Rock Is Dead? Roll Is Sleeping

Rock n roll isn't dead. It's sleeping.

Ultimate Guitar

Jet has said that rock music is not dead, but that rock n roll was... that artists have forgotten about the lighter side of their music - the roll.

I think this is true. But why is it true?

Rock n roll is not dead - a sound can never die (besides disco). As long as there are rock n roll music stations that keep on playing the songs that everybody loves, then it's perfectly living. Rock n roll will always live.

But will it live well? That's a different story.

I wasn't around for music from the 70s (my regrets, too.) I can only be here for what little music stands the test of time - and that may actually be better for me. Watch "Almost Famous". In it, the world's most renowned rock critic thinks rock music is dead in 1973. Is it? Now we can say no. But one thinks what is not the truth.

But what I can complain about in modern music is 2 things. 1, is the sound.

There are really 3 types of modern rock bands. One is the type that sounds like Nickleback. You turn on the radio, you think you hear Nickleback. No. It's some lame band that changed it's sound to sound like what's hot at the moment.

Two is the sound that sounds like New Found Glory, or all basic pop/punk. Just some squeky guy screaming into a mic, right? Well, that's my opinion, but either way, you can't argue that New Found Glory and Story Of The Year don't sound similiar. You can't.

3 is the rest, the band's that don't change their sound to be hot for a moment; the bands that just try to make musical music. Thank god for the third type of band. I don't like Evanescence, but atleast they're different from the rest of the crap that is played on the radio.

My other complaint about modern music? They forget about what music's all about.

Music is hear to sound good and entertain, not tell a story. It can tell a story along the way and it can say what's happened to you, and it can be packed with emotion and heart and sadness. But if it doesn't sound good, it shouldn't matter.

In the 60s, most music was just about having fun and doing drugs.

In the 70s, most music was just about having fun and doing drugs.

In the 80s, most music was about some minor suffering... and having fun and doing drugs.

In the 90s, though, music turned to forget that the only reason music is really here is to have fun.

Let's look back on that for proof. People say "songs today have no meaning", but that's not true. Songs today try to have meaning and fail. A song does not have to have meaning to be good. Proof? A lot of Beatles songs, in particular "I am the Walrus".

"I am the Walrus, coo coo ca choo"

It's hard to argue that that song even tried to have any sort of real, tide and true meaning. But it was fun to hear, it was fun to groove to.

Even with old meaningful rock n roll songs, they didn't really go out of their way to make something the be all end all tell all story of their life. "Stairway To Heaven" wasn't intended to be the world's most meaningful song, it was intended to be a good song, a fun song to listen to. Modern music has forgotten this.

The second music tries to be meaningful, it loses its purpose. Music is a way of getting one's emotions out, and I'm not saying that songs about breaking up or heartbreak or pain should stop.

What I am saying, though, is that you can't only write about the bad and you can't only write meaningful songs.

Rock n roll isn't dead, no. Rock n roll is sleeping. It's starting to wake up again, but it's sleeping nonetheless.

Bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Darkness, Jet, and even Radiohead haven't forgotten that a song doesn't have to be all meaningful or deep to be great. Radiohead tries to make music that sounds different but good, and if meaning comes out in that - so be it.

Jet writes meaningless songs, but who the hell cares? They sound good. "1 2 3 take my hand and come with me because you look so fine and I really wanna make you mine." Deep? No. Good? Yes. As long as the words can match your guitar, your drums, and your bassline (in this case, the semi - Iggy Popish wonder that is "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"), then you don't need words that say "It's all downhill from here". (Yeah, sorry, New Found Glory, but you tried too hard.)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers groove in their music. Even with "Under The Bridge", they didn't try to make that song meaningful. John Frusciante had a guitar part and Anthony Kiedis read poetry over it - and there's your song. Sounds incredibly awesome - but did it try to be a meaningful song? No.

