When did rock stop evolving? It hasn’t: meet punk rock’s children

paramoreIn his piece “When did rock stop evolving? 10 years ago?” Sir Rocknuts provides readers with a dissertation arguing that rock stopped evolving at the turn of the millennium. While Sir Rocknuts’ opinion is well-informed and steeped in deep research, he fails to explain some new genres from the 2000s and 2010s that pledge allegiance to the rock genre.

Rock has continued to evolve, as evidenced in the 2000s rise of rock genres such as pop punk and emo pop punk (aka “emo pop”). Both of these genres originate in rock and punk rock, but throw pop influences into the mix to create angsty melodies with catchy choruses and fast, punk tempos heavily affected by rhythm guitars.

In his handy Rock-Eology chart, Sir Rocknuts considers punk rock to be a genre of rock, and pop punk/emo/rock band Fall Out Boy cites the Ramones — the first punk rock band — as a stylistic influence, as well as punk rock band Green Day, which was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Fall Out Boy in April.

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But more than just citing past rock ‘n’ roll influences, modern pop punk and emo pop bands like Fall Out Boy feature critical elements of rock music (like guitar-centered melodies) that induce listeners to categorize these bands and their songs as “rock,” not “pop” or “dubstep” or any other genre. This is because rock is an umbrella for a host of subgenres, as Sir Rocknuts suggested in his article.

Take the pop punk/emo/alternative rock band Paramore (pictured above): while the band is definitely integral to the pop punk movement started by Fall Out Boy in the mid 2000s, Paramore’s sound is described as “refined rock infused pop/punk.” If you listen to one of Paramore’s early hits, “Misery Business,” you don’t find yourself thinking the song could be found on a mainstream pop album by Taylor Swift or Lana Del Rey, but you also won’t put Paramore in the same category as the Sex Pistols.

The fact that so many modern rock bands need three or four genres to adequately describe them suggests the rock genre is evolving. Paramore and Fall Out Boy are pop punk/emo/alternative rock. Boys Like Girls is pop punk/emo pop but resembles late 90s alternative rock, echoing bands like the Goo Goo Dolls and Eve 6. Muse is alternative/progressive/”space” rock flirting with electronica, and Linkin Park is known for dabbling in rap, hip hop, alternative and nu metal while still managing to be categorized as “modern rock.”

Rock music “has always been a shapeshifter, constantly absorbing other styles of music. This is another reason why a definition is so elusive. Rock is and has always been about different musics coming together,” Rich Karfilis wrote in his article, “What is Rock”?. Rock music continues to evolve through the 21st century, accommodating punk and pop themes while still staying true to the “big themes” of rock, which Karfilis lists as “freedom, authenticity, and power.”

The new species of rock exemplified by pop punk/emo bands like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Yellowcard, My Chemical Romance, All Time Low, and The All-American Rejects remind rock enthusiasts that rock is alive and well and adapting to the modern era while claiming the heritage of rock giants like AC/DC, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and others.

These bands are in their own category because they evolved in the midst of mainstream pop but still abide by the loose definition of rock. As Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stumpf sings, “I only plugged in to save rock and roll.”

Photo credit: By Giovanni [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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One comment to “When did rock stop evolving? It hasn’t: meet punk rock’s children”
  1. Pingback: Rock Rolls On. Or Not… | Rocknuts

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