Discussion on the David Byrne quote
Rock music is a popular genre that originated in the United States in the early 1950s. It has its roots in blues and country music. Rock music has manifested and operated as the vehicle for counterculture and social movements for decades now. It has been linked with political activism as well as changes in attitude towards race, sex and drug use. It has also served as a symbol of revolt against authority and conventionality among the youth. Sadly, quotes from artists such as David Byrne of the Talking Heads have come out that say “Rock is dead. The attitude isn’t dead, but the music is no longer vital. It doesn’t have the same meaning. The attitude, though is still very much alive-and it still informs other kinds of music.” It is interesting to see rock artists say that rock is dead however, in this paper I am discussing my thoughts on the David Byrne quote.
When I first heard the quote I did not know what to think of it. I did not have any strong opinions about rock music since, I did not listen to it much. The only time I listened to it was when I went to gym. And, the kind of rock music I listened to such as fast paced and riff heavy, was well suited because it gave me the adrenaline rush needed to do those exercises. However, during the course of this class, I got better understanding of the rock music and its origins. Considering what I have learned during this time period, I would say that Rock is very much alive and I would disagree with what David Byrne has said. Rock music is not dead.
There is still passion in making as well as performing rock music. There are still bands out there that are wanting to play this music as well as people wanting to listen to it. There will always be someone out there putting their heart and soul into an instrument. This is something you cannot do while making music on a computer. This is something that you cannot fake. Making music from instruments as well as performing it live has a sense of sincerity to it and that, at the end of the day, is something the audience values more than anything.
Rock music is based upon the spirit of youthful rebellion, which in my opinion will never die. It is also not just music. Rather, it is a lifestyle and an attitude. Rock music’s main purpose is to celebrate self whether it be anti-authoritarian, conflicting infatuation and sexual attraction or drugs. It urges people to break established patterns and try something new. This is important if we continuously want to evolve and also the reason why rock music will never die.
People who argue that rock music is dead say that because the genre is not as famous as the other genres like pop, hip-hop or rap. They add that the fan base is not as strong and loyal as it once was. They recognize the influence that rock music has on the current elements of music but also say that the people have moved to the era of country, hip-hop and pop. They also argue that music has now become mass produced and has the edge of being standardly produced and marketed. It does not seem to matter to them if the music is actually good or not. They seem to think just because it is not the dominant art form, it is in a death spiral.
While this is true in some sense, I would not say the rock music is dead because of it. I would say that the music has just taken a new form of indie, progressive and alternative. Rock is always changing and progressing. There are still a lot good bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay that are still rocking it out. Rock is not as big commercially as it once was but it will never die. In fact, no one music genre ever dies, it just becomes more or less popular than the other genres. For example, Swing was replaced Bebop but it never died and is still played by some artists today.
In conclusion, rock music has been around for decades now and is not going to die any time soon. As long as there is still passion in the performance as well as the production of the music, it will continue to garner audience. Rock music is rooted in the rebellious attitude of the youth and has served the counterculture, social movements and political activism well. There will be people trying to say rock music is dead and make some valid points but it will be because they cannot see past the popularity of the genre. If these people look hard enough, they will find the rock music is still alive. It has just taken a different form of alternative or indie. Music works in cycles. Although rock music is not as famous now, it will eventually make a strong comeback.