Maiden song launches metal literature class
A US university is running a course in heavy metal literature after an experiment with Iron Maiden track Out Of The Silent Planet was a massive success.
Linguistics expert Martin Jacobsen used the song from 2000 album Brave New World to teach sentence structure. The lesson included displaying visual diagrams of how the lyrics had been constructed while the music played.
Jacobsen, of West Texas A&M University, tells Amarillo.com: “The students were mad for it – they thought it was crazy and they loved it. I threw it out as an offhand comment one day: ‘What we ought to do is have a class in heavy metal.’ There was universal agreement from the students in the class: ‘Yes, we should actually do that.’”
He argues that many metal lyrics have been inspired by the works of history’s greatest writers. “You constantly see these nods to the intellectual tradition that the lyricists come from,” he explains. “Therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s a form of literature as well as a form of music – in much the same way you might say country music is a species of folklore.
“The thematic content of heavy metal lends itself to the same kind of thought processes that reading literature would bring up. IIt talks about things in ways that you have to unlock your mind to understand, just like reading classical literature or any other kind of literature.”
Student Eric Bauer says: “In the lyrics of heavy metal you can write about anything: social issues, the human experience, wizards and dragons. If you’re interested in a subject, there’s probably a heavy metal song about it.”