Is Rock Music Dying?


Antonio Robinett

The debate surrounding whether rock music is dying is a popular and never-ending one. UP students give their opinions on the issue.

Antonio Robinett, Journalist

Times are changing, as are the music tastes of the people. What may have sounded good back then may no longer sound appealing today. Instead, there is a whole new generation inspired by different artists and genres.

Rock is just one case of a genre that has seemed to have lost its touch with modern day listeners, especially with teenage audiences. 

It is important to state that there are plenty of genres that fit in the “rock” category that would be too much to list. Whether it be classic rock, heavy metal, hair metal, nu-metal, alternative rock, metalcore, etc., the wide variety of genres all fit under this category.

Throughout the decades, bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Van Halen paved the way for a new audience of heavy rock. Just look at the percentage of songs that had Hot 100 spots. They dominated the charts from the late 70’s to the early 90’s. 

However, in Nielsen’s Mid-Year report for 2020, R&B and hip-hop have taken up 28.4% of total volume, which consists of albums, track-equivalent albums, and on-demand audio/visual stream-equivalent albums. Meanwhile, rock takes up 19.3%. Additionally, rap has been dominating the music industry for a while, and has even surpassed the number of audio streams of other genres.

Rock music used to be perceived as rebellious due to the massive outrage concerning it being the “devil’s music,” and was popular among young people because of it. However, it seems as if these new genres have overtaken this role of being a rebellious outlet. This change was not sudden. According to Britannica, back in the 80’s, “Rock became adult music; youthful fads continued to appear and disappear, but these were no longer seen as central to the rock process, and, if rock’s 1970s superstars could no longer match the sales of their old records with their new releases, they continued to sell out stadium concerts that became nostalgic rituals (most unexpectedly for the Grateful Dead).”

Senior Daniella Carrasco has this to say about her opinions on rock music, “I personally prefer the subgenre of grunge and punk rock when it comes to rock and metal. If we’re talking about actual metal, I prefer death metal and thrash metal.” 

As for rap and hip-hop released now, Carrasco states, “I try to stay as far away from it as possible but I respect everyone’s music taste. It’s their own escape.” 

“I do not think that rock or metal is dying at all,” she states. “I think that it is reaching the audience of our generation more especially because of the trends and stuff like that.” 

Although Carrasco loves the music and enjoys attending local concerts, she claims, “I feel like I can’t consider myself a metal head if I don’t know how to headband correctly.” 

Although Soundcloud rapper and Nirvana super fan senior Kalaheo Pornelos favors southern country and North Vallejo Rap, he states, “Absolutely, I’m a huge fan of metal/rock. I’m a man of taste.” 

When asked about the current climate of music in today’s world, Kalaheo gives his input, “I feel as if [modern day music] is always going to be coming in because of the production and I only think it’s going to continue.” 

As for rock being dead, he gives a no nonsense response: “It’s been dead.” 

KRUSH club officer senior Elena Valladares also voices her opinions. When asked about if she liked rock, she responds, “I really like it. I won’t listen to it much, but any music that is really loud and stirs up a lot of emotions is what I like.” 

Despite the difference in genres between KPOP and rock, Valladares states, “As long as a song is good, you can vibe with it no matter what the genre.” 

Valladares says she listens to rock/metal two to three times a month, and is a big fan of Avenged Sevenfold. 

Finally, guitarist senior Anthony Lopez shares his views on the genre as a whole. “I grew up listening to rock so it’s my number 1 favorite genre. My dad was into rock and got me listening.” 

Questioned about his opinions on modern day music like rap, Lopez quickly responds, “I hate it. There’s no meaning behind songs anymore. It’s all about the same things and there’s no creativity behind it.” 

Lopez also agreed that rock and metal was dying out, but was quick to say, “Dying but definitely not for sure… I’ll bring it back!” 

Despite the various opinions and ideas, one thing is for certain. The current state of rock music is not at what it once was. The days of Woodstock, angsty teens, and a voice for past generations are long gone. However, will we ever see rock music return to the full extent of its former glory? It is up to the listeners to decide.