Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Male Objectification in Heavy Metal?

While recently listening to Kik Tracee's No Rules to determine if it fits into the 'lost classic' category, I was struck by a song called "Tangerine Man." Below is an excerpt of the lyrics:

"Burn the eternal flame, but you'll never catch my name/
You're burnin' out, I ain't your fireman of fantasy/
Blue oyster boy don't stop until he's hard as rock/
He's comin' on, raging bull won't ever stop

I'm going a la carte, blue oyster missed his mark/
Couldn't read the signs, exit only/
Listen to serenades, selling his lemonade/
Turn around and take it to another place"

Plenty of metal songs have been written as a come-on to some lusty lady of the night, but this one bears the distinction of being deliberately written to ward off a homosexual advance. In the '80s, metal was bashed for its portrayal of women, but I argue that male objectification is even more rampant in the genre -- from Judas Priest singer Rob Halford's gay biker look to Vinnie Vincent Invasion/Nelson drummer Bobby Rock's Chelsea boy physique (seen here) to the infamous codpieces of WASP's Blackie Lawless or Kiss' Gene Simmons.

And what of female homosexuality in metal -- are there any sapphic six-stringers out there? It's difficult to deny that there's a strange kind of homoeroticism in metal, perhaps more so than in other segments of the culture. As to why this is, well that's for the sociologists to ponder, but feel free to write in with your thoughts.


Metal Mark said...

I really pay very little attention to lyrics. I was listening to KT's No rules not long ago too. It's just okay I think, a little like G-n-R and, but less rockin and slightly more funky. I liked the Field Trip EP a little better though.

Mike said...

I'm a little like Mark in the fact that I care more about the music more than the lyrics. I would like the songwriter to tell me a story, whatever it is. Be they gay, straight, or bi, I don't care, just entertain me.

Rhodeislandrock said...

I'll agree with Mike & Mark (sounds like an AM drive team!), as long as I'm entertained, I could care less if the lyrics are straight, gay, bi, or tri. I pay attention to lyrics but if I sat down and studied them in depth the fun of the music would be gone. Imagine listening to Judas Priest and dissecting every lyric. Halford is gay, so what? Now that I think about it, 'Eat Me Alive' does take on a different gender than when I was 12 in 1984!

Kik Tracee.....there's a band I haven't heard about in a long time. I used to have a tape but it's long gone.