Will hair metal make a comeback? Very simply, no. But that's a good thing, right? I mean, come on, you can't honestly tell me you long for the days of ozone-threatening hairdos, men in spandex and make-up, and every song on the radio being a power ballad? Come on!
Why did hair metal die? Most people lay the blame squarely at the door of Kurt Cobain, and certainly few dead men command less respect in classic metal circles. But Kurt broke big because he was making a sound people wanted to hear. This was in part caused by a change in mood, but of course, music has a big effect on people's mood, so it's a bit of a circle. Really, MTV had the biggest impact, along with the record companies. Those two together control what we hear and so what gets bought; in all honesty MTV are as much to blame as anyone because they started rejecting videos from artists who had been successful in the 80s, and although Beavis and Butthead was just fun and even I as a glam metal fan can enjoy it, the fact that the loser was in a Winger shirt and they constantly dissed such bands had a big impact.
But anyway, who told you hair metal is dead? They're wrong. As long as someone somewhere is enjoying music, that music is alive, and that person has every right to enjoy it. Now, if your friends make fun of you a bit for listening to Poison, that's fair enough. I would probably make fun of you for listening to Poison. But listening to classic music does not make you stuck in the past. If someone tells you that you need to get up to date with your music taste, they are just slaves to fashion, and if they are genuinely trying to stop you listening to that stuff, you can tell them where to get off.
So, what is the future? Well, the good news is that established, successful bands can certainly continue to have a career. The absolute tirade against hair metal that was seen in the Nineties has died down a bit, and those bands have come out of hiding. They're going on co-headlining package tours together, and specialist melodic rock labels and dot-coms have sprung up. There is a niche for classic, melodic rock. The really big bands, like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, can still headline and sell millions of records, and as long as they have some record company support, there is no reason why they should not continue to make great records, maintain their fan base, have hits, and even attract open minded younger fans (like me).
As for the future of hair metal in the mainstream, no. But what goes around comes around, and after the kind of music that has been happening, there will be a backlash against it. Big stage shows and costumes have been unfashionable. Music has been depressing and lyrics have been very serious. Melody has been an unimportant factor in most rock and harmonies have almost been abolished. Musicianship has almost been frowned upon; certainly being an accomplished musician and using your skills worked against you rather than for you.
Sooner or later, the pendulum will swing, but it is young bands that will be the movers and shakers, not the old ones. Nevertheless, I foresee a return to upbeat, melodic rock which is more party-hearty in nature and less serious. I think entertainment will become more purely about entertainment (Blink 182 have pretty much already brought that back, and come to think of it they're upbeat and melodic too), and probably as a result big shows will come back in. The sound will not be the same as old hair metal, but I think that sounds more similar to hair metal than what is currently popular will come into fashion. In that climate, the young bands will be more likely to appeal to old hair metal fans, and the musical atmosphere will be more receptive to hair metal. This, of course, will be added to if these new bands are influenced by hair metal, but I see no reason why not. With bands like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi having sold tens of millions of albums, SOME artists must be influenced by them!
Well, we live in hope, don't we?