Brainfood: Did ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ speak for 90s metalheads?

Who is old enough to remember Beavis and Butt-Head’s original run?

Sure, more than one-fourth of us were not born then, but if you’re part of the English-speaking world, you’ve probably in the very least heard a passing reference to them at one time or another.

But why were the animated delinquents such a hit?

Ben Umanov, writing for Noisey thinks he knows why:

Metal needed a savior in 1993, and with Beavis and Butt-Head, it got two. And while it may seem ludicrous to give two animated characters hatched in the imagination of creator Mike Judge’s credit for resurrecting an entire subgenre of rock, consider the landscape of heavy music at the time. Hair metal had died a fiery, brutal death in the preceding two years, with the pomp and circumstance of glam swiftly replaced by the stripped-down, lackadaisical, ambivalent attitude of grunge. Thrash metal had grown old and stale, its youthful fury and aggression replaced by Bob Rock’s hyper-polished production on Metallica’s black album in one fell swoop. Death metal’s wider fanbase failed to materialize the way the major labels thought it would when Earache Records—with its who’s-who roster of Carcass, Entombed, Godflesh, Napalm Death, and more—signed a huge distribution deal with big players Columbia that ended just as quickly as it’d begun. But to a nation of angry teens and pre-teens unaware of the intricacies of metal, Beavis and Butt-Head was a portal to this evolving scene. The show was at once an influencer, a tastemaker, and an embarrassingly accurate reflection of American youth.

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