Okay, so I know that some people may not understand why I love hair metal so much. Or why I decided to put it in my book The Mixtape to My Life. I realize a lot of those songs are used in strip clubs and some are cheesy as hell, but I promise you, I really do have a good reason as to why hair metal means so much to me.
All my life, even at a young age, I always knew I was different. I didn’t know what that was exactly, but I knew there was something about me that made a lot of people shake their heads. One of those things was my love for signing and dancing to music out loud.
Boys Don’t Do That
So what’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well it’s one thing when your a young Latino make singing the latest in Tejano, it’s another when you start belting out Madonna at the top of your lungs. You hear the phrase “boys don’t do that” quite a bit. It gets even worse when you start to ask why. Yet the music still stays in your heart, and you simply can’t let it go. I became so depressed at the fact that I was a boy who wanted to sing and dance but couldn’t. Until something magical came on the tv screen.
Something Magical Via MTV
I’m dating myself now, but when I was a kid, MTV actually played music. All day. Look it up if you don’t believe me. My siblings and I used to gather around the set and wait for our faves to come on. It was okay for boys to sing in a mixed group apparently, just not alone. Anyways, one particular summer day we were huddled in our favorite spots, when a video by a hair metal band came on. I can’t be certain, but I think it was Poison’s Nothing But a Good Time.
What I do remember is my eyes lit up. Here, right in front of me were guys with outrageous clothes and hair, singing their hearts out while prancing on stage. Guys! And no one cared, especially them. I became obsessed, and started recording every song I could find on cassettes I saved up to buy.
From that moment on, I felt something. I couldn’t really explain it then, but I now realize was a sort of freedom. It was okay to sing, okay to dress up, and okay not to care what others thought. It was powerful, and to my young heart, the world.
Perhaps that’s why I can’t let some of these songs go. They represent a part of development as a young LGBTQ person. They may not be the best songs in the world for whatever reason, but they helped me during some dark times. For that, I’m thankful.
If you want to hear some of the hair metal that inspired The Mixtape to My Life, hit the Spotify button below.
What type of songs move you in that way? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.