It’s important to break out of a ‘cultural rut’ in order to expose oneself to different forms of culture and to avoid repetition of one form of pop culture. The podcast segment discussed a factor of a ‘cultural rut’ as doing something for the comfort of familiarity. I have been in a similar rut before because I’ve found myself watching TV shows or listening to a certain type of music because it’s popular and I’ve seen it around or it’s due to my friends influence. I currently don’t believe I’m in a ‘cultural rut’ because as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate other types of art that is not “popular”-especially with my age group. I enjoy discovering new types of music as well as watching films or TV shows that are international or produced by a not as well known company. Something that struck me in the NPR podcast was that some advice that was given was to not lament what’s popular today like new technology, etc. but to try to engage in the best of something that you don’t usually grasp. I thought this was good advice because some individuals hate pop culture simply because it’s too mainstream regardless of the content or whether they actually enjoy it or not. The advice to keep an open mind about everything sends a good message to everyone trying to explore various forms of pop culture.
The piece of pop culture I chose to explore was metal music. I listened to Korn’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1 album. I was able to access the album off of my Apple Music account. It was a digital soundtrack I was able to listen to through my subscription. I chose this album because I am a big music fan except for when it comes to metal or heavy metal music. I was familiar with the band, Korn, and knew they were metal music so I thought it would be a good type of pop culture that would get me out of my comfort zone. I actually had a Korn doll when I was younger that must have been a promotional item, so I had been familiar with the band’s name for a long time, but never really listened to their music. It’s outside of my wheelhouse because I don’t listen to this genre of music at all. This is a big deal to me because I’m very into music and discovering new types of music or songs, so I never would have had the confidence to this type of music.
I personally didn’t enjoy the experience. I am typically a big music fan but not when it comes to metal music. I thought for this assignment I would try it out to see how I would feel after listening to it. Listening to the songs on the album made me feel on edge and almost uncomfortable. I think there is an intended audience for Korn’s type of music because it does have such a strong effect with its intense lyrics and musical elements. The singer sounds like he is yelling and the instruments are played at a harder tone. However, I believe anyone can like this type of music. Music taste varies with everyone, so I don’t think one type of music is made for someone specifically. After listening to the album, I don’t think I will seek out other artists similar to this genre of music. I’m glad I listened to this genre because I personally believe it’s important to be knowledgeable in all forms of pop culture and media. I would have never listened to this album if it weren’t for this assignment. I would have to agree that I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone with this piece of pop culture.
The Korn brand is very unique. The band is portrayed as very dark and scary and the names of the songs are aggressive. Korn has been around since 1993 and is considered Nu Metal, which is a genre of music that is metal combined with other various genres of music. In the reading we looked at for class, The Faces in Lonesome’s Crowd: Imagining the Mass Audience in A Face in the Crowd by Courtney Maloney, there was a point about high art dying as opposed to popular culture and how David Manning White used NBC’s premiere of Shakespeare’s Richard III as a defense of mass culture. I think this can relate to my piece of pop culture because Korn is identified as pop culture, but metal music itself is not a popular genre of music and is certainly not considered “high art” which is why some people may disregard it. You can listen to one of Korn’s song via the link below.
Maloney, C. (2012). The Faces in Lonesome’s Crowd: Imagining the Mass Audience in A Face in the Crowd. (257-259)