“But they sound so angry,” she said, her eyes narrowing slightly, the dish in her hand suspended halfway between counter and dishwasher.

“True,” he replied, “but let’s face it, there are lots of things in this world to be angry about.”

It was a kitchen conversation that played out recently; a mother and father discussing not international affairs, but music, and whether or not to bring their 10-year-old son to a concert taking place this Sunday at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum. 

The band is Iron Maiden and their tone does indeed border on angry at times, but for parents who choose to take an interest in the media being consumed by their children, there is a strong case to be made that hard rock and heavy metal music are far more nourishing for young minds than the tunes being played in heavy rotation on Top-40 stations everywhere. 

Let’s compare, shall we?

Iron Maiden on environmentalism and a reference to one of the greatest poems in English Literature:

The Mariner’s bound to tell of his story,

To tell this tale wherever he goes,

To teach God’s word by his own example,

That we must love all things that God made.

On the arms race:

As the madmen play on words and make us all dance to their song,

To the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun.

On First Nations:

Selling them whiskey and taking their gold,

Enslaving the young and destroying the old.

Compare this to LMFAO, for example, arguably the hottest band on the radio these days, and a band many parents I know took their kids to see at the Pacific Coliseum in February.

On women:

I’ll be up in the party, looking for a hottie to bone.

On drinking:

Baby, baby, baby, I’m awfully crazy,

Off Ciroc, off Patron, shit, whatever’s tasty.

On drinking with women:

One more shot for us, another round,

Please fill up my cup, don’t mess around,

We just wanna see you shake it now,

Now you wanna be – you’re naked now.

The truth is, hard and heavy rock musicians have been exploring serious issues for decades.  Black Sabbath’s 1970 song “War Pigs” is widely considered one of the most important anti-war songs of all time, a song sung by none other than Ozzy Osbourne:

Politicians hide themselves away,

They only started the war,

Why should they go out to fight?

They leave that role to the poor.

So the next time you consider narrowing your eyes at the thought of children listening to “angry” music, consider asking yourself instead whether you believe children should be exposed to important issues, issues that just might be worth getting angry about. 

In the meantime, my son and I hope to see you at the show on Sunday.

Ethan Faber is the Managing Editor at CTV British Columbia