We live in a world where only mainstream music is celebrated. Therefore, casual music listeners are deprived from a well-rounded musical education as “bubblegum” pop and rap dominate the current music scene.
Considering the lack of diversity among today’s hits, many people think the age of rock music is gone. This fact, however, is simply untrue. Rock is not dead; the music style is doing just as well as it did in its earlier years.
Contrary to the widespread belief that topping the charts and winning awards is what defines music as good, relevant or important, “there have never been as many rock bands in as many different subgenres making as many good to great records as there are at this very moment,” according to UPROXX.
While many of these bands are filled with young kids just beginning to break into music who do not have well-known names to coast on, they are all still practicing quality music that falls into some category of rock.
Each new generation of musicians takes basic elements of traditional rock and modifies them until they fall under some subgenre, such as “punk rock, death metal, or bro country,” as reported by UPROXX. This shows that although it may not sound like it, rock is everywhere.
For example, the song “Mr. Brightside,” by the Killers, has defied all logic and became a timeless anthem.
“Somehow, the song has hit the U.K. Top 100 at some point during 11 of the past 13 years. [In some months], it climbed all the way to No. 49,” NPR reported.
Despite obvious answers, including the introduction of new streaming services, it’s likely that the reason this song has continued to stay relevant is simply its message. The themes “Mr. Brightside” as well as most other rock songs deal with are inherently human issues such as romance and other complex emotions, making the lyrics resonate with nearly everyone.
Commercially, rock is still bringing in more than enough money to establish the genre’s significance.
“Its aging veterans still dominate the concert ¬business (McCartney, Coldplay and Rod Stewart all sold out arenas and stadiums in 2016), and in festival formats, clusters of younger indie-rock and metal bands also do well,” according to Billboard.
Many bands that want to cross over into pop in order to reap the immense benefits of that genre lose aspects of the traditional rock sound.
“The best bet for a rock band in the mainstream is to play down the ‘rock’ aspects of their music in favor of more pop-friendly sounds, an approach favored by outliers such as Twenty One Pilots and The 1975,” according to UPROXX.
It is crucial to recognize that downplaying the “rock” aspects of a performance does not discredit these bands from being rock bands. Choosing to make this sort of crossover music allows performers to make music without strict guidelines and still keeps rock relevant.
“As the years went on, [Panic! At the Disco] transformed just like its fans, reaching a more mature sound and outlook on life,” according to Comicsverse.
When it comes down to it, that’s what rock music is all about.
Perhaps what some mistakenly see as the death of rock is actually just the evolution of a genre. As the fans grew, rock music needed to grow alongside them to prevent this style from dying out. While it is true we are no longer living in an age where classic rock is playing on every radio station, it doesn’t mean the massive genre of rock isn’t alive and thriving.