Hair Metal = Emo Cheese?

Yet another excerpt from Post, this time from the epilogue chapter entitled "Pause":

The kind of excitement around these young bands is different than the way it used to be. “I think it’s more akin to the hair metal scene of the late ‘80s,” Scott Schoenbeck says. “People were excited about that too. I mean come on, bands nowadays do autograph sessions and synchronize their ‘rock moves.’”

Schoenbeck brings up an excellent point: a lot of these cheesy emo bands are very much like the hair metal bands in the 1980s. I'm talking the same tackiness that can be seen in almost any mass-marketed genre, but with many similarities between these two. Cheesmo (emo + cheese, get it?) bands have messy hair, wear tight vintage clothing and play wimpy pop songs while hair metal had big hair, wore tight leather outfits, ripped jeans and shirts and performed overblown pop songs with guitar solos. Just like it happened with hair metal, cheesmo is becoming more of a joke that is due to even more mocking in the next few years.

It's hard for me to avoid the garbage that is peddled to "kids" who don't know any better. I see these bands in some of the magazines I read, the featured profiles on MySpace's frontpage and plastered all over a music channel like Fuse. We're having a sensory overload meltdown of bands all looking the same and sounding the same, thus creating a (gasp!) vacuum. Just what is the appeal of wearing tight clothing, singing through your nose and serving up watered-down, noodly pop songs? Don't even tell me that "this is what the kids are into!" People once labeled as "the kids" were into stuff like ska and neo-swing a few years ago, but where are those "kids" now? Probably not listening to that at all but if they are, it's in small doses.

Oftentimes I think of hair metal as a great big party that everybody attended one night and swore that they didn't attend the following morning. A lot of the attraction to hair metal, cheesmo and other forms of music is that of spectacle. These band members are people that you look at in awe. These are not the kind of people you would think of as regular human beings with everyday wants and needs. People used to think that CC Deville, Stephen Percy and Jani Lane were gods; now those same fans try and pretend like such connotations never truly existed. If this kind of fandom is only on a surface level then what makes me think these cheeseball emo bands are here for the long haul?

The simple answer is that no, they ain't gonna be around for a string of solid albums in the next few years. "The kids" will eventually grow up and find other forms of music to dig and enjoy. I think it will be very interesting to see who blows these pop bands in vintage outfits out of the water. As a friend told me a few months ago, "The next Nirvana or next At the Drive-In is playing in some garage somewhere; not on some stage."

I wonder how much people would pay to see a nostalgia act comprised of these bands. While you can go see hair metal bands on the cheap, drink heavily and have a good time, I doubt today's 16-year-olds will do the same when the Hawthorne Heights/Fall Out Boy/Taking Back Sunday nostalgia package tour rolls in through town in 2015.


Eric said…
Per usual, you are spot on with your comments. It's getting chilly in Chicago though, but due to recent events, I probably won't make it out to the show next week. Check my blog for details.