Long live rock 'n' roll
The feeling is still there — the life, the energy, the adrenaline. I can still hear that first riff of the lead guitar, and the sound of the first power chord piercing through the air, as it rests itself on the ears of every rockaholic.
The sheer excitement of joining thousands of fans screaming, jumping and cheering on their favorite bands at a concert still resides within me. The intense vocals and powerfully sung lyrics of the greatest genre in the world are forever embedded into my brain to remind me of one thing. Rock 'n' roll will never die.
Growing up in a generation built on the superpowers of hip-hop, rap and pop, it can be rendered unusual for anyone born in the '90s to proclaim rock 'n' roll as their favorite genre.
With new waves of artists, songs, and even new genres being born, the emphasis on rock and its effect on music has been all but erased.
Lyrics expressing the desire to break through glass ceilings and making more of oneself with thoughtful and intelligent wording have been replaced with simple-minded aspirations of who can make the most money or own the most cars.
Ballads, once used to romance the eyes of people's affections, are now tainted with proclamations of who has the most "bitches and hoes."
Music industry's downward spiral is further escalated with the embracing of electronic dance music, also known as EDM. No longer is a musician required to pick up an instrument and dedicate years of practice to try to attain stardom. No longer is a vocalist able to utilize his or her gift of vocal intensity in order to amaze consumers.
All it takes these days is some imagination and the ability to press a few buttons and then flip a few switches to mix different beats and sounds into one.
People are correct in classifying this music as art, but the standards for art have severely diminished with a lack of originality.
Old-time groups such as Motown's Temptations, and rock legends like The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd took audiences by storm with their undeniable talent, while rock bands like Bon Jovi and Pearl Jam continue to light up arenas around the world.
Whether it was the poetic genius of John Lennon, or the guitar mastery of Jimi Hendrix, these musicians took it upon themselves to create masterpieces from their hard work and practice.
Rock bands no longer carry the same bone-chilling sound of their predecessors. The guitar solo is nearly nonexistent in songs of the new generation, constantly being substituted for vocal bridges or an extension of lyrical value. The immediate gratification factor of society no longer allows a band to perform a 30-second solo, as it makes consumers impatient with the brief absence of lyrics.
Artists and bands no longer garner the incentive to sell a million records due to the ever-advancing digital music sources online, including iTunes, the ringleader in the downfall of rock music.
"Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album, and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it," said Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi in a 2011 interview with the London-based Sunday Times Magazine.
The true form of rock 'n' roll may have reached its peak, but it remains alive and well, and lies within most hip hop songs, indie rock bands and pop hits around the world today.
Dubstep, a form of EDM, constantly samples rock artists in order to provide depth to its own sound. Songs such as Johnny Cash's "Ain't No Grave" and AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" have been modified into a form of EDM.
Hip-hop and rap artists are also known to mix rock into their music. P. Diddy's "I'll Be Missing You" samples the main instrumental of Police's "Every Step You Take." More recent songs include the Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake collaboration "Holy Grail," which samples former rock band Nirvana's smash hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Classic rock bands such as Queen are said to have laid the foundations for modern day bands such as fun. Lead singer Nate Ruess joined Queen for a version of their hit “Somebody to Love” during the 2013 iHeart Radio Music Festival.
Case in point, rock has been changed, modified, manipulated, and downright copied, but the essence of it can never be remade.
Rock was not just the music or the lyrics within a song. It was a way of life. It was going to the nearest music store and purchasing the latest album of favorite rock bands.
It was going to an Aerosmith concert and taking your shirt off and waving it in the air as you cheered on your band. It was picking up a guitar and holding a chord until blisters grew on your fingers. It was slamming down on a drum until every member of the neighborhood was telling you to keep it down. It was about singing until your vocal chords rasped. It was about creating lyrics in a complex and engaging way, no matter what the material.
It does not matter how far music evolves, or how low it may sink, the elements of rock music will continue to reside in all other music genres. Rock 'n' roll may not be what it once was, but the impact that it had on music and its evolution will forever live on within the core of all that is music.
As AC/DC would put it, "For those about to rock, we salute you."