Popular Music History, Vol 6, No 1/Vol 6, no 2 (2011)

'How you gonna see me now': Recontextualizing metal artists and moral panics

Brad Klypchak
Issued Date: 14 May 2012


Three acts, Black Sabbath, KISS, and Alice Cooper, are unquestionably influential in terms of their respective impacts on the history of heavy metal as a musical form, its subcultural development, and its extended reach into the consciousness of larger popular culture practices. In particular, each act pushed the bounds of perceived social propriety, sparking controversy and a series of conservative protests reflective of moral panic. Now, decades later, the same artists are no longer threatening. Rather, they are welcomed into mainstream popular culture, despite maintaining many of the very actions deemed offensive or profane years ago. In the article, it is argued that through conscious acts of reversion, each artist has recontextualized the meanings loaded onto their past careers while subsequently adding new layers of discursive considerations to heavy metal’s own conceptualization of rebellion and resistance as well as its ongoing historic legacy.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v6i1/2.38


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