Spinner.com recently conducted an interview with singer/songwriter and pianist Tori Amos. In this interview, Tori decided to call out heavy metal, saying it can’t touch the soul and that it has no emotion. Before I tell you my thoughts, here are her exact words (courtesy of Spinner.com):
“Well, look, sometimes you don’t know how music affects people. I embrace that because I don’t think that just because I talk about emotional stuff that it’s not motherfucker stuff. I’ll stand next to the hardest fucking heavy metal band on any stage in the world and take them down, alone, by myself. Gauntlet laid down, see who steps up. See who steps up! I’ll take them down at 48. And they know I will. Because emotion has power that the metal guys know is just you can’t touch it. Insanity can’t touch the soul. It’s going to win every fucking time.”
Check after the jump for my response to Tori and her words.
Allow me to begin this statement by saying that I have a great deal of respect for your music and your history as a musician. Your music is indeed powerful, emotional, and has a great deal of soul. That being said, your statement that heavy metal cannot touch the soul is pure nonsense and, more importantly, incredibly ignorant. If this were honestly the case, metal would not be as strong a movement as it is now. If this were the case, then please explain to me why Metallica’s ‘Black Album’ is currently the top-selling album of the Soundscan era. Is it because a vast population is, as you put it, insane?
How about we tackle your statement that metal guys don’t understand the power of emotion. Again, your ignorance astounds me! Listen to Opeth’s ‘Hope Leaves’ and tell me that metal bands do not understand emotion. Listen to Alice In Chains’ ‘Nutshell’, Pain Of Salvation’s ‘Undertow’, Karnivool’s ‘New Day’, Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’, and countless other songs that come from metal bands whose writers bare their souls and pain as a means of catharsis and personal growth. I cannot tell you the number of times that a metal song has taken my breath away due to it’s sheer beauty. And these songs would not have been able to so had their not been that distortion, that intensity, to push them to such extremes.
To say that heavy metal guys do not understand emotion suggests that other genres DO understand emotion. I can stand here and say that radio bubblegum pop is utterly devoid of emotion. Hip hop is nothing but trivial, misogynistic anthems. Classical is nothing but boring background elevator music. Know right now that I do not actually believe these statements and that they are only examples. But if I were to turn my attention to YOUR style of music, this singer/songwriter genre, do you realize how easy it would be for me to say that you and all other artists in your genre have been saying nothing new for countless years? Your lyrics might be personal to you, but the overarching themes have been said before innumerable times. Your general message hasn’t said anything new since the first album you put out. And yet your music speaks to people. Why? Because your emotion and your feelings come through with the final product. So to does the music and lyrics of heavy metal.
You say the gauntlet is laid down and you challenge any metal band to prove you wrong? Mrs. Amos, it seems you do not realize who you are dealing with. We heavy metal fans are passionate, emotional, real human beings who will defend our culture tooth and nail. Because that is our soul.