It’s a turbulent time for rock music at the moment, with the popular genre not proving so popular within the mainstream charts many bands are trying new ideas out to regenerate it into the spotlight. The biggest and boldest move thus far came only a few months ago with Fall Out Boy making their much anticipated return, after deciding to take a break in 2009, with the album ‘Save Rock and Roll.’ The American band hailing from Chicago, Illinois combine numerous amount of sounds from across several genres in comprising their latest album. The likes of Big Sean features from the rap world and Elton John also makes an appearance. The album title is a tongue and cheek take on the rise of watered down pop music with bassist Pete Wentz envisioning critical responses to it. In terms of a rock album it is nothing like that and would be considered more multi-genre than anything, but most importantly did the album put the genre back in the spotlight? When looking at the sales figures you would have to say yes. The album sold more than 154,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number one in the Billboard charts. When looking at the style and sound however you would have to say no. They focus more on catchy choruses and synths rather than traditional hard rock sounds and the features, despite working on a pop level, do not work in a rock context.
Take a look at the current charts though and you will be hard-pressed to find a Nirvana, Foo Fighters esc type of band, so is this the future for the genre? I know a lot of people will be hoping that is not the case. Bands such as Everything Everything and Foals have had recent success by combining rock elements with high pitched vocals and electronic sounds, with that looking more certain. As musical tastes change genres need to adapt and rock is no exception. Up and coming albums from Kings of Leon and Thirty Seconds to Mars will be a test of the genres longevity in the charts, but with both bands already falling into the trap of creating pop rock it looks like traditional rock as many know it could be a dying breed. There will always be kids willing to go out and dig up the corpse however, but with the rise of electronically based music such as house and garage, the big question on my lips is, will we ever be graced by the presence of a Kurt Cobain, or a Dave Grohl again? Time can only tell.
First published: May 10, 2013
Where?: Originally featured in Gallery magazine, and then put online – https://willgcollege.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/the-changing-face-of-rock-music-feature-article/