Get ready for the onslaught of articles and threads featuring the hair metal disclaimer. What’s that? Let me explain.
The 1970s were the heyday of hard rock. Bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath defined a new genre: loud, aggressive, and exciting. The hallmark was distortion, which implied rawness and authenticity.
Then synthesizers started to make inroads. The first analog synths brought new sounds, and bands like Pink Floyd used them to great effect. Eventually, digital FM synths appeared, and that changed everything.
These devices didn’t just make new types of sounds, but mimicked the sounds of traditional instruments: pianos, horns, strings, drums, and even guitars. Musicians like Peter Gabriel also explored samplers, which digitized acoustic sounds.
These innovations yielded interesting music; some has stood the test of time. (See Gabriel.) But some 1980s rock stars resisted the trend, making their “authentic” chops a differentiator. For example, an album by Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent included a note: “No synthesizers used anywhere on this album.”
This is what I call the “hair metal disclaimer”: a performative reactionary response to new technologies that threaten to diminish the value of a creator’s self-perceived core skills (and therefore, their identity.)
WRT music, the point is now moot. Today, most popular music is electronic. We don’t listen much to the music made in explicit resistance to new tech; the posture seems a quaint affectation. Whether the music is better or worse is a subjective matter. The people have spoken.
I think you know where I’m going with this. With generative machine learning models, many other disciplines are experiencing (or will soon experience) an “FM synth” moment. Expect to start seeing lots of posts, photos, illustrations, songs, etc. featuring hair metal disclaimers.
This post was created without the aid of an ML model.