Monday, March 24, 2008
Power Ballad Killed the Metal Star
Something very important and very serious has been bothering me for quite some time. This has been nagging me and eating at my very existence. That it was allowed to continue altered the very course of my being. I am of course talking about the metal power ballad. A musical genre that rallied around high energy chord changes, screaming fast guitar solos, and wailing vocals, reduced to dust by sappy feelings. This comes up now, having grown up in the early Eighties listening to Twisted Sister, Kix, Ratt, Def Leppard, since I decided to dig out some of the golden oldies: Out of the Cellar, Shout at the Devil, L.A. Guns, Long Cold Winter, Pyromania. But as I listened along, and really dug some tunes that I had forgotten about over the last decade (crikey I'm gettin old), every so often, some insipid fluff would spew forth from the speakers, ackk, what the hell was that. Damnit, I wanna rock out, and some jackass is crying about how he lost the girl or is a long way from home... fuggetaboutit, I want my ass kicked! Now in the digital age its easy enough to go through and delete all the ballads, which is exactly what I did, but back in the day, it always seemed that the monster hit was the stupid ballad, at least 1 on every album. So a genre that is 90% wall to wall obnoxiously loud noise got best known by the most mellow, most vapid garbage ever laid to tape? This killed, yes, killed, hard rock or hair metal or glam rock, whatever you wanna call it. Some mellow folks bought rockin albums cuz they heard a ballad they liked but couldn't stand the rest of the beautiful, glorious noise, then folks like myself got tired of fast forwarding past the damn ballad, wouldn't have been so bad if they had just always put them at the end of the record. Like, hey, we know this song sucks but its gonna make us a ton of money, so we'll put it on at the end, and you can pretend that the album finishes one song earlier. Somehow, Ratt got away without having a ballad, and on each of their first 3 albums they got harder and louder, sweet! I'm not sure who to blame for this, now this is America so someone must be at fault. Possibly Zeppelin with Stairway, was that the first power ballad? Motley Crue surely hit the big time with Home Sweet Home in 85, and GnR struck platinum with Sweet Child O' Mine, so I suppose at lot of folks were trying to emulate those bands. So there you have it... Led Zeppelin, Motley Crue and Guns and Roses shall stand guilty for Metal's sins against Rock and paving the way for a buncha whiney babies filled with angst post Nirvana.