Judging Music By Its Cover

Spenser Potter, Staff Writer

“Hey man, what kind of music to you like to listen to?”

“I like a lot of music but I love metal.”

“Dude, I said music.”

“It is music.”

“No it’s not, all it is is a bunch of screaming cuss words and people that worship Satan.”

Music is everywhere in our world and there is a lot of it. Almost everyday an artist releases a new single, album or EP. Due to the large amounts of music, our society has come up with a way to classify music based on certain characteristics, called genres. And along with these genres, come (almost always) incorrect stereotypes.

The country music genre has been around for a long time. Since the 1920s actually. Since then, the most common stereotype associated with it is that it’s for “rednecks”. The artists only love beer and women, as reflected in their poor-grammar, profanity-filled lyrics. Their fans are unintelligent, buck-tooth, and drive big, ugly trucks. Now, stereotypes come from somewhere, and I am acknowledging that there are some people who fit the aforementioned description. But that is only a small percentage of country fans and artists. Artists like Garth Brooks and Toby Keith are well-known philanthropists. A good portion of their songs are love songs but they have other themes such as patriotism, equal rights, and spirituality.

One genre of music has received most of the stereotyping is metal. Also referred to heavy metal, this genre has been stereotyped as “evil” and “Satanic”. The music has been described as angry, depressing, loud, obnoxious, or has been decided as “not being music”. Most people assume that metal is a bunch of screaming about nothing. Now, there are bands with songs containing Satanic themes such as Slayer and King Diamond. But bands like that exist in a small number. A large majority of metal artists are considered virtuosos in their instrument and usually have a classical or jazz background. Popular lyric themes have ranged from political issues, to various historic events, to even intellectual movements such as Neohumanity and Transhumanism. The fans tend to express their enjoyment of the music in forms of headbanging and air-drumming. While they might scare you at first, these fans are usually good people and cover a wide variety of people, from nerds, to stoners, and to pop-music lovers.

Reggae is one of the most relaxed music genres out there. It is very easy to listen to and can be very calming. Many of us often think of the Caribbean when we hear it. But many also tend to believe that the genre promotes marijuana and many people think that it is “stoner” music.. This stereotype has probably come from the fact that reggae music has been associated with the Rastafari movement, which believes in using cannabis as a form of performing spirituality. While it is understandable why most people would think that, that is not the case. Fans of reggae often fall under the very same stereotype. From a music standpoint, it originated from jazz and blues and features various percussion such as steel drums and cowbells. Guitars and bass are also a key point to the music and can be a very difficult style to master for musicians, so it’s a little more than “stoner music”. Lyric themes also come in a wide variety of subjects, not just marijuana. These themes include social criticism, anti-racism, various political issues, religious themes, and Apartheid.

Now these are just a few of many music genres that fall under negative stereotypes by society. There is not enough time or room for me to address them all but do take away one thing from reading this article. Don’t be so quick to judge any form of music or it’s fans. More times than not, it is not what you think. But I will acknowledge that stereotypes do come from somewhere and that there are people who totally do fit the stereotype. But it happens to be only a small proportion of people. In our day and age, instead of the majority creating the stereotype, it is the minority.