Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heavy Metal

Just like many of my friends here, I have a great fondness for music. I grew up listening to old Bengali songs, Rabindra Sangeet, Najrul Geeti, the typical bollywood songs and the Indi-pop genre. It was only in my high-school days did I start liking Afro-American Jazz, Western Country Music, pop, Indian semi classical, Hip-hop and various other kinds. I have a strong affiliation with soft rhythmic music, be it the old Bengali songs or some beautiful guitar tunes, or the sound of a flute.

But somehow, I have grown a strong distaste for Heavy Metal music. With the best percussionists and excellent guitarists around, this genre of music never seems to impress me a wee bit. May be, I am sounding dogmatic, foolish and childish (and I really don’t know if I am!), but can anyone explain to me how terms like ‘metal-banging’ and ‘distortion’ and ‘thrashing’ are remotely associated with music? It may sound funny to few, that it becomes quite challenging for me to withstand one complete hard-rock song (they strain my ears and cause headache)! Perhaps the best advice for me is that, Rock is not meant for me, and it’s best avoided. But, seriously, if some of my readers take the pain to comment over this post and explain to me, its appeal, its association with ‘machismo’, it will be great. Perhaps your comments will help change my prejudiced  view in near future.  


  1. I think I have told you before, anyway, I'll love to explain "ourselves" anytime! Music is a means of self-expression, like every other form of performing and non-performing art. Now that people have hatred and anger as their predominant emotions, the only way music can express it is metal-banging, distortion and thrashing. If you disagree with me on the predominance of hatred and anger, just open a news channel any day anytime!
    And by the way, I know people who listen to Heavy Metal, when they have a headache, because that relieves them of it. I also know people who listen to heavy metal, because they want to have headaches. They are the Woody Allen-inspired Generation Y: to be happy is to love to suffer!

  2. Thanks T.M. You speak logic. I don't think you have told me before about it. Tastes vary. I can name scores of songs, (most of which are Bengali), which have portrayed anger, frustration or hatred through soft soothing music, and wonderful lyrics! You will feel like hearing them time and again, and if you hear them, you WILL feel the pain, the suffering, the anger within yourself. More comments are welcome!

  3. Well to me "music" is one of the ways by which we relax and express ourselves.You said you listened to classical bengali songs and evergreen nazrul geeti and rabindra songs(i myself don't listen to these much).It all comes to taste dear.You grew up in an environment of soothing,classical,peaceful and evergreen musical environment,thats why its difficult for you to cope up with rock music ..what you call pain and headache.Many people, like me who grew up listening to hardcore music ,jazz and all that stuff feel quite bored when we hear old,classical or folk songs.
    Its quite natural that the environment in which we grow up have a massive impact on our nature,style and culture.You are not the one who feels disturbed when "thongs" or "bass guitars" are played.Many people still hates "METALLICA" or "LINKIN PARK" but still many more likes it....in fact crazy for it.

    Talking about rock and classical together,i remember i heard a chorus performance of Beatles and Pt.Ravi Shankar.Believe it or not it was awesome.So together sometimes they create magic also ..other than creating headache and pain.

    So its not your fault for that headache.Its just because you had a deep root of classical music sense which makes you feel pathetic when you hear jazz and hard rock as they don't come near our legends i.e nazrul geeti and rabindra sangeet.

    As we say "CHANGE IS INEVITABLE"....so lets hope someday you will like both these two trends and write a new post about their fusion.
    Hope you pardon my spelling and punctuation mistakes.

  4. Now this is ridiculous and contemptuous flattery Anabadya. Neither do I have a deep rooted classical sense, and nor do I think you grew up listening to rock! It's less than a decade since when Rock started growing popular in India! And about that duet performance, i think i showed you that. And where did I say Jazz feels painful to my ears? Please read the article before commenting. Such stupid comments will be deleted henceforth...

  5. Well i was asked to comment on this post,so i posted my views dear.If you didn't like it and found it "ridiculous and contemptuous flattery",you can delete my comments anytime without waiting for the forthcoming "stupid" comments.

  6. Come on, Rochishnu,
    If you had really wanted sane commentary, you would have asked only people who have some training in music (and have a ear for it - any music teacher will tell you what that means) to write in!

    Just one thing: rock fascination is by and large something that involves pampered and 'cool' urban teenagers who go to so-called 'English medium' schools: that's only a very tiny fraction of the populace, so their opinions do not count for much. Also, the herd instinct plays a very powerful role here - few people have any genuine personal tastes, they just desperately want to be 'in' with their peer groups. It's just like cricket and joining IT-companies being de rigeur. The overwhelming majority of them outgrow the fascination by the time they are 30 anyway, and even feel very silly about it. So why bother? You have your own tastes, cultivate them lovingly, and don't ask all and sundry for their opinions!

