It’s Thursday, October 24. In today’s issue: Musical male angst finds a new formula—“sad bois.” Plus: a look at three ongoing protests around the world
Today’s Big Idea
The rise of the “sad bois”
Their lyrics are steeped in moodiness. They take an almost clinical approach to talking about depression and mental health. This new wave of male artists, called the “sad bois” (or “sad boys”), is downright morose.
It’s not that men are just now being given permission to talk about their feelings. White male rage, our music critic Spencer Kornhaber points out, is perhaps “one of the most celebrated of all emotions in popular music.”
What’s changed is its expression. Today’s artists “ramble out their emotions matter-of-factly, with hope for recovery and admiration (sometimes worship) for those who’ve supported them.”
Previous Ages of Angst
Today it’s “sad bois,” but here are some other musicians and eras you might recognize, brilliantly summarized by Spencer:
Associated artists: Sex Pistols, Black Flag
“Punk balked at prescribed roles and reveled in sexual transgression ... Rock misogyny remained alive and well, but these maneuvers encouraged men to communicate in ways that would previously have gotten them labeled wimps.”
Associated artists: Nirvana, Soundgarden
“Its practitioners’ moans conveyed a sense of chafing against bodily constraints and cultural expectations … A song like Soundgarden’s ‘Big Dumb Sex’ brutishly satirized the previous decades’ hair-metal machismo.”
Era: Turn of the century
Associated artist: Linkin Park
“If the results were ugly, so was the subject matter: pain and trauma, expressed in even more personal terms than before.”
Associated artists: Lil Peep, Juice Wrld
“The anti-anxiety medication Xanax is to many of today’s rappers what Patrón was to rappers a decade ago, and self-harm is referenced routinely.”
Read more about these genres, and how they evolved in relation to one another, in Spencer’s thoughtful essay from last summer.
Get Caught Up, Protests Edition
It’s day eight of negotiations in the Chicago teacher strike. Some teachers are using it as an opportunity to teach students the history of organized labor.
Protests in Chile take aim at economic inequality. The demonstrations, sparked by a subway-fare hike, have claimed more than a dozen lives. The photo editor Alan Taylor assembled photos of the movement here.
Hundreds of thousands are protesting government corruption and economic mismanagement in Lebanon. This movement was sparked by a proposed tax on messaging apps like WhatsApp. View photos, curated by Taylor, here.
Before You Go
(JOHN MACDOUGALL / GETTY)
Married bliss can be costly.
Thankfully, some communities developed a sort of crowdfunding strategy: At “stag and doe” parties, they celebrate the betrothed—and raise money for the lucky couple’s nuptials. Julie Bogen explains:
A couple gets engaged and then settles on an event space—church halls and community centers are popular because they can fit large groups of people at non-exorbitant rates. Then hundreds of people are invited to buy tickets that cover food and entertainment for the night, and donations are collected from local businesses, sometimes in the form of raffle items or catering. ...
“I’ve heard of people making 15, 16, 20 thousand dollars,” [Kyle Reid, of Binbrook, Ontario] told me while planning his own event.
The Atlantic Crossword
1-Across, five letters: Reed section?
Try your hand at our daily mini crossword (available on our site here), which gets more challenging through the week.