music Dangerous?
January 27, 2009 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Someone described a musical act's sound to me as "dangerous". What do you think of as dangerous sounding music?
posted by donabean to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Dangerous? If you're into postwar nihilist classical music, this is the piece for you:

Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Gesangsszene zu Giraudoux' Sodom & Gomorrha:

"Hartmann was very interested in the subject of the collapse of civilizations. This large-scale orchestral vocal work of symphonic proportions is based on Jean Giraudoux's "Sodom and Gomorrha."[...]"The words, from Giraudoux’s 1944 play Sodom and Gomorrah, depict undreamed of apocalypse, with evils befalling the "mortgages of God", a louse crawling "on the bald head of the billionaire" and "even the penny and the dime losing their value". [...] In an epilogue the post-human world is described: The waters are pure again, "but it is the water of the deluge." The orchestral part suddenly ends, nine lines before the end of the piece. It was at this point that Hartmann died. However, it was known that the composer intended to end the piece with a spoken and unaccompanied statement of the final two lines of the text. When the work was premiered, all the remaining nine lines were recited.

Ugh. I've got a queasy, slimy feeling in the pit of my stomach just remembering it.
Good times!
posted by aquafortis at 9:55 PM on January 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Something like GG Allin, where you can tell that the guy's actually a little unhinged. (Not so much with other confrontational stuff like Anal Cunt or Big Black, who obviously have a sense of humor about it.) Loud guitars, not played very competently. A drummer that hits hard but doesn't keep time very well. Like if you took the general sound of Raw Power, but subtracted the quality.
posted by equalpants at 9:56 PM on January 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

Boring but hypnotic, like television or the newer U2 stuff.
posted by 517 at 10:13 PM on January 27, 2009

dangerously addictive.
posted by abdulf at 10:23 PM on January 27, 2009

Well, during Letterman's NBC years, Paul Shaffer helmed "The World's Most Dangerous Band." Meanwhile, Guns N' Roses was dubbed the Most Dangerous Band in the World.

But to answer your question, I'd just consider the entire heavy metal genre as being the definition of musically dangerous, along with its brothers, menacing and evil. Basically, it'd be the last kind of music you'd want to start hearing if you were walking alone down a dark alley.

I'd think U2 is as far from dangerous as one can get.

And I'd consider Celine Dion an altogether different kind of dangerous...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:28 PM on January 27, 2009

Bucktown Smif and Wessun
stress Justice
Ante up MOP
posted by Rubbstone at 10:29 PM on January 27, 2009

I was going to suggest stress, but not sure if that's been enforced in my mind by the video.
posted by gregjones at 10:49 PM on January 27, 2009

I'd have to agree with the GG Allin suggestion.
He was dangerous. To himself and others.
Listening to his music can be dangerous (if other people take offense and kick your ass).

I've also always felt that some of the Butthole Surfers earlier stuff, especially live, was dangerous to your mental state (at least temporarily). But that may just be the haze talking.
posted by Seamus at 10:51 PM on January 27, 2009

I'd say I've Been So Mad Lately by Butt Trumpet, or I Hate You by Christian Death. nthing GG Allin.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 11:08 PM on January 27, 2009

"Dangerous music" makes me think of bassline house. On the surface it seems like an unlikely candidate for the label: it's kind of a very feminine counterpart to dubstep, with a lot of R&B style vox, very 4x4 dance-floor oriented, etc. But it's DANGEROUS, apparently, b/c the culture surrounding it just seems to be completely obsessed with weapons, gangs, etc, resulting in raids on the club Niche where the movement took off:

The only gun crime related to nightlife in Sheffield has been with bassline

I almost suspect there's something intrinsic to it that makes people act gully, perhaps in subconscious compensation for its fairly saccharine surface.
posted by moift at 11:15 PM on January 27, 2009

First danger.

My parents divorced when I was 10 years old. I was raised by my mom.
Back then, she was a liberal soul. Always doing good things for other people.

Our door was always open for friends or family who needed a place to stay. I had a first cousin who was a few years older then me. She got into a bit of trouble. It wasn't anything serious but it involved her boyfriend. My aunt hated her boyfriend. My cousin was thrown out the house. She came to stay with us. Eventually, her boyfriend moved in with us too. It was kinda cool. Suddenly, I had an older brother and sister in the house.

Music? My cousin mostly listened to The Faces, Mott the Hoople... I think I heard Maggie May every day of my 10th year.