  7. Dear Rochi,
    I think rock music is liked generally by the urban, escapist youth who never know what exactly they want.It does cause some genuine pain to ears if not to the head for some people, some people wouldn't acknowledge though.Going mad is something that is 'cool' for the these fellows and perhaps helps them forget the world for sometime.
    As for music,it soothes my mind.I listen to music in any kind of a mood and it helps either by making my feelings stronger or by getting me relaxed.As you have already mentioned there are beautiful songs for every kind of emotion.I don't get the point in going for music that causes additional pain when we are already down,depressed or angry, when there are songs that can make us feel better!Afterall the purpose of music is to relax us when we get time from our hectic daily schedules!
    Anabadya perhaps can do better by listening to few more beetles' songs!They were not a rock band if I am not wrong.

  8. Dear Rochisnu,
    I don't generally write in blogs but couldn't resist commenting on the topic you have chosen! After reading all the comments I found that most of them lack the proper knowledge about the different genres of music! For example the person named Anurag has confused Rock with Hard Rock or Metal. First of all, Rock and Roll itself has many children like the Classic Rock( You can listen to the British band 'Dire Straits' in this context), Acoustic Rock, Country Rock( A few songs of John Denver), Hard Rock, Metal and many more!
    So it is clear that Rock doesn't mean only hard or metal, head banging or shouting with a cracked voice. There are many songs that are soothing and inspirational even if they fall under the category of Rock ( Listen to songs like 'Coming Back to Life', 'Wish you were here' by Pink Floyd, 'My Sweet Lord', 'While my guitar gently weeps' by George Harrison and Eric Clapton). I find many people of my age who associate pain and depression with Rock, but it is not exactly so! Rock originated from the emotion that inspires us to revolt, not to accept anything without reason, doing things off the track! As a matter of fact I find the Rabindrasangeet 'Bidhir Bandhon katbe tumi emon shoktimaan' as much 'Rock' as any Rock can aspire to be! Someone else commented that our classical music is greater than Jazz or Western music. That person must first understand that Jazz is as complex and requires as much devotion as our Indian Classical music. Speaking of greatness without knowing and understanding the parameters of music is quite shameful! Now speaking of Metal, it is a genre which employs things like heavy distortion and noisy percussions. It may have an appeal to many urban youth who understand nearly nothing about music and want to show that they are 'cool' and carefree but I don't listen to metal because I don't want to go deaf before age and I advice you to do the same. Now an advice for people who are feeling depressed or agony in an urban way, listen to the 'Blues' or our own 'Baul' or 'Lokgeeti' for that matter because they originated in the villages!
    P.S. Hope you are well! Keep up the good work.

  9. Rochishnu,
    I was a little worried when I read the title of this post on your Sir's blog. For half a sec' there I was almost wondering whether this was a post on the merits of heavy metal. I wonder why you wonder why other people like heavy metal…That said - sometimes it's nice to ponder on why one doesn't like the things that other people seem to...I've always found heavy metal annoying and irritating and have disliked it with a gusto, and have never wondered about it. But I have wondered why I might like a walk through the woods when some others don’t.

    There are some specific songs by other groups that I find rather interesting. I don’t know how the songs would be categorized – but you can try some songs. Try ‘Who am I’ by Divine Comedy, and see whether you like it. Some others would be ‘Out to get you’ and ‘Somewhere’ by James, ‘Coming back to Life’ by Pink Floyd, ‘Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby’ by The Counting Crows, and ‘Wading in the Velvet Sea’ by Phish.…and you might try out some singers like James Taylor, David Grey, and Jeff Buckley – although I honestly don’t know what category they belong to.

    And heavy metal and hard rock aside - if you're talking of different sorts of 'rock' music - you might try out some songs by U2. Try some of their songs on their album ‘All that you can’t leave behind’ (‘Kite’, ‘Stuck in a moment’, ‘Grace’, ‘Walk On’) and some of their older songs - ‘I still haven’t found what I am looking for’ and ‘Running to a Standstill’. I indeed was absolutely besotted with U2 at one point in time. I have to grin and say that Suvroda has a point – but I still like some of their songs (and not just the ones I listed), and some other songs by different groups, which I wouldn’t share in public – but they do seem to have a time and a place…

    And if you don’t like any of them – that’s fine too, isn’t it? You like the music that you do. And as your Sir points out – you won’t really be losing out on anything enormously precious and priceless….if you have a ear for music and like the music you do – so be it.

    The one thing about rock music that rather distresses me is that the lyrics don't always mean what I think they mean. The lyrics are always somewhat ambiguous and sometimes too repetitive....and one thinks that they may mean something grand but that doesn’t seem to be the case for many of the songs that I found interesting at one point. Yet inspite of all the cons – some of the songs have found a home with me, and they don’t seem to want to leave.

    This is a rather amusing post, inspite of the strange topic...somewhat like the one on smoking...wonder whether I commented there.
    Keep writing.

  10. 對物要珍惜,對事要盡心,對人要感恩。 ..................................................