I like to see myself as eclectic, but when I listen to ROCK MUSIC every other genre of music immediately takes the back burner, and that includes Reggae music, though not necessarily songs of my icon, legendary Robert Nester Marley (who had I been Hindu, would’ve been one of my gods).
I don’t listen to rock music with the same ears with which I listen to other genre of music (if you know what I mean). Rock music always has this ability to fill a gaping hole in me, such that I feel patched-up enough after the experience. Most of them sound even more conscious than the consciousness inherent in Root Rock Reggae.
The way the acts minister to the innermost being of the one listening isn’t easily found with other genre of music. Many a time, I’ve heard aspects of my life play out in rock music in my ears as bellowed out by one rock artiste or the other. The effect on me, and I think many will agree with me, is surreal. I’m even the more intrigued by the fact that you can interpret the lyrics as you like, and make of the songs anything you’d love to do with them. This goes to show the amount of work the singers, and most especially the writers of those songs put into it, or maybe not hence could have been the outcome of sheer brilliance and intelligence requiring little or no effort as we frequently see with geniuses.
I can’t even remember how it was that I became enamoured with rock music, but I recall that even as a kid I was taken with a lot of it from soundtracks of Hollywood films, especially those relating to the war in Vietnam and lots of Jimmy Hendricks (whose works I just began to appreciate most recently) from my Dad who had a “PLATE” or two of his music back in the day. Dennis “The Menace” Ogi, an On-Air Personality and Presenter of “Rock Radio” on RAYPOWER FM in Lagos back when I was in secondary school further entrenched the love for rock music in me, at a time it wasn’t vogue (as it is till now amongst many teens and youth in Nigeria). When I came to me though, it was the slow tempo soft types like those often churned out by Jon Bon-Jovi that lured me in, especially “ALWAYS”. The HARDCORE METALS at a point for a long time didn’t appeal to me, interestingly how I became addicted to them eventually is what I can’t recall for now. I think rock music just came, saw me and conquered me. I could never get the kind of depth I get with rock music elsewhere, just like the highs one gets with some particular “dope” makes it difficult to desire another type, not necessarily because rock music is the highest, but because it is very unpredictably peculiar.
I cannot number the many times rock music has lifted me from the bottomless pit of depression, even from the abyss to highs bordering sometimes on the manic, in just minutes of inhaling the sonorous emissions from speakers blarring the banter of the rock artiste with accompaniments from sound systems conjured purposely for the mellowing of the hearts and minds of those under the influence of the music.
It used to be proverbial where I come from, in describing one who enjoys after paying ones due, that one is dancing to a beat one has afore done, this remained proverbial until I heard ANATHEMA’s “Lost Control” where lyrics to a song was done to no sound, after playing the beats to same lyrics. Many consider Anathema’s songs as “dark” but I beg to disagree. Most of the words they express in their songs are thoughts that befuddle our minds on a daily basis. “Lost Control” reads to me like the thoughts of Lucifer as she falls from grace to grass after falling out of favour with THE FORCE.
I particularly love the lyrics and the accompaniments to “ONE LAST GOODBYE” by the same group, which I play when mourning a loss especially of a loved one. No other piece of music could be more apt. Truth is, we aren’t always happy, and when we are unhappy some “sad” songs could actually help uplift the soul, especially when one is reminded that ones problem isn’t the most grievous. Anathema’s produced volumes of such sad songs to draw upon should the need for such arise.
I love The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan’s voice, it must be the shrillest ever. She and members of her group bought me over eternally with “ZOMBIE”. It’s difficult not to chant along with her when she’s at her business. The fact that she isn’t one to shy away from injustice even in jurisdictions far flung from hers, earns her huge “stars” from me.
I know it must’ve been difficult for citizens of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but I’m sure many of them would’ve been bouyed by U2’s “SAINTS ARE COMING” featuring ‘Green Day’. It is no surprise that the SAINTS went on to great exploits afterwards notching the second playoff win in franchise history in 2006. Bono’s humanitarian activities overshadows for the many his genius, which followers of rock music know only too well.
System Of A Down, SOAD are one of my favourites. I feel all extremes of emotions when I listen to any of their songs. I could never have enough of “TOXICITY”, the guitar work at the intro of the song is second to none that I’ve heard before. The exasperation Serj Tankien feels at the end of “CHOP SUEY” is felt by me each time I watch that video, while the poetry embedded in that piece of art is beyond exquisite. For fear of being contradicted with superior argument I would’ve elected Serj as the best Rock act ever, especially based on lyrics and most importantly, presentation.
I was much delighted when “Linkin Park” and Jay Z (from the Rap/Hip-Hop genre) concocted “NUMB/ENCORE”, it made an already phenomenal NUMB (by Linkin Park) look ordinary. For me it outdid another blend of genres in “ROCK STAR” by Kid Rock featuring R&B’s R. Kelly and Rap/Hip-Hop’s Ludacris. Great music moments that have been difficult for me to delete from my brain’s ROM.
Many parents have concerns about their kids and/or wards listening to Rock Music, but most times some of these concerns are unfounded. Most are based on the loud chants and heavy metal acoustics that precede most of these songs by groups such as METALLICA, even before the song is sung. Had they taken time to listen to the lyrics, they’d probably feel differently about the songs.
The conspiracy theory that associates rock music with devil worship or Satanism, though may not be totally discountenanced, is also creeping into other genres like Rap and Hip-Hop where successful acts like ‘Jay Z’ are considered by conspiracists to be members of ILLUMINATI. It is very unfair to ignore the works of art portrayed in these forms of music based simply on unfounded tales.
My journey into Rock remain one of the most pleasurable I’ve made, and still making. I’ll leave you this one for the road by my favourite group, SOAD titled “Toxicity”: