Nine reasons why glam metal sucks
Sunday, August 7, 2022
Glam metal was a subgenre of heavy metal that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Glam metal was characterized by its flashy visual style, which included exaggerated make-up, extravagant clothes, and big hair. Musically, glam metal was a fusion of heavy metal and hard rock, with bands often incorporating elements of pop music into their songwriting.
Glam metal quickly became one of the most popular genres of heavy metal in the 1980s, with bands such as Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Warrant achieving massive commercial success. However, by the early 1990s, glam metal had begun to fall out of favor with both fans and critics. Many blamed the genre's decline on its over-the-top image and musical style, which they felt had become clichéd and formulaic.
In retrospect, it's easy to see why glam metal fell out of favor in the early 1990s. The genre was plagued by an influx of copycat bands that lacked originality or substance, and its image had become a caricature of itself. However, there were also some great bands working within the glam metal idiom, and many of them have aged surprisingly well. Here are nine reasons why glam metal sucks.
1. It was all about image over substance.
For many bands, looking good was more important than making good music. This was especially true of the so-called "hair bands" of the 1980s, who spent more time on their hairstyles and makeup than on writing decent songs. As a result, many glam metal bands ended up releasing shallow, unimaginative music that lacked any real depth or feeling.
2. It was incredibly formulaic.
Glam metal bands tended to stick to a very specific formula: write catchy hooks, look good in videos, play fast guitar solos, etc. This formula led to a lot of cookie-cutter music that sounded exactly the same. Even worse, it resulted in a lot of bands that didn't even bother trying to be original or interesting; they just wanted to cash in on the latest trend.
3. It was often painfully clichéd.
Glam metal was full of clichés, from the spandex-clad musicians to the bad boy image to the power ballads about lost love. This made it difficult for bands to be taken seriously, and it also made it hard for fans to connect with the music on a personal level. After a while, it all started to feel very contrived and fake.
4. The lyrics were often cringe-worthy.
Glam metal lyrics tended to be either incredibly corny or shockingly vulgar, with little middle ground. On one hand, you had bands like Poison singing about party girls and debauchery, while on the other hand you had bands like Warrant singing about lost love and broken hearts. Either way, it wasn't always easy to take the lyrics seriously.
5. The musicianship was often lacking.
Let's face it: not all glam metal bands were created equal when it came to musicianship. For every band like Guns N' Roses that featured talented musicians who could actually play their instruments, there were dozens of lesser bands whose musicianship was rudimentary at best. This made it hard to take some bands seriously as "serious" musicians.
6. It was too focused on commercial success.
Many glam metal bands were more interested in selling records and achieving mainstream success than in making good music. This led to a lot of watered-down, poppy songs that lacked any real edge or attitude. As a result, many fans felt that the music had sold out and lost its integrity.
7. It was overly reliant on image and marketing gimmicks.
Because they were so focused on commercial success, many glam metal bands relied heavily on image and marketing gimmicks to sell their records. This included everything from using sex appeal to selling branded merchandise like t-shirts and hats. In the end, this made many fans feel like they were being exploited rather than entertained.
8. It spawned a wave of copycat bands.
As glam metal became more popular in the 1980s, a wave of copycat bands emerged that tried to cash in on the genre's success without adding anything new or interesting to the mix. These bands tended to be even more shallow and formulaic than the originals, further contributing to the decline of glam metal in the early 1990s.
9. It became increasingly insular and self-indulgent.
As glam metal declined in popularity, many of its key players became increasingly insular and self-indulgent, alienating both fans and critics alike. This is perhaps best exemplified by Mötley Crüe's 1991 album Decade of Decadence, which featured such uninspired songs as "Primal Scream" and "Smoking in the Boys Room." By this point, it was clear that the genre had run out of steam creatively.