There are two definitions of rock music. First, rock music is the kind of music that springs from the spirit of revolution and rebellion, the heart’s yearning to explode beyond the constraints of convention and soar. The anarchistic, nihilistic, bohemian sound of breaking chains is rock music.
Second is, well, the music made by white people with guitars.
Uses of Rock
Rock music has many functions in society.
One: It enables people with taste and distinction to enjoy well-crafted, cleverly-composed music which has intriguing melodies, novel ways of instrumentation and well-thought-out lyrics.
Two: It helps people who really can’t dance also have something to do also them.
Three: It provide status updates for facebookers.
Hey, facebookers who don’t catch on quickly, have you ever seen your friends update and failed to understand what it was about? Have you ever noticed that there seem to be people commenting in a way that makes you suspect that they know what is going on, but you still cannot comprehend either the status or the comments?
Like someone posts some gibberish like “Where were you while we were getting high?” And the comments say something like, “I was caught beneath the landslide” and “In a champagne supernova” and “in the sky”.
And then you add “Wen u wr gtg hai mi a wz wtchg tv en de howse!!!!! lol!!!” And then there is an awkward pause because no one wants to tell you that you should have just kept quiet. And you feel like saying something. Like you feel like saying, “Guys, what’s up? What’s going on? Am I missing something here?” But the most you can come up with is “Gayz watz ap? Wz gongon am ai mzg sth hir?” And then everybody just shrugs and shakes their heads and walks away?
Well, let me explain. What just happened there was you interrupted a facebook singalong. Rock fans like to post a line of a rock song in their updates so their friends who recognise the line can become happy. You just came along and ruined it. I hope you’re happy. Doofus.
Four: Finally, the most important use of rock is that it enables people to be snobbish.
In the olden days (1998) it was only people who liked classical music who used to be snobs. They would use words like “addagio” and “appreggio” and “movement” and say “Motsarts symphony number nine recorded by the Royal Philharmonic in Prague in 1875 was, for me, the ultimate. It always brings me to tears. Especially the appreggio in the fourth movement. Oh!” then they clasp themselves as if sexually aroused. They would turn their noses up at anyone who could not appreciate appreggios.
That kind of snobbery expired when it was discovered that nobody gives a shit about an appreggio anyway.
Then we had jazz snobs: the people who only listened to the radio on Sunday nights to catch jazz shows. It was easier to be a jazz snob because the public kind of already knew that Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were great musicians. We had heard people in movies say that they were great musicians and people don’t lie in movies, so if you liked such music, you could convince us that you had taste like for Bruce Willis etc.
But then Kenny G and Dave Koz and Katumwa came along and now if you say you like jazz people think you are talking about that gay shit and you just get embarrassed.
The music you can snob with now is rock. Because so far it is generally believed that there is some great merit to whiteman guitar music.
This is mainly because: a) rock musicians wear trousers that fit, unlike hip hoppers and b) rock musicians don’t look as if they smell, unlike reggae musicians, who look like they will no bathe Babylon water, but will only bathe in Zion springs. Hey, I’m sorry. I’m not the one who said it, I’m just repeating what people think.
P.S. I’m apologising to the reggae fans, not to the hip hop fans. Really hip hoppers. Pull up the damn trousers. Rock snobbery is not always effective against other types of music because, for example, you can’t bring Blink 182 and try to lord it over a Bob Marley fan.
But it is actually best when practised in-house. When rock fans are snobbish to other rock fans, it’s most effective. The best way to do this is to say, “That’s not real rock”. This is very effective because there is no way to prove that Britney Spears song with the stratocaster solo is actually rock. You can’t say, “Look, she’s white and there is a guitar in the song!” cos that will just make them laugh harder at you.
Now, I’ve talked a lot of trash about rock music in this post but don’t take it seriously. Rock is like every genre of music. It’s easy to diss because some rock is crap. But some of it is good and I suspect that The Uneven Band is among the good pieces of rock. They are Ugandans like us and they are going to be performing at Rooge (I gave up ever trying to get the spelling right. Is it rogue or rouge? I don’t know! Help me!) tomorrow night. I will go and write and come back and tell you if it’s nice.