Unending Eruptions: White-Collar Metal Appropriations of Classical Complexity, Experimentation, Elitism, and Cultural Legitimization

Eric Smialek, Méi-Ra St-Laurent

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Keir Keightley's two-part aesthetic division reveals how the aesthetic strategies of musicians and musical preferences of fans correspond with social categories related to class. By focusing on modernist authenticity, the authors provide a sampling of what they might call "white-collar" aesthetics in metal. The authors address social class not in terms of income, and only partially in terms of education, but rather in terms of beliefs and taste values, drawing implicitly on Pierre Bourdieu's theories of cultural legitimation and explicitly on Keightley's work on opposing ideals of rock authenticity. Keightley's distinction between "romantic" and "modernist" authenticities is a useful conceptual tool since genres of popular music, including various metal subgenres, tends to align neatly to one category or the other. The authors focus on metal that idealizes the other column, modernist authenticity. The Pantera riff's idiomatic simplicity aligns more with the pursuit of tradition and all things "natural" characteristic of romantic authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis
Subtitle of host publicationExpanding Approaches
EditorsCiro Scotto, Kenneth M. Smith, John Brackett
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781315544700
ISBN (Print)9780367570545, 9781138683112
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRoutledge Music Companions

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