Welcome to 2018. With that, the first major holiday of the year will be the Super Bowl. Super Bowl LII is coming up on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. Justin Timberlake will be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.
This was not a total shocker because his musical style is almost exclusively the same music the NFL has been playing at its Super Bowl halftime shows for the last 20 years. There have certainly been exceptions, such as Aerosmith playing a few songs at Super Bowl XXXV, U2 at XXXVI, Tom Petty at XLII and Bruce Springsteen at XLIII. However, the majority of the time it’s been the same rap, hip-hop, R&B and pop sound over and over and over again.
Too heavy for halftime
One can understand that the NFL wants to attract a younger crowd with its hip-hop and rap, but not everybody in the younger audience may be into that.
I, for one, am into the more hard rock and heavy metal scene. However, folks in that genre would never get asked to perform at the Super Bowl. James Hetfield, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the iconic thrash metal band Metallica, said on Nikki Sixx’s radio show,
“I can’t dance. I can’t jump around. I’m not an acrobat. I’m not a variety show, you know? We are artists. We’re a band. We love playing songs. We’re not gonna fly through the air on a sparkly star like a unicorn.”
He later expanded on that by saying, “It’s become less about music unfortunately and more about just the spectacle. When we played for the 50th anniversary of the NFL … right here in our hometown and they didn’t have us do it, that would have been the time. Maybe that time has passed?”
This was after petitions were sent to the NFL to book Metallica for the halftime show for Super Bowl 50 in 2016 in Santa Clara, California. However, that petition was denied, and the NFL instead went with Coldplay, Beyonce (again), Bruno Mars (again), among others. So Metallica responded by playing at the AT&T Park in San Francisco, California the night before the Super Bowl. They streamed it online for everyone to watch and showed a sign at the beginning of their set-list that said, “Too Heavy For Halftime.”
Other halftime issues
Another example is that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were asked to play halftime for Super Bowl XLVIII. The NFL asked them to pre-record their instruments and mimic playing their instruments. A lot of controversies ensued about this situation.
It’s hard to say exactly why the NFL would book a metal band for its super bowl halftime shows. But playing the same kind of act with teenage heartthrobs and acrobats have been rather redundant for some people. This is one of the reasons why I personally don’t listen to the local radio station Y94. It plays the same songs over and over and over again, and it gets boring rather quickly. Lack of variety and diversity has made the halftime show rather dull.