What I'm getting at with these explanations is that, when you write music, don't focus on meaningful lyrics. Focus on lyrics that groove with the rest of the music.

But what does what you should write effect the record industry?

Jackson Brown has said that the record industry used to be about the music, and now it's just run by money-driven jerkoffs (this is obviously not a direct quote, but you get the gyst.) As artists (I'm really assuming that if you're on, you do it for reasons other than being that guy who pops up in AC/DC threads and says "AC/DC suxrs!!~!~!!!111!"), we cannot do anything about this other than write good music. But there are things we can do to avoid going in line with what MTV force feeds us and to what the radio makes us hear.

I'm not saying taking over a radio station and play only good music. What I am saying is, forget about image.

Does a song sound good but the music video is bad? Buy the album anyway. The music is about the music, not about what Christopher Mills can draw while listening to Modest Mouse or how Slash's hair looks in the limelight of "Slither". Listen to the music, buy the good music.

I'm going to get off topic a bit here and rag on people who dislike The Darkness. You don't like The Darkness because they seem to be mocking older styles and only imitating older sounds.

Who cares!?

If the music is good, let the music play. Derr. It should never be any other way.

And that's how I want to close my first article. Let the good music play - it shouldn't be any other way. (It rhymes. Yippee.)

122 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Rock has been disminished by the fault of all the hip-hop/gay-pop culture ROCK NEVER DIES!
    First off music needs meaning, instead of all the worhtless shit you hear, most songs have meaning, whether it's blatant or deep. Don't ever say radiohead didn't have meaning in their songs. You shouldn't post, you're ignorant, what you say has no MEANING!
    he's completly rite, music today is just crappy because of MTV telling us what we should like. they think its fine to like 50 cent and hear an idiot talk about how many times he went to the club last night but and hear simple plan talk about about how a girl broke their heart again but it not cool to hear a ridiculous solo from a guitar god
    and.. Hey hey, my my Rock and roll can never die There?s more to the picture Than meets the eye. Hey hey, my my.
    as Neil Young once said... Hey hey, my my Rock and roll is here to stay It's better to burn out Than to fade away Hey hey, my my
    Enter the BIll
    THis dude is totaly right. Bands now are Fuc* heads and there music is $hit. Music is about guitar solos, drum and bass beats then some singing. Not stories and shit. Its bout fun and drugs and places, sex and love. Purple Haze, Kashir, China Grove, and Rock and ROll is definitly not Noise pollution Punk $hit is.
    First of all, for everyone just coming in and saying "this is stupid. *** you". You guys are ***ers, and you aren't arguing or proving your point at all. Anyway, as far as what you guys mentioned, I think you're missing a point. There's a difference between writing songs about real problems (drug habits, wars, dead sons), and just getting behind a microphone and whining about love. They do that because that's what's popular. You really think every single whiny frontman has had such a heart wrenching tragedy happen to him that it's all he can sing about? No. Blink 182 did it (and they did it good), and it got popular. So people started jumping on. They're not expressing themselves or writing about what's on their mind...for the most part, they're just trying to appeal to the jock-fraternity boys on MTV.
    Yes, I Am the Walrus had no meaning whatsoever. John Lennon wrote that song when he heard from Pete Shotton that some college students were finding "secret meanings" in Beatles songs. After writing it, John said, "Let the ****ers work that one out, Pete!"
    3 out of five for the disco crack. Rock is not dead, music is supposed to be meaningful...listen to any DMB song. Half of Metallicas songs are about trying to kick drug habits or other struggles in their lives...Soulfly dedicated an album to threatening to kill the people who murdered the lead singers son...and EVERY SINGLE Bob Dylan song had a story/symbol behind it. Oh, and...uh... 1. The Darkness doesn't suck, they are good to just party to. 2. Meaning behind music is just as important as the song itself. and 3. 2PAC is not dead...he's chillin in Jamaica with Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Garcia. Good on 'yer mate for your first article, tho. Never mind the Bollocks...peace...
