Why Rock music is Dying

Okay, first of all, I admit that the title is meant to call people in, but to be honest, I can’t think of anything better. Some days ago, I discovered why the hell the best genre of music of all time, which is Rock and Roll, is dying as the time goes by. And please, if you are looking for someone that is going to take cheap shots at the pop world, sorry, you’re not going to find that here: I will not blame Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga on things they have nothing to do about; It would be like blaming Saddam Hussein for the Holocaust.

Many people don’t know where rock ‘n roll comes from, I’m not going to pretend I know for sure but I have an idea: rock ‘n roll was created when someone though of what would happen if you mix the blacks’ Blues with the Irish folk. And even though I know that, there is something that always mystified me: how to classify a song being a Rock ‘n Roll or not? Really, how do you do that? There are some people that claim that it is the speed of the song or the instruments used (being Bass, Guitar and Drums), but I can think of lots of slow rock songs and rock songs that don’t use one of those instruments, maybe two of them. And the worst thing of all is that you can’t even say that “rock is the lack of any characteristic” because that’s the definition of Jazz, so more often than not, you’re screwed.

But isn’t that what makes Rock one of the greatest music genres of all time? Exactly for the lack of boundaries you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want and slap the Rock sticker on top of the cover! So that’s why, in the late sixties, started to immerge subgenres, which is an awesome idea, dividing the rock music in various subgenres so that if someone is going to say their taste in music, they can be more specific, so you wouldn’t win any REO Speedwagon album if you have the entire collection of The Who. It’s just to be more specific, and that’s cool. I’m not going to pretend I lived on those days, but I believe that people weren’t trying to determine what was real rock: when you spoke to a Clash fans about Beatles, I think he would say he didn’t like it (if that’s the case), not that it wasn’t rock ‘n roll. They are both rock ‘n roll, so it’s an easy mistake. They are like cousins being mixed up by jolly old Granny, but they are in the same family. And that was kind of the thing that screwed up rock ‘n roll.

In the early seventies, some bands came up saying that they played Heavy Metal, like Led Zeppelin and to some extent Steppenwolf (at least they said they were heavy metal, I’m not the owner of the truth you know) and that was okay. They were still part of the Rock family, only just another branch, which is good. But then, the style evolved by itself, which is natural and still great. Some excellent bands showed up, like Van Halen and Black Sabbath, which played some pretty great heavy metal songs, but they were still carrying the Rock flag, the freedom flag, they could do whatever the hell they wanted: they were rock ‘n roll. But then, I don’t know exactly when, that changed. Inside the evolution of the whole metal genre, on the late eighties I presume, started to get subgenres of its own. And that wouldn’t be an issue if they wouldn’t deny their predecessor. So now, when you talk to someone who likes Megadeth, the guy doesn’t like Rock ‘n Roll, the guy likes Metal, that’s COMPLETELY different, Rock is lame. So, the style that was born to be completely free of boundaries is now trapped in one branch only to tiresomely evolve into something more and more metal trying to avoid mingling with others styles. There was Jazz Rock, where is Jazz Metal? Or Blues Metal? No, there’s only Death Metal, Prog Metal (which is not Progressive Rock + Metal, by the way), Melodic Metal, Gothic Metal, and so on, when basically, they are mostly the same with some minor variations. So, when a band is born, they choose their path and follow it along with no variation whatsoever so that the metal fans won’t be alienated.

And was Metal the only one who did that? Of course not! Punk Rock did the exact same thing. It was a part of the Rock ‘n Roll family and it transformed into this sort of beast of the music, which I like to call the “core” music. It started, I suppose, with Black Flag’s Damaged, which started the Hard Core movement. In the time, it was still part of the rock but as the time went by, it became its own genre, with little to no variation whatsoever. So, today, we have Nintendo Core, Grindcore, Ska Core, Queer Core, and last, but not least in any way, Emo Core, Screamo and Death Core. There is even a Metal Core, which blows my mind alone with its name, because these guys are screwed.

You see, most metal fans call core fans Emo. And most core fans call metal fans, well… Metalheads. They don’t get along exactly well, and that is considering the fact that… prepared to listen to a little secret? THEY ARE VIRTUALLY THE SAME SHIT! Yes, they are! If you ask any core fan what the hell characterizes a Core song, it’s the well marked drums! And guess what one of the strongest traits of metal is? The fucking well marked drums! The speed and the way the singer sings vary immensely, true, but those things can change in the middle of a style. So while they are bickering and not mixing together, they control the “rock” scenario of the music world by making some music that is incredibly repetitive and immensely boring, where in the rock ‘n roll genre, you wouldn’t find two bands with almost everything in common if you looked hard for it!

