Drew’s Review: Is rock ‘n’ roll dead?

Drew Hagge, Music Columnist

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All right, before you throw off your Metallica t-shirt in a blind rage, let’s try and approach this question with some semblance of pragmatism.

First, we have to find a reasonable definition of what “dead” actually means. To have this conversation void of emotion, the mere existence and playing of rock music, at any level, can’t keep rock alive by itself. So, no, having a “cool mom” who lets you play rock music in your basement with your friends doesn’t exactly meet the threshold for vitality.

Defining “dead” can be tricky because people have always, and will always, be playing rock music, no matter how casually, since the genre’s inception. Given that, we must define “dead” according to the genre’s relative popularity compared to all other genres of music.

Several factors go into discussing the current state of rock music. These factors include the number of contemporary rock acts (which have a significant following), the popularity of such rock acts (which can be measured by number of streams and album sales) and, most importantly, rock’s popularity relative to the other genres of music on the charts.

According to SPIN Magazine, Deerhunter, Parquet Courts and Protomartyr make up some of the best modern rock acts. Unfortunately, after looking at these band’s most recent work, Deerhunter’s “Fading Frontier” was most popular, peaking at 72 on Billoard’s Top 200 chart.

In order to find a rock act on Billboard’s Hot 100 list, you’d have to expand the definition of rock music to include Twenty One Pilots. Yeah, sad, I know.

So, is rock ‘n’ roll dead? Maybe not, but it’s just as alive as jazz.