    yeah, i liked the article and all but how can you say rock and roll is dead or sleeping or whatever. Has everyone forgotten what rock and roll came from. All it was in the beginning was a reved up version of blues. And blues was almost always about expressing the plight and sadness of ones self. You're right in a way that Rock now a days is self loathing, depressing, and melodramatic, and heavy, but how is that a bad thing. People are open today about anything, if they feel bad, they express it. I think all modern psychiotrist are to blame for that shit. But honestly, sometimes getting lost in the lyrics is fun. People are trying to get past the pop, bubble gum, no meaning thing in life. Can you blame them for wanting to emulate Zepplin adn all the other great songwriters of the past. They're trying for greatness, which is good, its just coming out a little forced. The "Roll" is about not trying, but music is a business, you have to try. Rock n'Roll is not dying or sleeping or any other bull people spit out, its thriving, and in the way only it can. It is evolving, maturing, not just changing it's image (pop, rap), and as long as it changes and connects to people and moves them, its still rolling. In this way, its not sleeping, its not old, Its a forever horny, smokin, sexy, young teenager.
    Rock will come back when people stop watching MTV and start looking at the song not the image.
    like CRYINGNUT said: pop isn't beatles its britney, rock isn't AC/DC, its sum 41. it will eventually turn around
    What are you talkin ***ing *******... how you dare to compare britney spears with the beatles and sum 41 with the legend of AC/DC only beocouse in your imperialist country like to listen shit it doesnt mean is good... i agreed with the article tahta the new music is just shit but no becouse the meaningful lyrics just becouse Mtv or the radio stations put in air the same ***ing song 30 times a day all days of the week... then when we hear the song we just gorge for that and change the station.. and finaly to SARGASM FUCK YOU ASSHOLE... with your comentary you only said that you dont know a shit about music led zeppelin is one of the best bands ever.. and only if you dont undestand... FUCK YOU ASSHOLE...
    In the 60s, most music was just about having fun and doing drugs. what the hell man hendrix freakin hendrix yea he did drugs lots of them but his music isnt all about drugs and having fun i mean theres soo muchmeaning in his songs so what the hell you talking about i mean sure purpl haze and some otherof his songs are about drugs but hes got so much feeling and emotion in some of his songs
    *** the 60s and 70s... hasnt anyone ever heard of 50's rock? thats real rock n' roll if there ever did be real rock n' roll. Fuck that led zeppelin shit.
    Fuck you *******
    *** the 60s and 70s... hasnt anyone ever heard of 50's rock? thats real rock n' roll if there ever did be real rock n' roll. Fuck that led zeppelin shit.
    To all those who bag out jet for "stealing this part from so-and-so", i'd like to remind you that the song your probably acusing them of stealing is probably stolen. the black blues players of the 20s-30s etc wrote heaps of great songs, then people like howlin wolf, chuck berry, elvis, elmore james and little richard etc, took that idea and spiced it up, then the beatles, the stones, the who etc, took those ideas and put their own spin on them, then led zeppelin, black sabbath, the doors, allman brothers, pink floyd etc, added to them. etc etc etc music is evolution, the good thing about it is that we can revisit any point in its evolution and listen to the beautiful music that these guys created. and thats all that jet are doing, they're just doing what others before them were doing and there is nothing wrong with that.
    I'm American, Oasis was never even close to big. YOU AREN'T HEARING ME, MAN. I said Under the Bridge had meaning, but it didn't go out of it's way to be meaningful like bands do nowadays. Anthony Kiedis wrote Under the Bridge as poetry about his battle with heroin and contemplating suicide; but he didn't write it thinking "add a guitar part and force it on MTV". He didn't write meaningful lyrics to the music. He wrote poetry, and John Frusciante tested his guitar part to it. NOW ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTS TO TEST THAT SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY. And start friggen reading what I wrote, not what you interpreted.
    Under The Bridge was about kicking heroin, you daft arse. Might try doing your homework.
