What happened to good-old rock ‘n’ roll music? Where did it go? Who killed it? These are the questions of many saddened rockers who have lost interest in modern music. True rock music seems to have disappeared from the map, but do not despair, as there is hope yet.
The seventies and eighties birthed a form of music known for its catchy beats and rhythmic rhymes, hip-hop. Through the latter end of the century, hip-hop, and subsequently rap, became big — big enough to rival rock. As evidenced by today’s top music charts, rap, hip-hop and pop are very popular. Is this because rockers have stopped listening to modern music, or is it because rock has disappeared? It may be that rock fans have stopped listening to modern music, and thereby stopped voting for the top music, but it isn’t because rock has vanished.
That’s right, rockers: Rock music has not disappeared. To all fans that have lost interest in today’s music this is good news. The difficulty has become finding real rock and trying to make it desirable. Rock didn’t disappear – it became subverted by pop music under the false name of “alternative rock.” Those of us who have been around long enough know what true alternative rock is and is not, and AFI, Fallout Boy, and Panic! at the Disco are among the latter. This style of music and the bands that play it are not alternative rock at all, but are a form of pop music that involves the use of guitars and drums similar, but not the same, to those of rock.
True rock music, in its modern form, is performed mostly by local bands and bands that aren’t really well known. A lot of local music, especially here in Utah, does not become very big. A few bands sign record label deals, but still do not make the A-list. They are fun to listen to while they last, and some do record a few albums that you can purchase from the band or stores that carry local music, like Graywhale.
A local public radio station, X96, does dedicate a couple of hours on Sunday nights to local music and puts out a CD every year that contains music submitted by local bands. Alas, local bands do not usually last much longer than the high school and college years of the members.
Other forms of contemporary rock, some less fashionable, are the various forms of metal, like heavy metal, alternative metal, industrial metal, etc. Some say that metal is the metamorphosed form of old rock ‘n’ roll, while others insist that metal, as well as rock, has not undergone any changes since the eighties.
One journalist would go so far as to say that the end of true rock’s popularity came with the end of the nineties. The nineties were an amazing chapter in rock, with bands like Nirvana, U2, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, and many others contributing. The end came with the deaths of rockers, like Kurt Cobain, and the deaths of musical careers. At this point, what was considered popular went through an amazing change, becoming what it is today.
What is next in line to be considered vogue? Maybe techno is next for the spotlight – or perhaps, heaven forbid, country and western. The world will just have to wait and see.