I know that millennials have a bit of an attitude when it comes to people critiquing modern day music. They don’t like to hear that Drake isn’t really an artist or that Lady GaGa is embarrassing herself (I’m a total fan of her new album by the way, so don’t lose it). I mean, we’re all about people following their dreams. Let people do what they want … The only problem is, nowadays the soul of music is being bled out because of our willingness to hear any and every artist out. Not to mention the abuse of autotune and basically needing zero musical skills besides a decent voice to make it.
When you used to have to be the best of the best to make it in the music industry, now you just have to make an obnoxious song about what foxes sound like or how women run the world or a boy who is so in love with a girl that it doesn’t matter if she hurts him, he’ll hold onto her photograph in his ripped jeans. He'll then fall in love with a girl at the bar simply because she has a nice body. Real classy Sheeran.
But totally disregarding our liberal approach to music, here are five reasons why millennials could really use some rock and roll in their life (and less pop):
1. My all-time second favorite rock singer, Bob Segar, once sang, “Still like that old time rock and roll, that kind of music just soothes the soul.” Can I get an amen from all of my rock fans out there? Pop music is great if you need to get energized or excited. Drake is fine if you’re trying to show off your dabbing skills or whatever it is that people do when they listen to his mumbling “rap” stuff. But rock and roll music goes straight to the heart. It’s not Taylor Swift singing about another boy that broke her heart or One Direction telling you that you’re beautiful. Rock and roll music doesn’t try to boost your confidence or heal your broken heart. Rock and roll soothes your soul.
2. Bob Dylan. Need I say more? Okay, sure he sounds horrific as time goes on. I can’t imagine how much honey he has to consume to even speak, let alone sing. But he literally won a Pulitzer Prize for the songs that he has written. He won a literature award for music. There’s a reason for that. Listen to "Tempest" by him, and it’s literally going to blow your mind. His songs are not just songs. He revolutionized music by telling a story in his song. It was more than a hidden meaning or an experience. This was a storybook brought to life with music. His voice is a little rough, I’ll admit it, but his songs are incredible. And technically, he’s not really classic rock. "Tempest" was released in 2012. However, his classic style has remained.
3. Okay, how can I not write this article without at least mentioning the King of Rock ‘N Roll? Elvis is my favorite person ever, besides Jesus Christ, so anything I say may be a little biased. But everything I say about him is always true. Not only does Elvis have a beautiful voice, but his music is fun. It’s fun to listen to, dance to and play. There is nothing more therapeutic, except possibly actual therapy, than taking a moment to belt out "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog" or "Jailhouse Rock." I think a lot of people would be a whole lot nicer if they just took five minutes out of their day to perform my favorite daily ritual, which is singing Elvis.
4. “Welcome to the jungle we got fun and games. We got everything you want honey, we know the names. We are the people that can find whatever you may need.” If you can name the song, you’re good. If you’re currently pulling up Google to search the lyrics so that you can claim you know it, we’ve got some things to work on. The truth is, you’ll never be a real rocker if you don’t know Guns N’ Roses, and I’m not sure you’ll ever know how to truly party until you listen to their songs (because if their songs hint at what their parties are like, we all look like a bunch of toddlers trying to walk). But I think every millennial could use some fun and games in their life. We’re all so serious nowadays, and dare I say easily offended? Oh sweet child o’ mine, one day you will find paradise. But not until you know their music like you know how to whip.
5. Rock and roll music talks about everything pop music doesn’t want to talk about. I know we all would like to brush everything under the rug and Band-Aid our world together to make it appear perfect. Pop music does a really good job at singing about love and hard times. Often times they sing things I can’t even understand. But they don’t really make you think about what’s wrong with our culture. There’s a song out there called "The Sound of Silence" and it says, “In the naked light I saw, ten thousand people maybe more. People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. People writing songs and voices never shared, and no one dared disturbed the sound of silence. Fools, said I, you do not know. Silence like a cancer grows.” This was originally sang by Simon and Garfunkel, but my personal favorite version of the song is sang by Disturbed.
To best honest, this song was a breath of fresh air for me. I was so tired of pop and modern alternative and country and rap songs that were all about me and what I was going through. Because honestly? I’m tired of thinking only about myself. There’s just something about rock and roll music that brings people together, and that forces you to think about this world we live in. Back in the day we had the best of the best coming together to sing songs such as "We are the World." Simon and Garfunkel created a masterpiece that should give us goosebumps every time we heart it. But now, hardly anyone even knows these songs.
We fill our heads with "Me, Myself, & I" (literally a song). Meanwhile, we could be filling our heads with songs that remind us that we all belong to the same world. What happens to children in Africa affects me and the future of this world. Or whenever our culture stays silent in times of need, that silence will be the death of our humanity. It’s not Band-Aid fixable like we would love think. It takes Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and so many more to make a song in the 80s to raise support for those in Africa. I have yet to see Taylor Swift, One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Beyonce and all of our modern favorites to come together to change the world. When that happens, you can tell me to shut up and stop talking about rock and roll.
I’m not bashing pop music. I’m really not. I listen to Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift just as much as the next one. But I have a balance. I agree completely with Bob Segar when he said that rock and roll soothes the soul. When I’m having a bad day, I don’t think about One Direction or Selena Gomez or Maroon 5. I think about Elvis, Bob Segar, Bob Dylan, Guns N’ Roses … People who write songs for the soul, not for the ears. They don’t care if they are catchy, they care if they have soul. That’s the beauty of rock and roll. It brings souls together, not listeners. And it’s this kind of unity that I think all millennials could use. Because we’re falling apart as a culture. We’re divided and hurt and angry and frustrated, and that makes us lash out. And we listen to songs about being divided and hurt and angry and frustrated and lashing out. But I don’t see that in rock and roll. I don’t see that with rockers. We have each others backs, there’s a lot of loyalty in the rock scene. We don’t care where you come from or where you’re going. We live in the now, and we listen with our souls.