Are you consistently falling for the weasel-faced punk with soot in his hair? Have you ever wiped a halitosis-laden film off your lips after a particularly gross makeout session? Can you not keep your eyes off the greasy longshoreman at your local dive bar just because he knows how to play “Eruption” by Van Halen? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have most likely been seduced by an ugly musician, and you are entitled to scientific compensation. CREEM’s arsenal of powerful minds have come together to explain the phenomenon of wanting to get down with the Moe Szyslaks of the music industry.

Beauty has always been in the eye of the beholder, but it is sometimes horrific to see the sexual couplings that have occurred because of rock ’n’ roll. Throughout history we’ve seen gorgeous people flock to resoundingly unattractive rockers, but why is that? Science may provide some insight. In a study by Austrian researchers published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2022, volunteers were asked to rate a subject’s attractiveness based on facial features combined with musical ability. The researchers wanted to test a theory Darwin had about sexual selection. In 1871, Darwin had suggested that musicality evolved as a means of courtship display for potential reproductive partners. He wrote, “I conclude that musical notes and rhythm were first acquired by the male or female progenitors of mankind for the sake of charming the opposite sex.”

That being said, the human face has always been the biggest factor in determining physical attraction because it is subliminally perceived as an indicator of good genes and overall health. In a study published in Royal Society Open Science in 2017, a researcher from Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, found that creativity appeared to compensate for lower biological “quality” when asking participants to rate someone’s attractiveness. In both the Austrian and Scottish studies, unattractive male faces were rated higher with the interplay of musicality or creativity, while women were rated solely on facial features more often. The insidious male gaze has allowed the world to believe that a revolting British snaggletoothed smile is acceptable if you happen to be a man on a stage.

Still, from an evolutionary standpoint, the ability to play music is indeed a sign of exceptional motor skills and cognitive functioning (much less so if you’re writing punk songs). It seems a lot easier to choose a partner out of a crowd if you think they have the physical capabilities to keep you safe from danger and can sing a little ditty while doing so.

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