Who knew Lenny Kravitz was such a prophet?
I mean, as a guy who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, I’d like to think that I *KNOW* rock’n’roll music. They can throw Madonna into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame if they want, but that’s NOT rock music. Neither is rap. Neither is country.
Nothing against those other genres, but rock music is its own entity and it’s dying a quick and painful death.
In the 30 years leading up until 2000, you can throw any year at me and I can give you at least ten incredible rock songs. Even in the first decade of the new millennium, I could give you five great rock songs in any given year.
Listen, I know the “old school” is still out there doing their best to kick ass. My favourite group of all time, KISS, continues to perform to thousands of KISS ARMY members on a weekly basis. People may want to claim that they’re old and washed up (first of all…fuck you for claiming that), but the fact is that they’re still an extremely popular band who puts on an incredible show.
And with the new releases by AC/DC and Foo Fighters, there is a miniscule contingent of rock bands (like, say, Green Day or Weezer) who still want to go out there and kick-ass with melodic, guitar-driven songs that make dudes like me crank up the car stereo with reckless abandon.
But that’s about it.
Seriously…when you take a look at the “rock charts” on Billboard, the number of legitimate rock songs are few and far between. And even then, the rock songs are so weird that you can’t imagine why they’re even on the charts to begin with!
Example? “Stolen Dance” by Milky Chance is a Top 5 rock track on Billboard’s latest rock chart.
Now listen, I like that song if I’m smokin’ a doobie and sittin’ around on my couch*, but it ain’t rock music. And I want to gouge out my eardrums knowing that Fall Out Boy and Lord are now considered “rock”.
The fuck you are!
What’s sad is that artists who used to be considered rock aren’t really that rock anymore. Example? Bon Jovi. Now before you laugh, remember that Bon Jovi had some kick-ass rock songs in the 80’s and 90’s. Today they’re more country or adult contemporary with their releases. And that’s sad.
More examples? How about Bryan Adams or Lenny Kravitz? They were never “Iron Maiden-esque” with their music, but they were certainly considered to be rock’n’roll. As much as I really enjoy their new songs (Adams doing “She Knows Me” and Kravitz with the killer track “The Chamber”), I wouldn’t consider either one to be “ROCK” music. I mean, just because you have a guitar in your song (like, say, Barenaked Ladies) doesn’t mean that it’s a rock song.
And that’s a shame.
Rock music is hard to come by these days. I don’t understand why, either. You’d think that bands today would have been influenced by the rock bands of the 90’s (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, the Offspring, Everclear, even Third Eye Blind), but yet there’s no catchy rock music out there.
It’s a damn shame, too. I want my son to grow up listening to kick-ass arena rock, not paint-by-numbers “grunge-esque” songs by Three Days Grace or Breaking Benjamin on YouTube playing under some kid’s home-made Halo or Star Wars video.
Goddamn…that’s just shit.
* I don’t really smoke marijuana. That’s just me trying to play it cool for the kids while making a point.
12-05-14 UPDATE: You want further proof? Look no further than the “rock” nominations for the 2015 Grammy Awards:
Best Rock Song
“Aint It Fun,” Paramore
“Blue Moon,” Beck
“Fever,” The Black Keys
“Gimme Something Good,” Ryan Adams
“Lazaretto,” Jack White
Best Rock Album
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
Morning Phase, Beck
Turn Blue, The Black Keys
Hypnotic Eye, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Songs of Innocence, U2