Tag Archives: Horror

Non-insect arthropods in popular music

 

The occurrence of non-insect arthropods in popular music illuminates human attitudes toward these species, especially as compared to insects.

Crustaceans are the most commonly referenced taxonomic group in artist names, album titles, and cover art, followed by spiders and scorpions. The surprising prevalence of crustaceans may be related to the palatability of many of the species.

Spiders and scorpions were primarily used for shock value, as well as for their totemic qualities of strength and ferocity. Spiders were the most abundant group among song titles, perhaps because of their familiarity to the general public.

Three non-insect arthropod album titles were found from the early 1970s, then none appeared until 1990. After 1990, issuance of such albums increased approximately linearly. Giant and chimeric arthropods are the most common album cover themes, indicating the use of these animals to inspire fear and surprise. Song lyrics also illustrate the diversity of sentiments present, from camp spookiness to edibility.

This according to “Noninsect arthropods in popular music” by Joseph R. Coelho (Insects II/2 [2011] pp. 253–63).

Above and below, Alice Cooper‘s The black widow, one of the examples discussed in the article. Yes, that’s really Vincent Price in the video!

Related posts: Insects and music

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Horror studies

Launched by Intellect in 2010, Horror studies (ISSN 2040-3275) is an interdisciplinary journal devoted to research on cultural manifestations of horror, including the familiar forms it assumes in literature and film as well as its expressions in fashion, dance, fine art, music, and technology. The journal’s editors write that it “aims to extend both the formal study and the informal appreciation of horror into hitherto overlooked critical terrains, seeking in the process to appeal not only to the international academic community, but also to enthusiasts of the horror mode more generally.”

The inaugural issue of Horror studies includes “Of submarines and sharks: Musical settings of a silent menace” by Linda Maria Koldau, an essay that explores how film composers have depicted the primal fear of the silent monster stealthily approaching from the depths.

Above, a restored one-man German submarine from World War II, now at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Animals, Curiosities, Nature, New periodicals