Males making a career of being blue: masculinity and moroseness in alternative music

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These are current male-fronted artists which I think fit the bill. Obviously there are many more, but as a convenient litmus test, this works. Of course, I could dredge my music library for similarly sad women-fronted bands, but it can be argued that male-fronted bands such as the above have more of a notorious emotional traction and social impact than emotional girl bands like Emmy The Great or P.S Eliot.

Why is that male-fronted bands are more easily notorious for emotionality than any similarly visceral girl-fronted bands? Is it that music is classically a boys’ game and thus there are comparatively fewer sad women musicians? Further discussion with my co-worker elucidated this theory: it is socially acceptable for women to be ‘emotional’, to engage with the poetic, chaotic side of their brains and to channel emotionality into something creative. Thus, for a male to do it, it grates upon the status quo.

This can arbitrarily be correlated to the Morrissey-sanctioned aesthetic image of the sensitive poetic male; the effeminate, alienated masculinity attempting to find a place for themselves within the archetypal social male mould and failing. Thus, they embrace their sensitivity or even hyperbolise and exploit it creatively as a redirected brand of masculinity. And this brand of masculinity has thrived in the creative environment of music.

I can’t speculate as to what the social connotation of this thriving is, perhaps simply that the aesthetic of the sensitive, poetic, artistic male has caught vogue. Yet it’s interesting to note that this image has nowadays become so universally accepted in rock music (classically an aggressively male venture), males now dominate in the field of ‘emotional’ indie rock.

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18 Responses to Males making a career of being blue: masculinity and moroseness in alternative music

  1. Pingback: 10/30 – Punk Rock, Goth & Horror | popularmusicandmasculinity

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