Sunday, March 6, 2011

Girls against boys

Yesterday in the comments about Bob Mould, Rino mused "I wonder why it's only guys at his concerts. I've taken it as a personal mantra that music which doesn't appeal to chicks also is missing something." I've been thinking on this and it is a conundrum. As such, I went to my secret underground laboratory in the desert to undertake extensive testing on why men and women like certain types of music. If you haven't seen my laboratory, it's where Eminem and Dr Dre did tests on 50 Cent in the In da club video. They were pretty happy because I got them some decent hire rates as the manager really liked that song with Dido in it.

Anyhow, not to undermine Rino's thesis, after extensive testing I think it's less a case of 'what's missing' and is more 'what it's got' which is the 'problem' for females. And 'what it's got' can be technically described as chug. For those unfamiliar with the term chug, it is the repetitive use of a single chord on guitar played in a downstroke over and over. Observe Jawbreaker perform some chug:

So on one end of the spectrum you would have Delta Goodrem (no chug) and on the other you would have Cannibal Corpse (non-stop 24/7 chug). In between there are multiple permutations of chug and absence of chug.

So in the name of science, I have analyzed a bunch of well known artists based on the relative levels of chug and gauged their interests by males and females:

So the results show the following:

A: Interest of females decreases when a band has increased levels of chug.

B: Interest of males is less affected by chug across the spectrum although they prefer chug.

C: Female interest versus chug for Sufjan Stevens was slightly skewed because he is cute.

D: Boys were less inclined towards the chug of Helmet because they don’t like being barked at.

E: All males secretly love Slayer.

F: All females not-so-secretly hate Slayer.

G: Radiohead have the perfect combination of chug and non-chug for both men and women.

H: Nick Cave is slightly creepy so it affects his interest level amongst females.

I: Antony – what’s up with that?

J: Metallica rulez.

From these sweeping generalisations and totally made up research, we can determine to what level a male and female will like a particular type of music. Boys like their chug but can listen to music where it is absent while females are a lot less keen on the chug (but it’s not a total deterrent). That being said, there are a number of variants such as bass frequency, groove theory, male/female artist, genre, recording technique, environment, access, cuteness of band member, timbre of singer's voice, Bono, message, backing vocals, room acoustics, headphone quality, age of recording, and the possibility of a Snoop cameo. So, pretty much everything I've written above is not true except the bit where I said Metallica rulez.

I guess I'm not taking this very seriously but just as action films are predominantly made for teenage boys while Twilight movies are made for teenage girls (Sex and the City movies are made for people with no taste), I don't think there's anything wrong in a genre that skews to a particular gender. I'm sure there's a crossover for most genres (surely there must be at least one female Slayer fan in the world) but as the discussion on Bob was about yesterday - music taste is arbitrary and personal so gender shouldn't really matter. A perfect example is the Eagles - regardless of your gender, if you like their songs then your music taste is just fucked.



  1. Plus - I'm sure the split is almost a statistically perfect 50/50 at Eagles concerts. For guys: They Play The Hits! FOr gals: They Still Look Good And Put on Good SHow (with interval).

    When I grow up, I want to go to Chug University.

  2. I don't know about that Rino, have you seen Joe Walsh recently? All that money isn't going on beauty therapy that's for sure.

    Chug University will welcome you with open arms but it has everything to do with not growing up. Chug on, my friend, chug on...

  3. i guess that makes me a chug wild-card then. I love my chug, slayer AND I'm female. I think there may need to be some discussion on Equal-Chug-Opportunity. I believe the generalisation that females don't like chug is not so much due to the chug, as it is the extreme *displeasure* of going to shows surrounded by guys throwing their weight around in what can be quite intimidating and a total hindrance to enjoying the music (live).

  4. Oh Claire, you're always the wild card. Nobody likes the weight throwing sweaty dudes except the weight throwing sweaty dudes. You're absolutely right - chug following may be affected by it's predominant fan base rather than across gender lines. My God, I knew this post would get me into trouble. Let's just say that the Eagles are fucked and we can all listen to what we like. Yay!