Her boyfriend liked pot. Lots and lots of pot. I wouldn't say he was stoned all of the time... but most of the time.

One night he came home with a wooden crate full of records. His eyes were red and his smile was wide. My mom was at her night job and my cousin was out with her friends. Without saying a word, he walked over to the stereo system he had set up in the corner of the dining room. It was an awesome stereo. Most of it was stuff he garbage picked and then fixed with a soldering iron on our kitchen table. He even made a custom wood rack to house it all.

He pulled out one record and held it up to me for a quick second. All I saw was some guy with a sword in his hand. He lovingly took the record out of the sleeve and put it on the turntable.

He turned to me and smiled. "Check this shit out" was all he said. He cranked the amplifier up to 11 and just stood there gauging my reaction while the first notes of Electric Funeral hit me in the head like a brick.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 11:25 PM on January 27, 2009

Man, GG Allin FTW. I didn't even think about that.

I came in to recommend The Coup, which is Marxist rap. Not the most dangerous music in the world, though I used to listen to it on my half hour walk to work and always felt like getting into a fight with my boss once I got there.

Well, and then there was that whole album cover incident.
posted by McBearclaw at 11:35 PM on January 27, 2009

Quoting this wikipedia article The menacing sound of "Rumble" (and its title) led to a ban on several radio stations, a rare feat for a song with no lyrics, on the grounds that it glorified juvenile delinquency.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:31 AM on January 28, 2009

For me I'm mostly picking stuff that if you bump somebody while its playing its a wrap. I think that Bucktown is perfect the horns with the reverb and the muting have this sort of low menace that just brings up your hackles. Ante up and stress both do it in a similar way using a mix of treble and and bass in an on and off sort of pattern that quietly amps you up.

I tried tossing this into and meh for the most part
posted by Rubbstone at 1:18 AM on January 28, 2009

Well, I'd say that NSBM (or National Socialist Black Metal) is fairly dangerous music. It crosses over with the "mainstream" pagan/satanic black metal, and easily influenced kids could well start off listening to Cradle of Filth, and via Burzum end up listening to some very dubious stuff indeed. I'd argue that the dodgy morality of some metal bands, and black metal in particular, is probably more dangerous than the equivalent from hip hop (and related genres like grime etc), because I think there's an understanding amongst hip hop fans that there's a degree of acting, of storytelling, in a rapper's lyrics, whereas the posturing and positioning of metal bands all suggests (true or not) that they utterly believe in whatever leftfield moral code they advocate.
posted by iivix at 1:39 AM on January 28, 2009

Masonna is quite dangerous, I recon.

FWIW, I think GG Allin is tragic, not dangerous.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:28 AM on January 28, 2009

Honestly, when I hear someone refer to "dangerous music", it sounds to me like they are taking the music and themselves a little too seriously. The subject might be socially unacceptable, or the sound ominous, or the musician is a nut. Music can't be dangerous unless it's too loud.
posted by gjc at 3:27 AM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yeah, GG Allin is pretty dangerous. Most of the people I know who listen to him are also ex-junkies who piss in cans, so GG Allin can really fuck you up. Some of them are even young women.

You might want to check out Refused's Songs To Fire The Flames Of Discontent, though. It's a bit more coherent, but it's still pretty fucking dangerous.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:28 AM on January 28, 2009

I think GG Allin was a little dangerous. He used to attack people and hurl his own shit at the audience.

What about the fire that killed all those people when Great White's pyrotechnics got out of control?
posted by orme at 4:30 AM on January 28, 2009

Oh wait! Charles Manson seduced many of his followers with his music, right?
posted by orme at 4:32 AM on January 28, 2009

G.G.'s music wasn't dangerous though, he himself was. Similarly, there's nothing inherently dangerous about the sound of those NSBM guys; the crap they promote is the problem. You don't want to be in the audience, but I wouldn't want to be in the audience of a Nazi-supporting "My Little Pony" cover band either. Similarly, you can play black metal without killing band mates, burning churches etc.

You can make a case for disturbing or unsettling music, but when I hear about a band's "dangerous" sound, I translate it as a call to consider the band/fans cool.
posted by ersatz at 5:02 AM on January 28, 2009

In their heyday Throbbing Gristle was perceived of as very threatening, upsetting the social order and whatnot.

I'll second the Butthole surfers, Moving to Florida shocked the hell out of me the first time I heard it.

