By Sarah Murnane

There has been a recent phenomenon in the music industry regarding the current state of rock music. As with all great music debates, it begins with a Gallagher brother. Former Oasis member Noel Gallagher commented last September that the “whole band thing” was “pretty dead”. Poetic as always, it raised the question in the minds of the public and musicians, are rock bands truly dead?

One camp is firmly placed in agreement. They primarily cite the continuous and vast popularity of bands throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s with a noticeable drop beginning in the 2000s. Some posit that the popularity of rock music has declined in comparison to other genres, especially within the charts. The reason for this shift is the lack of talent and originality in the rock genre.

What is most interesting is that there is no argument that the rate of bands is declining, but merely that the quality of the music has become somewhat repetitive. This I can get behind. Sure there are lots of rock bands out there, but they certainly are not having the same cultural effect as previous generations. The only young rock band that springs to mind is The 1975, and realistically they were formed over ten years ago now. Watching Matty Healy, at the ripe age of thirty-four, kiss eighteen year old girls on stage does highlight how utterly out of touch the rock scene has become.

I do not think rock bands are dead, they are merely in hibernation. The first factor of course is the absolutely grim state of the music industry. You cannot get away from band after band explaining how there is no money in music anymore and even bands that fill venues across Europe and the U.S. on tour can barely manage to break even. Music has become a hobbyist’s pursuit, or in layman’s terms, a job for rich people. This pushes out a large market of songwriters that previously would have made it in the industry. Secondly, there is still of course fantastic rock music being made. Oliva Rodrigo’s latest album Guts is a prime example of a modern rock record that skyrocketed in popularity. The genre of rock is most certainly alive and well.

However, this move away from the rock band is noticeable. Mainly I feel like it is because the rock band is simply unrelatable. Even the most naive musician knows that the days of selling out stadiums, snorting their body weight in cocaine, and making millions each year are behind us. The image of the rock band from previous decades cannot exist anymore, not in this form. I propose a complete modification of the rock band, it is time to start making something new. Once musicians start to find this, then the rock band will emerge again.