Nu Metal: The Generation Gap

My neighbor is only a few years younger than me, and from an outsider’s perspective, we could be brothers–or cousins.  But to me, there is a gap–distinguished most acutely by his playlist.  I had just found an Electric Wizard song I thought he might like, so I put it on.  In response, he played a remixed Korn song blathered on for what seemed like 10 minutes.

The line had been drawn.  Korn is just shit music.  Always has been.  And like most kids my age, we picked up Black Sabbath, Metallica, GnR, RATM, and Tool, but something different came from this overproduced, over-dramatic sound that battered the ears of high school grads of the mid-late ’90s.  The list of bands that instantly comes to mind: Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Papa Roach, Slipknot.  To my grandfather, this would seem a distinction without a difference, “Turn that CRAP OFF!,” but not surprisingly, there is a complete sub-genre defined by this sound: Nu Metal.  Apparently it was too much to spell the word “new” in its entirety.

This music represented a watering down of something raw and, though not pure, closer to real.  Closer to my reality.  Higher production values couldn’t fool me into sympathizing with the whiny lyrics and forced anger of these guys.  They just didn’t have anything to be that upset about.  It just sounded like my little brother crapping his pants and blaming it on someone else.  No amount of double base pedaling is gonna make that O.K.


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