Wouldn't some of the more hardcore gangsta rap, advocating wanton violence, be considered dangerous?
posted by Max Power at 5:03 AM on January 28, 2009

The only music I would define as dangerous is marshall music.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:37 AM on January 28, 2009

Imagine if outlaw bikers read Pitchfork because they had good taste in music... no, wait, scratch that... if outlaw bikers didn't read Pitchfork because they had good taste in music. It would be the music they cue-up on their stolen iPods on before the meth binge, or play on their jukebox when they're judging the heft of a weighted pool-cue handle when someone holds out money on them.

As to what songs would be on the jukebox in their hideout, it would be an interesting group exercise... everyone would have their own ideas, and the resulting playlist would be a cross-genre catalog of bad-ass.

(Sadly, non-imaginary outlaw bikers like the Allman Brothers, Skynyrd and AC/DC way too much, even the young guys. Not as much into country or metal as you'd think.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:59 AM on January 28, 2009

Ok, it turns out all you need is one of these to make it dangerous.
posted by orme at 6:03 AM on January 28, 2009

Emil Beaulieau or Merzbow are both arguably daangerous for your hearing. Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed.
posted by brevator at 6:09 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

The song Dangerous from Michael Jackson's album Dangerous.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:17 AM on January 28, 2009

Hold on tight, you know she's a little bit dangerous!

On a slightly more serious note, when I was a kid I remember my babysitter bringing over her new Talking Heads cd and blasting Burning Down the House on our stereo. I was absolutely terrified because not only was it so loud, they were actually singing about burning down a house!

I guess dangerousness in music is subjective.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:56 AM on January 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

Any concert by Jimmy Buffet or The Beach Boys without Brian Wilson.
posted by ardgedee at 8:56 AM on January 28, 2009

Early shows from Japan's Hijokaidan

San Francisco's Oxbow feature pugilistic frontman Eugene Robinson

Harry Pussy - recollection of a live HP show here
posted by porn in the woods at 9:13 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Quite a few noise/drone groups play loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage. Not sure if that's what you have in mind.
posted by box at 9:21 AM on January 28, 2009

Math rock and other music in weird time signatures always seems dangerous to me. My Dad, a talented multi-instrumentalist, told me when I was very young that the way you want to play any music is as dangerously as possible, pushing it as close to dissonance as possible without actually creating any.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:44 AM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

My Bloody Valentine's live shows climax with a half hour of "wall of sound" feedback and dissonance that is at the decibel level of a large jet taking off in a small room, the threshold of permanent hearing damage. Earplugs are passed around, and at some venues legal waivers are signed by attendees at the door.
posted by naju at 10:32 AM on January 28, 2009

I'd say that Tool is the most dangerous-sounding band in my record collection. I understand they're a pretty nice bunch of laid-back guys in real life, though, so not physically dangerous in any sense. They just sound evil, you know?

Porcupine Tree has its moments, too. Maybe KMFDM?
posted by echo target at 10:54 AM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

O'Malley's Bar - Nick Cave
Anything by the Osmonds.
posted by Seamus at 11:07 AM on January 28, 2009

I would call music dangerous if it made me want to do dangerous things when I listened to it. In which case I would say Crash Worship is dangerous music. It was also pretty dangerous to go see them, as people would swing balls of flaming gas soaked rags around on ropes in tiny club spaces after everyone had been soaked in wine and cod liver oil by goat headed satyrs with old-fashioned fire extinguishers. There would also be naked people, so there was the additional danger of having some random stranger's sweaty ass pressed against you as everyone tried to get out of the way of flaming projectiles or flying gobs of chocolate frosting.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:01 PM on January 28, 2009

Okay, so it seems like there's music associated with danger, like narcoballads and gangsta rap and crunk and black metal.

And then there's music that sounds dangerous, like, uh, math rock or free improv or something, also martial stuff.

And then there was a hair-metal band named Danger Danger, wasn't there?
posted by box at 7:33 PM on January 28, 2009

I'd just consider the entire heavy metal genre as being the definition of musically dangerous, along with its brothers, menacing and evil. Basically, it'd be the last kind of music you'd want to start hearing if you were walking alone down a dark alley.

Oh, I don't know...personally, I think it's trying too hard.

However, if I were walking alone down a dark alley and this started blaring at me out of nowhere, I'd feel reaaaally unhappy and run like hell. Seriously, it creeps me right on out.
posted by aquafortis at 3:20 AM on January 31, 2009

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