Media @ McGill

Hélène Laurin

Submitted by Susana on

Journalistic accounts of heavy metal music Heavy metal: pimply, prole, putrid, unchic, unsophisticated, anti-intellectual (but impossibly pretentious), dismal, abysmal, terrible, horrible, and stupid music, barely music at all […]’. So heavy metal music is described by Robert Duncan, a rock critic.” (Weinstein 2000, 1) The least we can say after reading this, is that rock critics don't like heavy metal. However, the rock critics' hostile attitude toward heavy metal has started to change over the last five or ten years (Weinstein 2000, 291). “Yet old habits die hard; the snide put-downs that rock critics always reserved for metal have not disappeared” (Weinstein 2000, 291). I would like to look closely at this oscillation through the discourse of rock criticism on heavy metal, from 1970 until the present, through the lens of legitimation. Inspired by Bourdieu’s theoretical framework, I would like to ask how is the process of legitimizing heavy metal represented and circulated in the discourse of rock criticism through the articles and reviews written by rock critics? What roles does the legitimation of heavy metal fulfill in another legitimation process, i.e. the framing of rock as legitimate culture? A number of ideas will get discussed in this upcoming Ph.D. Thesis, including cultural field, taste, genre and rock and heavy metal cultural geographies.