As a fairly limited music genre stretching for almost seven decades, rock spawned a good deal of cliches going far beyond the genre's domain these days. Whether they're lyric or image-related, the cliches are definitely out there, so join us as we make a brief rundown of ten tacky rock cliches. While we're at it, do you see these as a guilty pleasure or a vomit stimulation?
Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. The so-called angel/devil lyric approach of making riff-heavy macho rockers about treating women like crap and then evening it out with mellow ballads about that special one you've lost for good has been widespread among bands for quite some time now. You could take Whitesnake as one of the earlier extreme examples or Nickelback as the modern ones (or any of hundreds of groups in between). Basically, these guys are on a prowl, reaching for the sky, bringing girls to their knees looking for all of their love (hugs 'n' kisses too). It's the kind of lyrics tacky enough to make your teeth cringe, gut if done right, it's guilty pleasures galore.
Sticking It to the Man
At numerous occasions, rock was the music of cultural rebellion that helped shaped a modern man's mindset and expand many horizons. But probably even more often, rock bands forced rebelliousness just for the sake of it. Youth going wild, breaking the law and chains of society in a hectic rock frenzy. Why? They saw the writing on the wall apparently, and now they're not gonna take it anymore. And f--k you, they won't do what you tell them!
Running Free Forever Young
Freedom comes as a crucial matter for any outstanding rocker, that's why they're sticking it to the man in the first place. Commonly open road-related (preferably including a Harley Davidson bike), hope and freedom are what it's all about. The feeling of running wild and free, forever young, ramblin' on on your steel horse (or a freight train) is the greatest one out there; after all, you were born to run. So go on free bird, you're half way there anyhow.
The (insert word here)s
This one's an earlier rock trend but still a definite cliche. The early rock heroes, vastly a part of the British invasion, had a strange tendency to name themselves using the so-called "The (insert word here)s" pattern. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Zombies, The Hollies, The Animals, The Yardbirds, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, The Searchers, The Troggs, and these are all major names or genuine rock legends, the entire list of groups likely goes on for miles.
As a wise man once said, "everything steel is good, and anything good must be compared to steel." Of course we're talking mostly about power and to a good extent heavy metal domain. Manowar might pop up to one's mind as a synonym for manly men metal cliche, but there's plenty of power metallers to go around with. Dragons, witches, wizards, armies of evil, mighty foes, they have all fallen ... by steel ... so far away.
High in High School
High school is the time when most rock and metal fans are at the height of their musical passion. It's actually the time from which we all have our greatest memories regarding rock - the spark was stronger than ever and music had that magical effect strong enough to shape the future course of our lives. But back to the topic, a lot of bands out there sang about high school, taking the evil teachers cliche to a whole new level. School's out, leave those kids alone, they just wanna rock, or be high in high school, or they're hot for teacher, who knows.
Satanism and Gory Horror Stuff
Ever since Black Sabbath first reached success with horror themes, the gory aspect of metal music was taken to a new level several times, but in a whole lot of places in between, it got worn out and over-used to the max. Same could be said about Satanism and occult themes. If done right, the horror effect can truly be something special, but mess up a few (or many) things, and the only effect you'll get is people rolling their eyes over, or just laughing.
Once again somewhat of a Sabbath-related subject, the devil horns just top the Satanism stuff, since they became so overused over time that they even have a tendency to become a cliche of the mainstream media (if they haven't already), let alone the rock domain.
This one's a fairly obvious choice, so even mentioning it is a cliche. The '80s big hair got really big at a certain point, making it nothing short of ridiculous and easily earning it a spot on the list.
This one deserves an article of its own, so we'll just cover the basics. Smashing guitars, choreographed jamming, mic twirling, drumstick twirling, guitar twirling Yngwie style, hour-long guitar solos, hour-long drum solos, hour-long bass solos (yeah right) and then there's the rock show lingo - the whole "Make some noise!" "Are you ready to rock?" "Lemme hear you!" "I can't hear you!" "Helooo (insert city name, possibly wrong)!" thing, and that's just the basics.
So we've only scratched the surface here, feel free to share any other rock cliches you can think of in the comments. But back to the big question - do you consider these cliches as a guilty pleasure or they just make you sick? And would the rock world be better off without them?