Rock is dead. This is a claim many have made over the past 20 years, and although the genre isn’t dead, it isn’t topping the charts as it used to. The Billboard Hot 100 is topped by pop artists like Adele, Lil Nas X, and Ed Sheeran, alongside Rap Artists such as Drake, Future, and Young Thug, and no rock artists in sight. It has been over 20 years since a rock song topped the chart and the genre and the sub-genres that follow are not part of the mainstream anymore. Many are asking why has rock disappeared, and there is one answer, the fans.
Fans of the genre have refused to accept new artists into the genre, and prefer to listen to the songs and the bands of the ’70s ’80s, and ’90s. The iTunes Rock Charts is dominated by The Beatles, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Journey, bands whose primes came and went over 40 years ago. Newer rock bands such as Greta Van Fleet who sit lower on the charts have been met with backlash, as they are accused of being a “Led Zeppelin Cover Band.” Similarly, Machine Gun Kelley has been seen as a sub-par version of Blink-182, and Olivia Rodrigo was accused of stealing from pop-punk band Paramore.
This sentiment has been around for years, even bands like Bush who thrived in the late ’90s to early 2000s were bashed by critics, labeled as nothing more than a “Nirvana cover band”. Even the hard-core rock fans who are closing the doors on these developing new artists wonder why the genre is fleeting. To this problem there is a simple solution: be more accepting of new bands entering the scene.
Greta Van Fleet released their album The Battle at Garden’s Gate in April of 2021, and was met with great reviews, a good step for the genre as a whole. They have moved away from the Led Zeppelin-like sound from their From the Fires EP in 2017, and have created a sound of their own. Songs like “My Way, Soon” or “Light My Love” have been at the forefront of this album and really resemble their new sound and new direction.
If you are looking for a more hard rock sound check out EP Dirty Honey. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, they bring incredible stage presence, and songs are littered in blues-rock guitar riffs and solos left and right. This was their breakthrough, and they have since released a self-titled album. Songs such as “When I’m Gone” and “Rolling 7s” are filled with influences from legendary bands Led Zeppelin and Guns ‘N Roses, but with their own twist, creating a unique “wall of sound” effect.
For fans of pop-punk, I would recommend Machine Gun Kelly. Although his early beginning was in rap, his career has trended towards a more pop-punk style with his 2020 album Tickets to My Downfall. Following his collaboration with Blink-182’s drummer, Travis Barker, Kelley’s songs “my ex’s best friend” and “forget me too” scream with Blink-182 influences, and is helping to revive the genre. Up-and-coming artist Olivia Rodrigo has also been really influential in the new pop-punk revival. Her album SOUR had songs like brutal, and good 4 u that took influences from bands like Paramore, and are a must-listen. Indie Rock has also been making a return to the mainstream music scene, led by artists like Snail Mail, Indigo De Souza, and The Coral, who havereleased albums that have reached the younger generation.
The rock community has turned down many artists, which has consequently prevented the genre from growing. Nevertheless, today’s youth are beginning to become more accepting of these newer bands and subgenres, and the genre is beginning to grow once again.