I’m not saying that is bad, that is evolution of culture, but it’s killing my favorite part of the culture by attaching requirements on a style of music that didn’t want it in the first place! So now, when a “rock” band passes your radar, you can be damn sure that the fans of the band, heck even the band, doesn’t consider itself Rock ‘n Roll, so why bother, you know, being creative? Just do the same shit that has already been plastered over by everyone else again and again, because if you don’t do that, you won’t be “metal” or “core” anymore, and that makes you be a band without any recognition whatsoever. Band of the world, stop following standards that you don’t set down!

And that is just considering the death of rock considering cultural values. You know why I don’t take cheap shots at Bieber, Gaga or the Jonas Brothers? Because they are right! What would you do if you didn’t have talent to do shit and a guy reached your house with a million dollar saying that you will become a superstar? I would go with him! Today, albums don’t sell as they used to, because of the internet, again, it is natural evolution. However, why the fuck would a label invest on a band that all of his albums can be easily traced and downloaded? We all know that buying albums is paying to the label and the artist only get’s real money when he plays on concerts, but let’s see this from a strict commercial transaction: you invest in a band called Parallels of Rhythm, which is a Prog Rock band. Even though the album is highly regarded by the critics the sales are poor as hell, after all, everyone is downloading the fucking tracks. And when the band you invested on makes a concert, everybody shows up. So, why invest on a fucking talent? Invest on some shitty kid who can’t sing, at least people will give CDs of the kid as a gift, or maybe the sons will be walking down the alley of a Wal mart and will need desperately the Glee album, so the father has to buy that shit anyway. It’s the same thing as books: of course the publisher isn’t going to release things that will be easily tracked down on the internet and read on the monitor, they will publish stuff that will generate some sort of income, that’s why they invest on Stephanie Meyer and J. K. Rowling!

So, sorry for my rambling, I just got in contact with the “core” music recently, and even though natural, I got really sad with the evolution of things. Even though little and not really expressive, I should be happy with the little rock ‘n roll music I got nowadays, like The Irresponsibles and Tally Hall, right?

This is JotaKa, signing off.

Follow me on twitter: @jotakapf

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5 Responses to Why Rock music is Dying

  1. Rob says:

    You just wrote Rock ‘n Roll 🙂

  2. CL says:

    Hey, cheer up I’m sure this theme will pass. But I don’t see why we sort the music into these groups because won’t that just stop them from mixing like they did for Rock ‘n’ Roll and Jazz?
    I am not much of a Rock fan but I think this is annoying. I mean now it is all auto-tune.

    • JotaKa says:

      Yes, but you see, Rock ‘n Roll and Jazz are these bigger genres, in my opinion. They should be divided, IMO, because they are completely different styles of songwriting. Rock ‘n Roll is more of a vague direction, because of how the rock and roll genre is defined. Like Jazz, Jazz is simply the lack of standards. If something isn’t anything, it is Jazz. And Rock and Roll and Jazz mixed a lot of times, and like Blues, sometimes it is hard to say if that song is that or this.
      And yeah, Autotune annoys the hell out of me too.

  3. Pingback: Album in Depth: Meteora by Linkin Park | Jotaka's Studio

  4. Ron Crider says:

    I like what you said it was pretty dead on, really. for me though its something different, I was all rock and alternative rock, metal, etc.my teen years were the 90’s I had bands like faith no more nirvana, nin, tool, manson, etc., and all the bands I mentioned and many more put out epic music, timeless songs that you can put on today and still intensely vibe to, yet the same bands I mentioned and a lot I did not just aren’t putting out those epic songs anymore. I still buy all the new albums just hoping, hoping that this will be the album that turns it all around for me. sadly, to no avail, ive been sorely disappointed. its like they all lost the key to what made them so popular in the first place. almost like they want to change the formula so much that it barely resembles the same recipe that got them were they were so many years ago. if they just would realize that there are so many fans still out here patiently waiting for those beautiful melodic intense, epic songs to make a return, maybe they would realize that we loved them the way they were not the way they think they should be just to keep up with the times, because by doing so they get farther and farther behind. smh sigh….

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