The other day, I was having a discussion about music with a few of my friends. I can’t remember exactly how we got to it, but one of my friends said that all rock music was the same. Yeah, a rather closed-minded response. In all honesty, I was too stunned to come up with a strong enough argument to dispute this statement (I’m a writer after all, not a speaker). So, this article is for all those who don’t understand the complexity of the rock genre and its branches.
First and foremost, the term rock originated as “rock and roll”, which drew many of its influences from African-American genres of blues and country. The genre also is known to draw influences from almost all other genres including classical and jazz. This allowed for rock to evolve over the years, becoming something even greater than what it was in the 50’s and 60’s 02when the genre came into being.
Unlike what people like my step-dad believe, the lyrics of rock music don’t always deal with violence and death. In reality, it is a very emotional genre that takes a majority of its influences from everyday life. Most rock music possesses themes of romance, overcoming depression, and even social and political themes. Not the “devil music” many believe it to be, huh?
During the 60’s, rock began to branch out into subgenres that, while keeping the underlying theme of rock, changed into something inherently different. Such genres included blues rock, folk rock, raga rock, and later, psychedelic rock, which, as many can ascertain from the name, was a representative of psychedelic culture. As the years went on, and rock continued to grow and branch out until there were over a hundred different sub-genres.
Now, for the main argument. As previously stated, there are dozens upon dozens of different versions of rock, each similar but, at the same time, different. There’s Jazz rock, or jazz fusion, is rock that incorporates aspects of jazz harmony and improvisation of the jazz, psychedelic rock attempts to replicate the mind-altering effects that come from psychedelic drugs with the use of non-Western instrumentation, disjunctive song structure, and extended instrumental segments, heavy metal displays thick and massive sounds via amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, and emphatic beats (it is this genre that many associate with aggression), and that’s only a few.
Rock is a very diverse genre. It is one of the world’s oldest recorded genres and it is good enough to have survived the test of time. Because of everything rock has done and been through, it does not deserve to be categorized as a single category. Saying that all rock subgenres are just rock is like saying all music is blues because all music stems from it. Rock and its subgenres have become their own genres, so please, treat them with the respect that any genre of music deserves.