Rock is dead. Well, maybe not dead, but it certainly isn’t what it used to be. The days of listening to a lead guitar shredding for two minutes or being serenaded with a ballad all about love or heartbreak are long past. What we have now is the pieces left as rock and roll slowly fell apart at the seams and moved to the wayside.
Rock bands nowadays do not handle themselves as the ones from days old did. They don’t run around dressed up as school children or covered in spikes and leather. Current-day rockers such as Bastille or Cage The Elephant are dressed in high class clothes and fashions, if not that then they seem to have walked out of Urban Outfitters with their biggest items. These guys aren’t acting like the rebels that bands like AC/DC had set themselves up as. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s just what the music scene is like now. Being a rebel in today’s society isn’t about fighting the man and trying to piss him off, it’s about acting aloof and grabbing your nearest scarf and typewriter. Rock and roll doesn’t have a place in this society and it shows.
It seems like the genre has been broken down into its different parts and assimilated into all other genres. Most modern genres have built themselves out of what rock used to be, but evolved it further. What constitutes a rock band now is significantly different than what it used to be. Rock groups are pulling in synths and repeating background beats. They aren’t there to wow you with quick fingers and insane drum playing but just lull you into enjoying the music. Bands like the Wild Feathers would be considered a modern-day rock band as they have taken roots from the genre and combined it with other genres. It’s rock, but at the same time more than rock. The distinction between genres for rock has gotten so difficult to see that Lorde, someone who does not identify as a rock artist, was able to pull away with best rock song at the Billboard Music Awards.
In the past the main type of rock was hard rock, characterized by aggressive vocals, electric guitars with distortions, and driving rhythms this genre got the listener’s blood pumping. Now, alternative rock is what people will think if you start talking about the genre. It’s softer, less known, and the bands come and go as people switch from band they like to band they like. Some fans care more about knowing the band when no one else does, and if they become popular they look for the next unknown group. There isn’t as much loyalty to the band itself, but the idea of mystery and the special feeling these people get about knowing about the band before others.
At the end of the day rock and roll is nothing like it used to be several decades ago. It can even be argued that the genre itself is gone and has been shifted around and assimilated to more modern themes. Whatever the case is, some of us will never forget the days of rock and roll that we had the privilege to grow up in.
Written by Jacob Conflitti