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wundayatta's avatar

What is rock music about?

Asked by wundayatta (58354 points ) October 15th, 2012

Feel free to narrow this question down to a certain segment of rock, or to the rock music you like or don’t like. Although if anyone wants to tackle the issue of what rock, overall, is about, compared to say classical or jazz, or whatever else you want to compare it to, that would be just fine.

I asked my wife this yesterday, and she said it was about the beat. It was about dancing. Personally, I find a lot of rock music to be about rawness and a certain kind of insistent energy (was listening to The Boss at the time).

Some of it is about the story. Some of it is about the music, even, although not much, I don’t think, because it is mostly too simple to be about music. Perhaps you disagree. Sometimes simplicity is very important in music, but I think that if you listen to rock for music, you’re going to get bored awfully fast. Which means you must be listening for something else.

But I’m a jazz musician, and I look for complexity. Simplicity can breed complexity, but I don’t usually find that in rock music. Usually it seems to be there to support something else, like dancing, or feeling, or a story or a specific energy. For me, anyway. I trust others will find other things in it.

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11 Answers

Seek's avatar

“Rock” is wuh-HAY too broad a category to answer in this way.

Now, if you want to break it down much further, we can get to something. The one genre of music that I feel good about granting an overall “meaning” to is punk rock. Anything else is going to be about something different depending on the band, or the song, itself.

Punk Rock – and by “punk rock”, I mean at its inception: the Sex Pistols et al. – is about proclaiming “I don’t give a fuck” as loudly as possible. Life sucks, the government sucks, my parents suck, society sucks, and I’m going to do exactly what I want and I don’t care if you like it or not – fuck you anyway. Utter and total anarchy.

zenvelo's avatar

Rock and roll is about rebellion against norms and using teenage energy. It is about taking a stand, (People Try to Put Us Down) loving the person you want (Teen Angel) (L-O-L-A Lola!) expressing emotion (I Love Rock and Roll, So Put Another Dime in the Juke Box Baby) .

Rock searches for answers (Should I Stay or Should I go?) states defiance (Jungleland). It’s raw energy that speaks to your core.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Three chords and done is not the only form of R & R. Beatles showed that minor chords and unusual progression could be incorporated into the music.

Shippy's avatar

I have no idea. But I do feel all music has a certain type of ‘energy’ about it. Or moreover it can create a type of energy. Rock is a broad category, some is angry, some is melancholy, it is all so different. Oddly I only started to like Rock as I grew older. Or so I thought, until I saw a lot of my old favorites listed under Rock. That kind of explains how undefined it is.

flutherother's avatar

A lot of it is confrontational, a kind of comment on society or an expression of inner anger. That’s why people like it and why people don’t like it.

gondwanalon's avatar

Rock music is all about this

Adagio's avatar

I would give the same answer if you asked about any genre of music… rock music is an expression of life, any musical expression stems from the composer’s experience of life, whether it appeals to our musical tastes or not.

bookish1's avatar

Dude, I thought it was about sex. Plain and simple. Rock and roll used to mean… doing the horizontal tango, in my understanding.

filmfann's avatar

It is about outrage.
It is about tribal cries and spirited rallying.
It is about love, lust, longing and suffering.
It is about vomiting in the bar.
It is THE guttural scream of America.

judochop's avatar

Sex, drugs and rock and roll. It is against the grain, with the grain, in the wood and dripping on to your new white carpet. It is the Red Wine glass that tips over in to the salad. It is all of your food items touching on one plate. Rock and roll is also a couple of folks in an office, in a car, stuck in traffic, it is the foot tapping and pencil drumming, the hip shake’n, face break’n, baby makin music. Long live the rock and roll. It is Zen.

rojo's avatar

Two turn tables and a microphone?

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