The WAGNER & HEAVY METAL WINTER WEBLOG on music, books and the light at the end of tunnel. From ' HEAVY' (Dan Franklin) to a heavy book 'WAGNERISM' (Alex Ross). Plus Wilhelm Furtwängler and (a lot) more.
Striking is the distinction Franklin makes in HEAVY between real heaviness and cosmetic heaviness. Nirvana is heavy, Limp Bizkit is not. The difference seems to speak for itself. The authenthic scream of Kurt Cobain that exorcises existential fears, as opposed to the band of Fred Durst who sees in their (derivative) nu-metal mainly an instrument for scoring girls (although a song like ‘Nookie’ comes from dealing with heart ache, the overcoming of the position of a underdog, its pose and triumphantness deprives it of any form of sympathy one might consider). After Nirvana crushed the plastic pop music and the glammetal of the 80's to pieces (eternal gratitude for that!) many a rockstar jumped on the bandwagon of the grunge. With grunge the focus turned inwards, rock music became more introverted. Grunge gave (hard)rock a new dark elan of heaviness (and Badmotorfinger of Soundgarden was the most heavy thing around; it was even more than Nirvana’s Nevermind, that had a remarkable universal appeal to the public at large, an album that separated heaviness from would-be heaviness). Instead of ‘just’ superficially chasing girls, the lyrics in grunge were about 'real' feelings. Many a glam rocker dressed up in a lumberjack blouse. Mike Tramp from White Lion turned to the 'dark' side (with Freak of Nature) and he wasn't the only one. Where in many a transformation from glam to grunge the commercial motifs were at display, the distinction between true heaviness and cosmetic heaviness (as a distinction between being sincere or not) was not always as obvious as first impressions suggest. Both Pantera and Alice in Chains had a hairmetal past and their exchange of hairspray for lumberjack check shirts might suggest, aside for creative motifs, a concern for the cosmetic (and commercial).
Further on: WAGNERISM, what Mike Patton has in common with the French Symbolists and Wilhelm Furtwängler in Italy >>
Special thoughts and thanks therefore to the writers and artists with which we (try to) make our way to the light at the end of the tunnel. The demands and expectations with which we burden their work may not always, especially now, be reasonable, but they stem from primarily felt needs: the need to enrich our inner self, to satisfy sincere curiosity and even to fight a deeply felt insecurity about our place in the world. It is all the more precious when music, books and films (art if you like) succeed in doing so and touches us where it enlightens the mind and gives us a glimpse of a world, deep within ourselves, that holds the promise and fulfillment to a better life.
Heavy: How Metal Changes the Way We See the World (Dan Franklin)
Symphony of a Thousand: Mahler and the World in 1910 (Stephen Johnson)
My Life with Wagner (Christiaan Thielemann)
Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music (Alex Ross)
The Cambridge Companion to Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen (Mark Berry & Nicholas Vazsony)