The Death of Mainstream Rock

While the rock music genre may be alive and well today, its existence on the charts has all but become extinct. With bands like the Jonas Brothers and Ariana Grande topping the charts as of 2019, it is evident that rock has been occupying less and less spots on the charts. Not only that, but most of the artists who gained traction in their careers through rock have as of recent years evolved into a sound more pop or electronic than anything else. There is no better example of this than Brendie Urie and Panic! at the Disco. The band made a mass hit in popularity back in 2005 with their first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, but come the new decade, half the band left the project, and the rest of them left in 2015. At this point, Panic! has been left to a solo project instead of a band. Death of a Bachelor (2016) wasn’t a bad album, though it did depart from the band’s roots, but the following, Pray for the Wicked (2018) wasn’t worth more than a trashed vinyl you found on the side of the muddy road. It felt so mechanical and fake, as if it were written by a computer instead of a human.
Hailing from England, Kaiser Chiefs had their brief period of popularity hit the US during the previous decade, probably due to the second British invasion that occurred in the 90s with bands like Oasis, Kasabian, and Blur. Their second and third albums hit the US top 200 charts at 45 and 55, respectively, but with their third album in 2011, it was nowhere to be seen. Two records later, frontman Ricky Wilson decided he wanted to switch from writing Brit-rock or Brit-pop to writing dance music. Stay Together (2016) is the worst album they’ve ever released by a long shot. With every song framed by electronic synthesizers and bombastic choruses, the band even flat-out admitted at the start of the seventh track, “Press Rewind,” “This is pop music/We’re writing and recording pop music.” The easiest song to stomach would be “Indoor Firework” because the lyrics were at least somewhat meatier, but not by much.
But then come their latest, Duck (2019). An album for which was widely criticised for its failed attempt to please both critics and fans alike. The record had a few tracks that were enjoyable, including the catchy “Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something,” but the majority of the album seemed as if it were written to sing in stadiums, especially the irritating opener, “People Know How to Love One Another.” Duck was a sigh of relief compared to their previous record, but after two consecutive albums of mostly junk, there is almost no hope left for Kaiser Chiefs.
Sure, we still have Jack White and The Raconteurs with Help Us Stranger (2019) being arguably their greatest record yet. But as for White’s solo projects, not only do they live in the shadow of the greatness that was The White Stripes, but Boarding House Reach (2018) strayed far from the mark of anything we have come to love about White, incorporating more elements of funk, experimental, and gospel music rather than rock. Maybe there is some hope for rock in the future, but as of 2019, it is unlikely that we are to see a big rock band stand out in the mainstream industry in the near future.