Glory days of rock music seem to be in the past

Published by adviser, Author: Michael Santoro - Observation Station, Date: March 7, 2013

What’s your favorite kind of music? That question can lead to all kinds of answers. With an abundance of genres already existing and more being created, there’s a lot to choose from. My answer is rock music, followed closely by rap. These two genres have seen changes and major blows to their stability, yet are still in existence and listened to by hundreds of thousands of people today. The first, rock music, has been my favorite ever since I was a child. Yet I didn’t get to fully experience its heyday, and now I’m not sure if a resurgence is even likely.

Being born in 1990, I had a pretty limited scope in terms of what I could discover in my own lifetime. Gone were the days of The Beatles, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Although some would put each of these three bands into different categories of rock, they all had their fair share of influence on the genre. I grew up during the 1990s alternative rock scene. This exposed me to Nirvana, Weezer, No Doubt and Sublime, among others. I thought the 90s were a great decade for not only rock music, but almost every style. Some of the best music made in each genre found its way to our ears. That’s enough of me plugging my favorite decade, though.

So I missed, only by a year, the decade before: the 80s. While my parents love it, I’m not too convinced that rock was as good as it was both the previous and following decade. We had Guns N’ Roses, but the majority of their work came out in the early 1990s. Same holds true for bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. Van Halen had their peak in the 80s, but that doesn’t take into account their first couple albums, which many find to be the best and most influential. I will give the 1980s credit where credit is due, though. Genesis experienced their second peak, Mötley Crüe, Warrant, and Ratt were doing their thing, and U2 was finally hitting it big. Looking at the previous decade, it’s not hard to wonder why the 80s are hard to compare to the 70s.

The 1970s was an amazing decade for rock music. Taking the newly standard pop sensibilities found in certain kinds of music, bands began intermingling rock style with other styles. Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, The Allman Brothers Band, David Bowie, Aerosmith: all sound different from each other yet all fall under the category of rock music. Even Pink Floyd, one of the most well-known psychedelic rock bands, released some of their best albums in the 70s. There are so many bands that weighed in and changed the norm that I have to leave it for now. As my second favorite decade of music, it’s hard not to go into how many bands early on changed the face of rock music.

The decade prior, the 1960s, gave us the band of the  decade: the British sensation, The Beatles. You only need to give that as evidence of music’s importance in the 1960s. It also wouldn’t hurt to bring into light Bob Dylan’s and The Rolling Stones’ emergences as well as The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix making some of their best tunes. These artists, some of which are still touring and recording now, gave the 1960s hits that would become mainstays on the radio. As I said before, The Beatles is the main band of this decade. The 1970s I would give to Led Zeppelin, the 1980s would go to Journey (although I’d make an argument for The Smiths,) and the 1990s would have to belong to Nirvana (also an argument for Sublime or Pavement, too.)

But what about the noughties: from 2000-2010. Although it breaks my heart to say so, Nickelback may have to lay claim to that decade. I know, I’m saddened by typing that as well, but who else would we be able to give it to? Jimmy Eat World? Kings of Leon? The Killers? None of these bands have garnered the abundance of sales and fan base that Nickelback has, unfortunately. Which brings me to my sad realization that rock’s brightest moments may have already passed us. Although the 1990s saw a resurrection of rough, feedback-driven, guitar-laden rock from the synth ways of the 1980s, will we see one now? Rock music is in a bleak spot, and I hope sometime soon a band or artist will come along and shake things back to where they belong.


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