Music is much like the ocean – once you take a few steps into what seems like calm and serene waters, soon without you even realizing it, you’re pulled right in by its tide-less rhythm and timeless resonance. It has the power to drench you from head to toe in emotions and exhilaration – and most of us, almost always, surrender to the haven it provides us with.
A Brief History of Rock & Roll
The kind of clarity and serenity even the loudest of punk rock and metal can possess can drown out our thoughts. We listen to this music every day but do we really know about its origins and influence on us? Let’s look at the American rock legacy which began in the early 1950s, and later started developing through the 1960s. By the 70s, most of the sub-genres under rock that are famous today started emerging – alternative, punk rock, metal, etc. Soon alternative branched into a new stream, referred as grunge, this genre was extremely contrasting to the music that was famous at that particular time and that is what made grunge so famous, it gave the people something new to listen to, something new to lose their minds to. The grunge era took place in the early 1990s when Nirvana came into the picture, when they turned millions of heads in their direction with the world famous hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. Nirvana’s music directly channelled frontman Kurt Cobain’s art and his anger. Their music was the sort that a lot of people could relate to, it was the sort that left an impression on people.
Death & Rock n Roll
I once read this book called Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman. It was mainly based on death and rock ‘n’ roll, quite morbid one might think, but not unusual. If someone heard the words ‘death’ and ‘rock and roll’ in one sentence they wouldn’t be surprised, mainly due to the deaths of several rock stars. But I think that has played a part in making rock and roll so famous over the years. For instance, the legendary Nirvana lead singer, Kurt Cobain (dubbed the voice of the generation), Elvis Presley, Jeff Buckley – these artists died at the peak of their career, they turned rock music into something more, into salvation. Moreover, they have been the building blocks of the rock legacy – their existence is eternal, forever looming in the shadows of time and space, forever etched in all the memories that are unknown to them. And that is what has made them and their music immortal in our minds.
The American rock culture has ranged over years and a myriad of inspirational artists and bands like Chuck Berry, Nirvana, Styx, Elvis Presley, Jeff Buckley, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Metallica, Ramones, The Eagles, Alice in Chains, AC/DC and the list goes on. It is a legacy that owes its success to these very artists that have made history. Rock and roll is the kind of music that can influence people in a way that transports them to a place that they believe is their haven, it is escapism, it is solitude, it is a refuge from the outside world. In addition to this, rock music has not only influenced daily lives, fashion, language, attitudes but has also largely influenced minds; and if you listen closely then you’ll come to realize that it speaks the kind of truth that is hard to find.
Humans are a social species – they need something or somewhere to belong to, and rock ‘n’ roll has provided them with exactly that, more than any other social development ever could. To outsiders, rock music may merely sound like a cacophony of meaningless loud noises, but for someone who deeply relates to this genre, it means a lot more than just that. In today’s society, rock is sometimes classified as a genre that is approached by troubled teens, or just someone who is trying to seek some form of sanctum amongst the voices of inspiring artists who convey their emotions; people can relate to this music, the lyrics make all the sense in the world, and the guitar riffs have the kind of soul that makes the listener feel something greater than themselves.
It is a mere human tendency to try to find something that can make you feel something deeper, something that leaves an impact on you and rock music has the power to leave impressions and give birth to new perspectives. Rock isn’t a mainstream genre in today’s generation but that is what makes it different and all the more valuable. It is the kind of music that will fuel many more generations to come without drowning out its originality.