Contrary to what many think, rock music lives on

I am a fan of many different musical genres, some that were popular in the past and some that are popular currently. 

Rock and roll set the standard for rebellious youth culture after the death of jazz music, and it has unfortunately been a thing of the past for a while. 

Or has it been a thing of the past?

 Looking back at the greats such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen and Nirvana, no artist has reached these artists’ heights in the rock genre. 

Me being a college student in my early twenties, I rarely ever hear rock music at any social gathering of any kind. Rock artists are no longer the voice of our generation; they are the voice for past generations. The voices of our generation are mostly hip-hop and R&B artists. I love hip-hop music, but I wish there is one musical group that can rise up in the musical charts and reignite the phenomenon that is rock and roll. Alternative music is the closest thing to rock and roll we have today, and only time will tell if anyone can bring rock back in full swing. 

How did this happen? It is not like rock and roll had a demise similar to disco music in the 1980s. Bill Flanagan from The New York Times believes it’s the downfall after the grunge era passed. 

“After the brief early ’90s insurgency of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the grunge bands passed, rock became less interested in innovating than in repeating. A popular new rock band tended to sound a lot like beloved old rock bands, and the days when the Beatles moved in three years from the teen pop of ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ to the experimentation of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ were gone.” 

Flanagan says that rock is just old now and older people tend to still listen to it, and this is certainly true. 

Some people say rock died with Nirvana, and I see some validity in this statement. After the grunge era passed, the rise of pop punk music became mainstream. Bands such as Blink-182, Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy took over and, while being great music, lost that rock attitude and rebelliousness associated with it. 

Rock is not dead; just the great days of rock music have passed. Many bands today have rock elements in their music, while being talented and in some cases critically and financially successful. Some artists that are keeping this genre alive are Cage The Elephant, Red Hot Chili Peppers, System Of a Down, Jake Bugg and so many others.

I grew up with my parents playing their music and it has left an impression on me as a person. Of course I enjoy the music of my generation, but classic rock music will always be a part of my life. Rock music is not dead, so please stop claiming that it is; many musical artists still keep it alive today. The great days have certainly passed, but the genre is still alive. I doubt we will ever see a “death” similar to disco music. 

Jordan Boyer is a senior history major he can be reached at 581-2812 or at jtboyer@eiu.edu.

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