By Braden Murray | Journalist / Anchor LTVN
The phrase “Rock is dead” is a very common refrain among older music fans. It is simply not true. Rock just isn’t as ubiquitous in modern culture as it used to be.
The perceived “death” of rock often coincides with the gradual rise of hip-hop culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Meanwhile, classic rap artists such as Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Notorious BIG and Nas topped the charts and were among the most popular artists of the decade.
During the 1990s, grunge was the predominant subgenre of rock. Everything changed on April 5, 1994, when Nirvana singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain died. You could say grunge died with Kurt, as the rest of the 1990s saw the rise of post-grunge like Foo Fighters, nu-metal like Linkin Park, and alternative bands like Radiohead.
All of these new subgenres have their merits, but for the most part they are vastly inferior to the decades of rock music that preceded them. The early 2000s saw the rise of garage rock, led by bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes.
In the mid-2000s, punk rock began to experience a resurgence. But this time it wasn’t the kind of punk The Clash released in the 1970s. No, it was pop-punk – the kind of music you can hear in Hot Topic stores across the country.
Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally enjoy some My Chemical Romance or even some Blink-182, but it just doesn’t have the same success as the classic punk bands of yore.
The 2010s were when things started to get really bad for mainstream rock music. If rock wasn’t already dead before the 2010s, then it certainly was after… right? Bad.
Good rock never died; it just didn’t see as much mainstream success as before. People who talk about the death of rock most often talk about classic rock and glam rock.
Many artists from the 1970s and 1980s are still touring, and some of them are even releasing new music to this day. There have even been new artists who have tried to bring back the classic rock sound; Greta Van Fleet is the most successful example of this.
For some reason, these new attempts to bring back the rock of yesteryear just don’t resonate with older audiences. A lot of people refuse to give Greta Van Fleet any credit, all because the voice sounds like the voice of Led Zeppelin.
I think some of the best rock music coming out right now is not from the United States. I think the best pure rock band right now is Australian band King Gizzard and The Lizzard Wizard.
In the UK there is a bubbling punk and rock scene, which provided some of the best rock albums of the last year. Some of my favorites in this category are Black Country, New Road and Black Midi.
We even have great bands here in Waco. Bands like Rad Dragon and Fooligan are a few examples of bands in the area hoping to make it big.
Rock is not dead; you just have to search harder to find the right things.