Tuesday, March 22, 2011

20-Year-Old Christian Hair Metal is SO TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!

NOT in the article.

Or so sez me at the skeptical Burnside Writers' Collective. You should read this. It's long, but I THINK it reads pretty well. Of course, if you don't buy its central premise -- that Christian hair metal has on occasion equaled good music -- that may be an insurmountable obstacle. Ah well -- here I stand, I can do no other, you know?

Choice jokey excerpts:

As I see it, hair metal deniers have two big problems. First, they dismiss an entire style of music from a distance, basing their criticisms solely on flippant stereotypes. Second, they’re all a bunch of sad, lonely cretins who live in their parents’ basements and call Prayer Chain records “profound”. 

The narrator of Holy Soldier's “See No Evil” is an unborn baby who sings Verse 1 from Mom’s womb, Verse 2 from “a pail”. Over the guitar solo, a digitally-manipulated voice says, “Mom, can you hear me? Mommy, Mommy, I’m afraid.” It’s an exploitative pro-life statement, the worst possible thing you could play for a woman considering abortion. As a song, though, it wields a disturbing power. Plus, it totally rocks, which counts for plenty.

And that’s what Stryper did in 1990, with their “secular” album Against the Law: they made a whip of power chords and overturned some tables. 

Casey Kasem provided a valuable customer service. When he introduced Extreme’s “More Than Words” as The Most Popular Song in the Land, he carefully pointed out that it sounded nothing like the rest of their album. He played a clip of “Get the Funk Out”, an aggressive stomper with the gang chorus, “If you DON’T LIKE! What you SEE HERE! Get the FUNK OUT!” Casey pronounced the key word “funk” and I believed him, but I also knew there was no way I’d be able to listen to Pornograffitti in the house. Especially since it opened with a song about “decadancing” — my parents had a strict policy against portmanteau words.

Pornograffitti works as Christian rock better than Stryper’s Against the Law, maybe even better than Holy Soldier, because its Christian-ness is (wait for it…) more than words. It’s sort of like a liturgy, in that it implicates us listeners in its story. We rock out to the songs about sex and money, and then Extreme point out that we’re rocking out to songs about sex and money. Then they point out that we, and they, are worldly tools for doing so. And just as we’re wondering whether there’s any escape from the worldly toolbox, they play a beautiful love song from God, or a hole-hearted plea to God, and BAM, there’s our Answer. It’s meta-metal that remembers to rock.

Ok, that's all you're getting here. But there's lots more jokes, analysis, personal reminiscences (not just from me!), interview quotes, a weird burny smell... you get the picture.

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