“Rock is dead!” “Rock is dead, finally!!” “This is last gasp of Rock and Roll!!!”
Yah man, we’ve read all your catchy headlines.
People have been blowing that boring old tired horn for DECADES. You can save it.
We’re not going to declare that rock and roll will never die, or that rock and roll is here to stay because we’re also tired of these bullshit, catch-all blanket statements, but is it too far off base to suggest that like any old bastard, maybe rock just likes to take a bit of a nap every once in a while?
There is a theory that rock revivals are on a 13-year cycle and after that time, rock music makes a comeback. It plays on a rotation between forms of dance, pop, and hip-hop and if history is any indication, it WILL come back eventually. Think punk in the ’70s, hair metal in the ’80s, grunge in the ’90s, and Alternative in the ’00s. All of these revivals were interspersed with the likes of disco, boy bands, the Madonnas, the Michael Jacksons, the Britneys, and time after time, they rang the death rattle, dirty, pesky angry rock and roll reared its leathery, matted head again not long after.
The last rock cycle peaked around 2005. The year ended off with hits from Green Day, Coldplay, The Killers, Weezer, Papa Roach, Gorillaz, Fall Out Boy, Nickleback. Sure, you remember, it was that bizarre time when every rock band had to have ‘The’ in their name, ie, The White Stripes, The Hives, The Black Keys. After that, 2006’s charts had significantly less rock. Looking back now, you can see that the wave was cresting and it was time for another nap.
By 2006, Hip-Hop had firmly established itself in the mainstream and more importantly, on the dance floor, even Eminem who was ground-breaking up until then hadn’t yet reached the dancefloor. There was no new MJ. No new disco. Then 2006 brought us “Smack That” ft. Akon and “Shake That” ft. Nate Dogg. It’s not a stretch to say that 2006 could be the year that hip hop finally conquered the mainstream, after all, Kanye’s “Golddigger” was released that year.
Right now, we’re undoubtedly still firmly in a Hip-Hop cycle, it dominates every chart, every list and most of the awards. “Best Rock Album” at The Grammys didn’t even get shown in the primetime televised broadcast. Rock is in the weeds, it’s overwhelmed, it doesn’t know what to do with itself, but it’s foolish (no matter how badly your blog needs the clicks) to say that it’s “dead.”
If you look at the Hot 100 today, it’s less than 3% Rock with no indication of anything substantial coming down the pipe, but it is STILL there. Machine Gun Kelly’s last record was essentially pop-punk and hip-hop-alternative-hybrid weirdo Oliver Tree just made a single with Blink-182. Harry Styles is arguably keeping the pop-rock flame alive and Post Malone did a Nirvana Tribute Show during the lock-downs.
Sure, they may be retro-nods but is this the start? If the cycle holds true then it seems that rock is due soon-ish, and who knows what will emerge from the basements, bedrooms, and garages once the locks come off the doors and we all wake up from this nap