high-distortion rock: the sensitive side

My Patient Husband and I mock one another’s music. It’s like a hobby, even though many times we enjoy the same music. We’re equal-opportunity mockers: we also mock our own, and frequently mock the singers themselves.

Me: What is this song about?
Him: It’s about four minutes long.
Me: No, really, I like my music to make sense.
Him: {wisely falls silent}
Me: Well, sensible music….and Roxette.

Keep in mind, I like Daughtry and the last two albums I’ve bought have both been Daughtry. One of my favorite songs off the first album is “Over You.” It has imagery. It has Big Guitars. It has a rocking beat. It has anger. It has that anticlimactic final note like, “Yeah, whatever, I’m over you.” Awesome work, right?


I’m slowly getting closure, I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
I’m picking up the pieces, spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.

I said to my Patient Husband, “Well, that’s what manhood is reduced to: slowly getting closure and finally getting better.”

Awed, he replied, “I don’t know if David Lee Roth even knew what closure was!”

Where’s the anger? Not that it’s bad, but when did psychoemotional fluency become a part of the larger definition of masculinity?

Now let’s take my second-least-favorite Rob Thomas/Matchbox 20 song:

I think you’re so mean. I think we should try.
I think I could need this in my life.
I think I’m just scared. I know too much
I can’t relate and that’s a problem.

I can’t relate and that’s a problem?!?

And who over the age of seven says “I think you’re so mean”?

David Lee Roth would have said, “Here’s how I relate!” and broken something over his amplifier.

Don’t get me wrong: the fact is, it’s a positive shift that American culture has become more aware of its underlying emotions, and it would be even better if we could translate that into lasting marriages and happy families.

But what we’re seeing here is actually a very different phenomenon: I think the music industry realized just how much money women were spending on harder rock music. Because in general (as the movie industry has known for two decades) women will listen to something their male partner wants to hear, but men will tend not to want to listen to music that sounds like it should be female. (Not the gender of the singers, but the target audience.)

So in order to make $ by the boatload, groups like Daughtry and Nickelback are inserting female-oriented lyrics into their male-oriented music. Thus creating road trips where I pick music I know my Patient Husband will like, and my Patient Husband picks music that he knows he likes, and there’s some crossover.

Clever, isn’t it? We both win.

It’s not the musicians who have become emotionally savvy. It’s the marketing gurus.