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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Rock is a powerful genre

Daniela Barajas
Three people listen to rock music as the person in the middle holds up hand-horns, the rock ‘n’ roll gesture. Rock music has a politically powerful history. (Daniela Barajas | Northern Star)

Editor’s Note: It’s clear what Calderon voted for in this week’s poll, but this column is no attempt to sway your own vote, reader. 

Rock music is everywhere, and with sub-genres such as spoken word, deathcore, punk and classic rock, it might as well be the most diverse genre. Whether you like it or not, there is no denying the influence rock music has on generations of avid fans. 

“Rock music is a really important genre, and I think that it has a lot of influence over other genres. So I think it’s just really impactful,” said Adrienne Chinski, a freshman psychology major. “I think pretty much any genre can have a bit of a rock twist to it, and I think that I’m seeing that a lot nowadays.”

Joe Bonomo, an English professor at NIU, also shares a passion for rock music.

“A person can hear a punk band or see a punk band, and their life can be changed,” said Bonomo. “Mine has been, certainly, but I don’t think that rock music in general can necessarily affect change at the cultural level or the political level. At least not by a lot that people might have hoped it could. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect people on a personal level every day.” 

Although it may be true rock music has little impact on the current political world, the genre has opened doors to a whole culture of people against the norms, especially in the ‘70s, ‘80s and even ‘90s.

Glam metal or rock hair bands such as Mötley Crüe, KISS and Bon Jovi played a big part in society. When the rock glam fashion movement really grew and blew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was frowned upon for men to dress in a feminine way. Men even went as far as rocking mullets, such as David Bowie, an iconic influence at the time of the glam fashion movement. Mullets are considered more feminine cause it’s long hair on men. Something that men were once shamed for. 

The glam fashion movement or rock movement began to normalize the feminine look and even inspired other men to start dressing in a more glam fashion with glitter, crazy hair-dos and makeup. David Bowie and Mick Jagger were some of the biggest names to pave the way for the rock fashion scene, according to Rolling Stone.

This rock fashion movement is important because it allowed men to express themselves more freely and challenged the norms of society. 

Politically powerful or not, one thing is for certain: Whether rock music can change the world is debatable, but it can change you. 

“Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones once famously said that rock music, rock ‘n’ roll, is: ‘Music for the neck downwards.’ Which I love because the way I respond to music is with my body first and then my brain second,” Bonomo said. 

Rock music is known for its rowdy and fun dances, which are one of the reasons rock is as iconic as it is. Rock music concerts, and even just casual listening, are extra fun due to its lively sound.

“I love eighth notes,” Bonomo said. “I love guitar riffs. I love anthemic choruses. I love seeing bands live, especially in small sweaty places where it’s packed with a lot of people. It’s really giving me sort of a graphic reminder of the, of the joy of being alive, to put it simply.”

Rock music is a beautiful and powerful genre that has impacted people on a personal level for generations. It has truly paved a way for music and acts as an inspiration to many. The art of music can make a change, and rock has certainly done that.

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