The death of the rock?
“Woke up this morning with the strangest feeling/I had a nightmare, but I wasn’t dreaming/I ran outside to see, it’s not 2003/Turned on the radio it’s so confusing/Rappers were singing/And rockers DJ’ing/There’s no guitars on the songs that they’re playing (…)”. Those are the lyrics of “40 oz. Dream”, a song of Good Charlotte, the American rock-punk band which released their sixth studio album “Youth Authority” on July 15, 2016.
By the other hand, in an interview with The Times, Roger Daltrey, member of the iconic British Rock band The Who, lamented the state of the Rock ‘n’ Roll: “The sadness for me is that rock has reached a dead end… the only people saying things that matter are the rappers and most pop is meaningless and forgettable”.
What happen to the rock in the last years that so many groups/musicians/artists/music critics that are talking about the death of rock? There are many ideas about this,but the most relevant are the following:
There are not rock since 1961-1962
In an interview with the AARP Magazine, Bob Dylan said the following: “I was still an aspiring rock ’n’ roller. The descendant, if you will, of the first generation of guys who played rock ’n’ roll — who were thrown down. Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis. They played this type of music that was black and white. Extremely incendiary. Your clothes could catch fire. When I first heard Chuck Berry, I didn’t consider that he was black. I thought he was a white hillbilly. Little did I know, he was a great poet, too. And there must have been some elitist power that had to get rid of all these guys, to strike down rock ’n’ roll for what it was and what it represented — not least of all it being a black-and-white thing (…) Racial prejudice has been around awhile, so, yeah. And that was extremely threatening for the city fathers, I would think. When they finally recognized what it was, they had to dismantle it, which they did, starting with payola scandals. The black element was turned into soul music, and the white element was turned into English pop. They separated it. I think of rock ’n’ roll as a combination of country blues and swing band music, not Chicago blues, and modern pop. Real rock ’n’ roll hasn’t existed since when? 1961,1962? Well, it was a part of my DNA, so it never disappeared from me” (you can’t check it out the full interview in this link: http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-2015/bob-dylan-aarp-magazine.1.html )
So according to Bob Dylan the Rock ‘n’ Roll doesn’t exist since 1961-1962 and what we have is soul by one side and English pop, by the other hand. The English pop then, could be the genre that could be dying.
The rock doesn’t represent what represent in 1960’s.
“Rock ’n’ roll was never just about a sound; it was about an ideal. In trying to explain that magical alchemy a half-century ago, historians speak about a convergence of forces rising up against such issues as sexual repression, social injustice, growing conformity, and the threat of nuclear annihilation(…) Even with the charisma of Elvis and the ringing guitar of Chuck Berry in the 1950s and the idealism of the Beatles and Dylan in the 1960s, the rock ’n’ roll revolution would never have triumphed unless it filled an urgent need in teenagers”, according to Robert Hilburn, in his book “Corn Flakes with John Lennon: and other tales from a Rock ‘n’ Roll life”.
But seems nowadays those issues and the “urgent need” of teenagers are filled by hip hop music, and mostly by the rappers. Even, Hilburn himself says “When “Rapper’s Delight” [“Rapper’s Delight” was a single released by The Sugarhill Gang, which is considered to be the song that introduced the hip hop to the audiences around the world] began getting airplay in Los Angeles in 1980, I never imagined the new sound could assume as significant a cultural role as rock had”.
And there are a consequence: “the “problem is that if the kids aren’t listening to rock, when they go into the music industry they won’t make rock.” (https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/jan/16/sam-leith-death-of-rock)
The Millennial Whoop and the lack of innovation
According to NME, the millennial whoop “is a series of notes that jump back and forth between the fifth and third notes in a major scale. The term was coined by Patrick Metzger, who notes Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ as the real culprit behind this virulent melodic trend” (You can check it out the full article in this link: http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/what-is-the-millennial-whoop-songs-3714#6keX452U5kauDloh.99 )
The full article of Metzger identify other songs using the Millennial Whoop as “She’s My Winona” by Fall Out Boy, “Little Numbers” by BOY, “All I Want” by Stonefox and “I Really Don’t Care” by Demi Lovato. This is the link for the full article https://thepatterning.com/2016/08/20/the-millennial-whoop-a-glorious-obsession-with-the-melodic-alternation-between-the-fifth-and-the-third/ )
Following this idea, there are in many songs using this Millennial Whoop, what drive us to think in the lack of creativity and innovation in this kind of music.
The advances of the technology
In an interview with Esquire, Gene Simmons, bassist of Kiss, said: “The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered”. Who is the murderer? “The masses do not recognize file-sharing and downloading as stealing because there’s a copy left behind for you — it’s not that copy that’s the problem, it’s the other one that someone received but didn’t pay for. The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it”. (You can check it out the full interview in this link: http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/interviews/a26330/gene-simmons-future-of-rock/?src=spr_TWITTER&spr_id=1456_85172828 )
Unfortunately, the problem of file-sharing and downloading is a problem that affects all the music industry, not only the rock, so we think this can be a problem for all the genres, not only for the rock as think Gene Simmons.
For The Echo Music Editors, the Rock ‘n’ Rock, in their pure form as Bob Dylan describes, its dead a long ago. But there are something called rock with some influence of pop (among this genres rock, pop-rock, rock-punk, pop-punk, indie, etcetera) which we understand actually as rock. This rock is what Roger Daltrey and Robert Hilburn are referring and this is the rock that is dying. What is killing him? The lack of innovation, the influence of the Millennial Whoop, but also the apparition of the hip hop attract the young people, cause fill the “urgent need” of teenagers, and “if the kids aren’t listening to rock, when they go into the music industry they won’t make rock.”
By the other hand, as we said above, the problem of the technology doesn’t affects only the rock: affects to all the music industry. This is a problem that can be solved through streaming platforms, or by platforms as Bandcamp which can help to the artists to share easily their music with their fans.
It’s not 2003 and neither 1960, but as says Hilburn in his book: “As I moved further along Sunset, past the turnoff to Phil Spector’s old house, I wondered again about whether rock’s golden age was ending. If it was in danger, it wouldn’t be critics, musicians, record companies, or radio stations that would save it. The future belonged to young music fans—as it always has”. And if there are any fan, in his room, listening the music of Elvis Presley or The Smiths, and this music is filling his “urgent need” there will be an air of life for the rock.