    In the 90s, though, music turned to forget that the only reason music is really here is to have fun.
    Oasis were the biggest band of the 90's (at least over here in the UK) and they hardly forgot about having fun. The music was cheerful and meaningful (for the most part). To say that a happy song can't be deeply meaningful is ignorant and stupid; have you ever heard Live Forever?
    Well... you might be right... might not. The Door's deep meaningful lyrics make their songs special.
    Just a quick note..blink 182 did write a lot of songs about girls and tragedy and all that, but what sets them away from the pop-punk scene there is now is that thats not all they wrote about. They had songs like touchdown boy and until now they always had fun funny songs. Unfortunately they have grown up....Always here to write about everyones fav band Blink goodbye
    all music bands like to have fun but most of them of the 60's-70's-80's and even today put their heart and soul into the music they make. Music is an artform with many different genres of artists. You can't say modern music has made a turn for the worse when only certain styles are takeing turns for the worse. Metal still lives on and will always live on, both death and heavy. There are still that big handful of musicians that actually care about their music. So dude learn to listen to other genres of music before you can question is rock is dead because it clearly isn't.
    all i got to say is look out for Submersed in september, they will blow your ***in socks off
    have you ever heard punk? i mean the real punk ie clash, pistols anti-flag. those bands have meaning and they sound great. oh yeah and the darkness should go back to the 80's where they would stick out like a sore thumb.
    jet don't have roll. they have rip-off skills. they probably sat down in the studio going "hmm, which band should we sound like on this song. we've already got ac/dc and the stooges." they do nothing original. at least the darkness's songs all sound like they're by the same band.
    Jet says they're not trying to make there music origional, that they copy other bands.
    blink is shit. And about the article, I didn't read the whole article, I just saw what u said about "Rock n roll is sleeping" and it reminded me punk. Why? Cause punk is not's sleeping. I hope both (Rock n roll & punk) wake up soon, I need them.
    The Darkness rocks, and just because Jet doesn't sound like the same band in every song is a good thing, its call Musical Diversity dipsh*ts, Ever hear of the Beatles?
    no offence, but if you've got enough motivatoin to sit down infont of your computer for ages and write this article, then why not go the whole way and write a ***ing brilliant song and backup your point further that rock'n'roll is not dead!
    You know I don't see the point of this article. The basic point of this article is, don't write meaningful songs, write songs about fun. Point one - The Chili's "Under the Bridge" is very meaningful, I think Anthony would be hurt if he heard someone say that seeing as how personal it is. Point two - If you want to listen to music that is meaningless and all fun listen to rap man, ALL their songs are about sex and doin drugs. We already know you like drugs, and who doesn't love sex? You're pretty much telling us all to love rap. Either that or songs by bands such as Blink 182, many of their songs are meaningless and fun. My point is, songs with meaning are not bad. My other point is, pointless songs usually blow.
    daoist_8, you retard, I say RADIOHEAD DID HAVE MEANING YOU RETARD I said they didn't go out and say "let's write a song about heartbreak" or "let's be deep", they just wrote music and it came out meaningful. They didn't spend there time trying to be cool about a heartbreak liek so many pop/punk bands are today. SO SHUT THE FUCK UP AND READ WHAT I WROTE, NOT WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU READ.
    If The Rolling Stones are still alive and touring,then rock isn't dead.
    Led Zep#1
    the problem with music today is that no one gives a shit wut the music sounds like just as long as they can look all pretty on stage playing theyre difficult palmuted strikes (difficult my ass). And i am also going to point out is how very few bands try and be diff. from one another. I believe the best bands we have today is The darkness RHCP, Radiohead, The Srokes etc. as much as it may seem ROCK IS NOT DEAD!
    the darkness are really great,their sound a little out of date and funny...but their really rock!!!listen to their solo.... yeah!!!!!