Mohs Scale Of Lyrical Hardness


(permanent link) added: 2010-12-20 09:27:05 sponsor: Frank75 edited by: peccantis (last reply: 2012-02-03 14:45:56)

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Snatched by peccantis. Looking to launch soon, please contribute constructive comments (in case you don't feel a hat is called for) or nicely elaborated examples.

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Should this have another title? It's bee suggested this scale measures more lyrical heaviness or darkness than hardness.

Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness is a sorting algorithm of musical hardness; however, due to Lyrical Dissonance, mere musical sound is not always enough to determine the actual hardness of a song.

  1. is completely harmless, light and upbeat, and if anything, aims for an uplifting effect. It consists of sunshine and sugar. Life is beautiful and everyone's happy.
  2. is silly at most, but all in good spirit. No one can be offended.
  3. can poke fun at something. Friendly kisses is pretty much the limit of sexuality that can be included.
  4. is where optimism starts to noticeably fade. Life may be not all that great and fun, but it isn't still too bad either. If sex gets mentioned, it's in a side role, expressed in poetic metaphors and gets about as raunchy as "we were lost in the waves of night".
  5. is about the level of what an average adult experiences in their everyday life. There can be slight angst or sadness, or a little cussing on the milder side.
  6. gets a bit heavier; angst is still light, and the song is more sad than angsty. Cussing stays at a moderate level. Violence can be alluded to or mentioned, but this level leaves out the details.
  7. can include straight out angst and/or heavy sadness. Swearing can get more frequent or heavy. Violence might be mentioned in some detail; direct mentions of sex, unless cleverly hidden, usually get a song at least this high on the list. Pretty typical for political and protest songs.
  8. is likely war-themed. There is heavy angst, or heartbreaking sadness. Swearing starts to get explicit or frequent. Violence, self-harm or suicide can get mentioned with some detail, but not glorified.
  9. is where the song less tells about things and more immerses the listener in a dark world of hopelessness and cruelty. Rap songs of this level tend to describe and perhaps glorify crime (see Gansta Rap). Angst gets jarring, sadness is likely on guaranteed Tear Jerker level. Swearing is frequent, if not constant, and heavy. Violence gets into the realm of gore. Self-harm or suicide might get romanticised.
  10. is really ugly stuff; it might include pretty explicit hate messages. Angst approaches psychotic levels, sadness disgusting. Language can be filthy; violence gets very detailed and/or gets specific on the pleasure of hurting others or oneself. Might include straight-played romantic depiction of self-harm or suicide.
  11. just has to be Stealth Parody. We hope so. The lyrics do everything they ever can to make the listener feel depressed, offended, or disgusted.

Examples:

Children's Songs
  • Most any lullaby will rank 1-2 to get both the luller and the lullee in the proper mindset.
  • Liverpool Lullaby (or The Mucky Kid) is 5-6, as it talks pretty straight about poverty, Dad's alcholism and how the kid's going to "gerra belt from your Dad". Lyrics
  • Laula kukko ("Sing my rooster") is a Finnish children's song with lyrics up to 5 -- the narrator of the song asks farm animals to perform their duties, such as the rooster to sing, the hen to lay eggs, and the cow to yield milk. He also threats the animals with consequences if they don't; the hen will be put in a hot oven, the rooster will lose his head, and the cow will lose her bell.

Hard Rock
  • Ilona by Apulanta is either 6 or 8 depending on whether you get the suicide theme. In any case, it remains in the metaphor level.

Metal Music
  • Mindless Self Indulgence frequents the upper end of the scale, and occasionally lapses into 11 territory, especially with the song "Backmask Warning"
    Hey! All the people you love
    In a river of blood
    And don't forget the guns!
    (You're gonna need 'em to go kill yourself)
  • Nightwish usually ranges from 3-6 with their romantic, more or less vaguely melancholic themes; when they top that it's due to hopeless themes. Poet And The Pendulum is one of their darkest songs, a strong 7 if not an 8.

Rap Music
  • The Real Slim Shady by Eminem, 8 on the language scale

Rock Music

Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly
  • Emilie Autumn straddles 8 and 9, romanticising self-harm, and with angst songs about mental illness, rape, and death.
  • The Birthday Massacre falls squarely in the 6-9 range. Their lighter songs are about loneliness and break ups. Moving up, we have songs about extreme alienation and despair ("Broken", "Play Dead"), meaningless sex ("Promise Me", "Video Kid"), dysfunctional and possibly abusive relationships ("Falling Down", "Violet", "Two Hearts"), psychotic obsession ("Midnight", "Blue"), suicide and self-harm ("Under The Stairs") and outright murder ("Lover's End" and, of course "Happy Birthday", which is where their name comes from).

Other
  • Although it's not music, Grave of the Fireflies, a cute animated film known for its really really depressing story, would rank 9-10.
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