Why do we like "dark" things?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by frogman81, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. frogman81

    frogman81 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    301
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Just wondering what you guys think it is that attracts us metal heads to all things macabre. Why are skulls everywhere, why do Stage theatrics like Slipknot, Ghost BC, Rob Zombie, Gwar, etc... seem to work so well? Those are even tame compared to say, lyrics from almost any Cannibal Corpse/Thy Art is Murder song. I would say that I'm a pretty happy person, yet I certainly eat up the dark/spooky/horror imagery and themes. What gives??
     
  2. col

    col blah.

    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    108
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Finland
    Because it's exciting and let's the imagination fly? You can't really make a song with melodies that evoke images of horror, then make the lyrics about accounting or used car sales. :D
     
  3. pink freud

    pink freud SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    496
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    Sadness is more memorable than happiness. Really quickly, name some of the most famous movies or plays you can think of. How many of them are tragedies? How many have conflict? It is no stranger for a happy person to listen to dark music than it is for a happy person to like Macbeth or Lovecraft.
     
  4. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

    Messages:
    8,913
    Likes Received:
    1,613
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    This. the lyrics "Let the blood of all humanity spill" (TAIM) has far more impact than "Uptown Funk gon' give it to ya" (Bruno Mars) even if it isn't from as catchy of a song. Heavy music generally paints a more vivid/original picture in my mind about what the song is about or what's going on than something more mainstream/happy/party/yolo/whatever.

    As for skulls, blood, and Slipkot or GWAR-esque theatrics, I'm not really sure what the appeal is since I've never been into it :shrug: I guess there's the aspect of it all being so over-the-top or extreme visually that draws people in, you know?
     
  5. b1gm3

    b1gm3 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Southampton, England
    When I was younger, it seemed super edgy and that was a big draw. Since I've become acclimatised to metal and the surrounding scene, it's less interesting to me, although I will admit all the intrigue around the Norwegian black metal scene drew me in out of morbid curiosity.


    I tend to find that this ultimately ends up being divided two ways:

    1) Hilarious
    Bands that try super hard to be very scary and end up sounding like they were named by a 15 year old with a thesaurus

    2) Cathartic
    When I come across genuinely dark/angry etc music I personally find it something of a release when in the sort of mood where it seems relevant.
     
  6. b1gm3

    b1gm3 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Southampton, England
    EDIT Double post, my ISP is terrible.
     
  7. DredFul

    DredFul Maple fretboard enthusiast

    Messages:
    589
    Likes Received:
    57
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Location:
    Finland
    Interesting topic!

    Certainly there are lots of factors to take in count. Some enjoy it for the shock factor, some just like gruesome art. I mean Pewdiepie has said that he likes his art melancholy and kind of scary. I personally also enjoy darker topics on art. Gets me thinking and I just find some weird fascination in Slipknot lyrics, certain type of horror films etc.
    Also I think Vsauce or someone made a video about the topic. I'll see if I can find when I get out of bed :lol: but the main point was that scary things give us a sort of adrenaline boost which feels good. That's why you feel tempted to read creepypasta or watch The Grudge, because if you manage to do it, you can consider yourself brave.

    A bit offtopic here but:

    I see music genres as kind of movies. Pop being some romantic comedy and metal being horror movies. And in horror movies we have those slasher films and then the films that focus more on the psychologic horror which kind of represent the spectrum of metal lyrics, Cannibal Corpse on the other end and Slipknot on the other end.
     
  8. Floppystrings

    Floppystrings banned

    Messages:
    3,190
    Likes Received:
    440
    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    Everyone is obsessed with death, but in metal since lots of people aren't religious they kind of mock the idea of death.

    The shock factor was just like a horror movie, you image something gross, and laugh and think it is creative. If you are a square with no sense of humor, than you would be offended.

    In the genre though a lot of bands have done a really poor job at this, and it stopped being cool in the early 90's. Unless you are Cannibal Corpse, I usually view gore lyrics as immature.

    I'm not about to show some cute girl I know that has never heard death metal some Infant Annihilator.
     
  9. acrcmb

    acrcmb SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Most that stuff listed isn't dark to me it's just some try hard attempt to be edgy, a truly dark person to me isn't someone whole likes skulls and sings about horror and gore it's someone like Ian Curtis who was on the edge of suicide and channelling that it to some pretty dark songs.

    I just think there's an obvious difference between the music of someone who finds the macabre cool and outwardly expresses it and someone who quietly contemplates death on a serious level. One is a lot more genuine and more relatable because it taps into the universal things we as humans contemplate when we're left to our own thoughts during a dark time, things like how pointless our existence is or who would care if we died, the other is just theatre.
     
  10. McKay

    McKay ʎɐʞɔW

    Messages:
    1,546
    Likes Received:
    295
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    lol speak for yourself



    heavy =! dark
     
  11. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

    Messages:
    5,197
    Likes Received:
    2,071
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Location:
    Gothenburg, SWE
    Humans are designed to handle life-threatening danger on a daily basis. But ever since getting civilized we haven't really been getting that anymore, so via public executions and corporal punishments in the town square we've ended up with heavy metal and MMA tv instead.

    We've basically gone too soft for our own hormones.
     
  12. Aion

    Aion SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    381
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Location:
    DC
    I like dramatic music which tends to have bolder shifts between dark/morbid and uplifting/powerful. Aside from that my music tastes tend to go slightly ambiguous. It's hard to say whether what is being played is, "happy," or "sad," and seems to move between the two in a way that is unsettling. I personally find that more interesting then the pure, "dark death decapitates diligently," (after all, words that start with D are the best for metal), and pop stuff.
     
  13. gorthul

    gorthul SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    58
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2013
    Location:
    Germany
  14. AdamMaz

    AdamMaz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,102
    Likes Received:
    428
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    I would re-word some of this, but this argument is essentially in line with what I would have responded, based on much philosophical/ethical/existential/erotic reading.
     
  15. odibrom

    odibrom .

    Messages:
    5,796
    Likes Received:
    3,689
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Location:
    ... perto de onde a terra acaba e o mar começa...
    ... because when we look up at night we see spots of light in the dark, this to say that darkness is all around us, darkness is the void and where imagination begins. Darkness is where all things are born. Evefy little thing we do is to confront darkness, therefore, we metalheads, are simply looking at the origin of things, all things. The rest is just superficial...

    ... or maybe not...
     
  16. Overtone

    Overtone SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,329
    Likes Received:
    235
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    Because of the last world in SMB 3
     
  17. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    5,100
    Likes Received:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Location:
    Londonderry, N.Ireland, UK
    Honestly though most death and extreme bands could be singing about cookie recipes, instruction manuals, being silly and non would be the wiser.
     
  18. chickenxnuggetz91

    chickenxnuggetz91 What kind of sauce?

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    28
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Wow, I have thought of this question, but I'm glad we are going in depth into it.
     
  19. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

    Messages:
    4,588
    Likes Received:
    447
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Because people like different things. I listen to more metal than anything else, and I'm definitely not attracted to macabre things, I find the lyrics and presentation of most extreme metal ridiculous, hate horror movies, etc. I just like the music.
     
  20. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Location:
    Worcester, MA
    Mortality and the inevitability of loss are things that everybody has to face. "Dark" art- music, movies, photos, paintings, etc. can be a way of confronting or processing those realities in a constructive way. For me, it's therapeutic- the more comfortable I am with some of the darker parts of reality, the more I value what the "lighter" things.
     

Share This Page