Tuesday, August 3, 2021

glam metal

Glam metal  (or even Glam, according to the Chuck Klosterman book) - better known as Hair Metal , or even Sunset Stripmetal, makes an appearance in the 'aftershocks' section of S+A,...

But here is some real-time writing from me about glam metal, when I went to August 1987 Castle Donington Monsters of Rock festival and wrote it up for Melody Maker

'"BON JOVI cocktease the audience. After a very long delay, giant vidscreens cut to… Bon Jovi's dressing room! Bon Jovi making their way through the backstage maze! A superb baiting of the breath. And then amid a fanfare of fireworks and dry ice… Bon Jovi descend a Ginger Rogers' staircase…

"I enjoy everything about Bon Jovi tonight except their music. In this sodden, beleaguered context, the lasers, the slick bombast, the no-expense-spared showmanship were as welcome as Hollywood razzamatazz in the Depression. Everything must have been rehearsed with military precision, every pout, preen and strut, because it was video-taped, quick-cut and blown-up on the vidscreens as it happened. MTV was inflated to the dimensions of a circus. I enjoyed, so help me, Jon Bon Jovi prancing about on the top of the lighting gantry, enjoyed their guitarist's solo (it blended most pleasingly into the giant, ziggurat riffs of Zep's "Dazed and Confused"). But the music isn't heavy metal, it's harmony rock, all rococo synth and soul-rich singing (euucch!). The tunes are trite, as trite and appallingly sentimental as the philosophical and emotional repertoire of the band. The titles tell the whole, stunted story: "You Give Love a Bad Name" (the Bitch who "promised me heaven/gave me hell"), "Wild In the Street", "Tokyo Rose", "Together Forever" (a ballad about friendship as syrupy as anything by Lionel Richie).

"Bon Jovi constantly refer to "rock'n'roll" but there's nothing here that fits my definition of rock - no sense of provocation, no idea of change or movement, no impossibilist reproach to the world and its limits. The fantasies here are perfectly feasible -- it's possible to live a monied playboy life of rocking out and screwing foxy chicks, it's just very very unlikely that any of their fans ever will*. Bon Jovi aren't rock'n'roll, they are showbiz, and showbiz is all about the idea that the world is as it can only be. Metal bands may call their music "heavy metal" but really they deal in light entertainment: their job is take people's minds off things. Tonight, Bon Jovi did a damn good job of taking my mind off my wet feet and incipient hypothermia."

[full piece here]

Which is why bling rap / trap = the hair metal stage of hip hop.


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