghouse.missouriwestern.edu/manuscripts/209.php

The above article describes an experiment done by Loyola University to see if there was a link between Heavy Metal and aggressive tendencies. The result was that there was no connection. After listening to metal, the participants who had been tested with the nonviolent songs scored higher on the depression inventory than participants who had been tested with the violent songs.

I intend to use this source as a way to show my readers that Heavy Metal helps people vent and take the edge off. Metal helps people not be depressed and gives them a confidence booster. Since they can relate to songs and see their role models go through similar situations, people feel better about themselves.

 

2.  http://www.nytimes.com/1990/07/17/arts/2-families-sue-heavy-metal-band-as-having-driven-sons-to-suicide.html

Judas Priest, a leading heavy metal pioneer, were sued by two families who claimed their music subliminally pushed them to commit suicide. Both young men were high school dropouts with criminal records and both had problems holding jobs. Each also came from a family with a history of domestic violence and child abuse and had received counseling. Lawyers for the families claimed Judas Priest put subliminal messages in their songs to encourage kids to kill themselves. Words such as “Do It” and “Let’s Be Dead” were claimed to be heard.

I intend to use this article to show that when kids do rash things, such as suicide or a crime, they have a very troubled past. Families like to point fingers at other people and not at themselves. In the article, the families had many problems in them. With a history of domestic violence and child abuse, the kids had to go to counseling.

 

3. http://yas.sagepub.com.ezproxy.rowan.edu/content/23/1/76.full.pdf+html

The above source provides insight on why adolescents listen to heavy metal. Conducted at a high point of heavy metal, late 80s to early 90s, many people between the ages of 14 and 20 while being predominantly white and male, were asked a few questions. One of the questions was what effect did heavy metal have on each of their moods while listening to it. Many of the participants said metal helped them relieve tension and dissipate their anger. It also helped them deal with girls rejecting them and depression.

I intend to use this source as an example of why young adults listen to heavy metal. It helps them cope with many different things in life and possibly stops them from doing things they might later regret.

 

4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3352230/Heavy-metal-a-comfort-for-the-bright-child.html

It has been a long ritual over the years that the smart kids would get beat up and made fun of in school. Such behavior induces depression and low self esteem in the victims. Many bright children turn to heavy metal as a way to eradicate the stress they have of not fitting in. Many of the participants in the study said they appreciate the many themes of heavy metal songs, such as politics and fantasy. While pop has basic beats and themes that involve high school relationships and that fact that we are “never getting back together” heavy metal has themes and messages that allows people to think outside of the box.

I intend to use this source a couple different ways. Heavy metal has more positive messages than pop. While a listener will have to dig under the surface of a song, they are sure to find a deeper meaning. Metal helps people not only vent their frustration and depression, but it helps people think better. The complex beats harkens back to classical music where there were long pieces and difficult to play. The lyrics take the listener back to the golden age of poetry where listeners had to interpret the words being said.

 

5. http://www.4ni.co.uk/northern_ireland_news.asp?id=60368

The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth at the University of Warwick conducted a survey of 1,000 kids ranging from ages 11 to 18 aboutf amily, school attitudes, leisure time pursuits, and media preferences. They were also asked to rank their favoured genres of music. The pupils spoke about using heavy metal music for catharsis, using the loud and often aggressive music to ‘jump out’ frustrations and anger. Many said that they listened to the music when they were in a bad mood.

I intend to use this source as another study to show young children using Heavy metal as a way to get rid of their anger and depression. Also, the study surveyed children with higher IQs. The survey helps back up my points about smarter children and more depressed children using metal as a way to vent.

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2 Responses to White Paper – Justin Baker

  1. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Baker. I’m looking forward to your argument about the deep messages in metal.
    1. I’m a little unclear what it is you’re tracking here. I see the thread of emotional expression from blues to metal, but it’s hard to see how the rock bridge helped or why the fact that older metal bands are now considered hard rock applies. Their continuing influence may in fact exist, but what does it have to do with your thesis?

    2. Be careful not to set up a “smart me versus judgmental others” battle, Baker. Your “heavy metal is judged” comment already sounds as if you intend to disparage the tastes of others. Be helpful to your readers, not critical. Guide them to an appreciation of the values you know are there to enjoy.

    3. This is a worthy topic, Baker, that you’ll find better ways to express as the semester progresses. There’s no necessary conflict between “aggressive and satanic” and “delivers good messages.” I’m going to suggest that you find evidence in classical music, musical theater, and opera that both tackle difficult subject matter and are appreciated as culturally significant. The recent film Quartet includes a moving scene in which a classical opera singer, now very old, teaches a class in rap appreciation. The teacher’s ability to find the value and resonances in music of all types is inspiring. You could easily adopt such an inclusive attitude and not alienate a single reader.

    4. You’ll need to tell me more about these topics since it’s difficult to see what points they prove. The first is too vague to be useful yet: “how heavy metal impacts kids” has no meaning. The others contain recognizable claims that provide good clues: “heavy metal is used as torture,” and “metal makes people less violent.” I’m eager to see this section expanded with specifics.

    5. I like the idea of that study, but your explanation is unclear. Does it explain “why” the studied subjects were less violent or merely “that” they were? It’s hard to imagine how such a study could be conducted, but I’m intrigued.

  2. kmbuttari says:

    I love the topic you’re doing (because I’m obviously insanely biased toward metal) and think you’re taking this in a very good direction. If I could suggest something, I’d say to incorporate the rhythmic intricacies and odd time signatures of certain metal (i.e. Master of Puppets, most Periphery songs, and tool) to show how metal is much more than just noise and requires a deep understanding of rhythm and technical ability to play. I do agree with professor Hodges and think that you should touch more on the bridge from rock to metal.

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