Posts Tagged ‘ Imagine Dragons ’

Rock Music Used To Be Rebellious, Now It’s Rap Music Instead

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

This weekend, since Frozen was sold-out, we decided to have a movie night at the house instead: We rented Monsters University. (Which we loved, by the way!)

There is a scene where the monsters are in a training course, in which they have to avoid being seen by teenagers, who are most easily identified by their cliché phrases, like “nobody understands me” and “whatever.”

It reminded me: You’re going to be a teenager in about 10 years. I guess that means you’re going to feel misunderstood; even by me, a person who is very passionate about understanding you.

That sounds challenging. I guess I’ll figure it out as I go, like I’ve been doing since you’ve been born.

I can tell you this much, music will play a big part in your life at that time. What I wonder is, what kind of music will you be into during that phase of your life?

By the time I was in junior high, the 1993-1994 school year, it became evident to me that “all the cool boys” were listening to rap music, specifically, Snoop Dogg.

As we made our way through high school, rap music still seemed to be the preferred choice of music for guys who I would consider the most popular, and therefore, conspicuously trendy.

(Meanwhile, I was listening to Weezer, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, and Third Eye Blind, instead.)

And that’s an interesting point, I think. Here’s my theory: From the early 1950’s until the early 1990’s, for about 4 decades, rock music was considered rebellious by both parents and teenagers.

It used to be that it was in rock music where it was easiest to find edgier subject matter matched with “vocals lower in the mix,” meaning the instruments were turned up proportionally louder than in most other music; therefore, it made it more difficult for parents to understand the lyrics of the songs.

But by the time Generation Y (born since circa 1981) entered adolescence (circa 1993), rap music had taken over the title of “most rebellious genre of music.”

After hearing some of the rap lyrics my friends would repeat, back in junior high, I realized that even the “most vulgar” rock songs I had ever heard, or heard of, didn’t compete with the subject matter I heard in the Snoop Dogg songs.

The way I see it, rock music is no longer considered rebellious by teens or parents. In fact, a lot of pop music is much cruder than rock music; especially when infused with rap.

My observation is that the “explicit lyrics” sticker is more likely to show up on rap albums, or rap-infused pop albums, than it is rock albums.

It seems that teen boys are naturally drawn to the type of music which is perceived (by both the parent and the teen) as the most rebellious. 

The best selling artist of the 2000’s was Eminem, a rap artist. When I was in college, working as a substitute teacher, who were the teenage boys listening to? Eminem.

Seriously, when’s the last time I heard anybody complain about a raunchy, irreverent, or vulgar rock song?

I just don’t see how rock music is rebellious anymore. When I think of a really good rock group out right now, I think of Imagine Dragons. (They are one of my favorites! I would love to see them when they come to Nashville!)

But even then, the band’s Mormon roots show up. Not a curse word in the entire album; instead it contains several subtle spiritual references throughout, but not rebellious ones.

Because rock music is no longer rebellious.

As for now, I am ten years away from finding out what “rebellious music” you will choose.


Love, Daddy


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