How new generations’ music rebel

Current young kids rebel against their rock-generation parents by doing several things:

1. Instead of going heavier–they go with music their parents detested — crooners and big band.
2. My generation, as a stereotype, hated other generations’ of music– this generation accepts all (and they are musically correct on this, which would have irritated their parents’ generation.)
3. Instead of heavier, they go with cruder and more provocative– rap.
4. Instead of melodic, they go with wordy– hip hop.
5. Instead of being hippies, they go with being gangsters (which really scare their parents, just as hippies scared their parents).

Guaranteed–they will find a way to bug their parents.   This is how kids grow up and establish their independence in the West. 

Dead doesn’t mean no one is doing the music; some big band singers still made it into the rock generation–but most found another occupation.  Some punk bands still exist.


One Response to “How new generations’ music rebel”

  1. ronws Says:

    I thought about this one, some more, too. I am a full tenor but I can also do some notes down to mid-baritone. When I try low baritone, it is a bit weak. Anyway. One popular big band singer that made it in rock is David Lee Roth. His influences were Al Jolson, Mel Torme, like that. His solo lp had songs done in the big band style and he would most often sing full baritone to low tenor, but he could hit some good bass notes, too, such as on “Ice Cream Man.” Of course, with him, you get the full entertainment package. Well done vocals that can be understood, some scat singing, choreographed moves and dance, incorporating both his love for ballet and Karate (He is a 2nd degree black belt.) Stylistic choices for costumes that influenced so many other bands, including Motley Crue and Poison. Easy banter with the audience. His philosophy was best summed up, I think, by this statement in an interview. “The world may be going to hell in a handbasket but Van Halen is going there in a yacht! And you’re invited!”

    After he was booted out of Van Halen (he did not quit and I invite anyone to read his memoirs, “Crazy from the Heat”) he had a show in Las Vegas. And did big band stuff. That’s because he knows that entertainment is not just about virtuosity. Who can hit the highest note, who can play guitar the fastest, it’s about the whole effect. He could hit some very high notes but he only used them as accent, not as melody range.

    Even some of his “rock” songs still have a big band feel and production, such as “Yankee Rose.” Some of his best work was with guitar god Steve Vai, who is quite a humble man. Side trivia, Vai now composes neo-modern classical music. Or is that so trivial? Might Vai’s love for classical music have had some affect on the songwriting? Roth is not a dictator and everyone is welcome to contribute to the piece.

    So, there is always room for a solid baritone, with a richness of timbre. Especially as to how well he can connect with the audience.

    Is the era of rock tenor dead? I’m not so sure. Or the tenor in pop music? Especially now, with better audio equipment for the consumer where rich baritones don’t get lost or muddied in little speakers. I very much liked the comment of how Tom Jones, with such a full power voice through out his range can cut through an orchestra because he must. As opposed to Richard Marx, who has always had amiplification, allowing him to croon in a rasp over anything. This may counteract the full baritone because it allows, along with digital recording tech, for any number of people to record, whether they are good singers, or not.

    Many people are awestruck by the tenor because of the reach of the range of notes that the ordinary, untrained person cannot accomplish. But the most popular songs that sell the best have melody in the baritone range. It is one of the things that Judas Priest and specifically, Rob Halford, learned. Some reasons that “Another Thing Coming” is so popular, even today, is this; a simplified arrangement of instruments and lyrics sung in baritone and the high notes used for accent. This place the song in “sing along” range. Most people can manage some part of baritone, which is the approximate range of most speaking voices.

    Not all composers favored a tenor for the hero role but it does happen often. Basses would be used for villians because that range has such dark tones. Even some baritones, who have a full, round texture that was supple and could go from villian to good guy. Can a bass and low baritone sing happy? Sure, listen to Pat Boone, who was on top of the heap, at one time, in rock and roll, no less. Mozart could use a baritone for hero. But then, he always followed a different path, anyway.

    I think, too, the choice of range depends on the intent and mood of the music. James Hetfield is a baritone. And I, for one, could not imagine a bright tenor such as Michael Sweet from Stryper doing songs by Metallica. Metallica music is a juxtaposition of moods and textures. You need the dark, angry strength of Hetfield’s baritone, which is counterbalanced by the delicate fingerings of Kirk Hammett. Rounded out by the melodic and programmatic drumming of Lars Ulrich. And, by the way, Metallica is one of the most popular hard rock heavy metal bands of all time, period, paragraph, and new book. Led by a baritone.

    As the baby boom ages and approaches retirement, does this signify the end of bombastic rock music and high range tenors? One could argue that, as much of popular music since the 50’s owes it’s survival to the buying habits of the baby boom generation. See how their progeny have gravited toward rap and trilling songstresses in R & B. Or post-industrial synth-pop, which is more instrumental and less vocal heavy. And along comes Marilyn Manson, who doesn’t really sing but growls and whispers. Much of his performance is actually visual and philosphical. I don’t know if it’s art but some like it. But then, I am old school. Shock rock has it’s place and no one has done it better than Alice Cooper, another baritone with a strong feel for vaudeville. Who could actually sing.

    Many times, a number of people have pronounced that rock was dead. And it survived. Is tenor married to the sound of rock? Not any more than other ranges. Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots is a baritone. He can go as high as possibly mid tenor but it is a reach for him. He saves it for dramatic accent. But that is, among other things, why he was a mismatch for Velvet Revolver. VR included alumni from Guns and Roses. Slash, Duff McKagan, and drummer Matt Sorum. Instrumentally, they had re-created their melodic blues vibe quite well. And ruined it, I think, by hiring Weiland. Their kind of music really needed a full tenor.

    Do people, in general, prefer tenor over baritone or the other way around? I’m not so sure. Some of the most popular singers couldn’t hit D5 if their life depended on it.

    Then, again, I see people who are knocking themselves out because they think their favorite singer is singing tenor with a baritone quality.Notice I said “thnk.” And no amount of education and examples can convince them otherwise. Man, I thought I could be stubborn but there’s people who have me beat.

    So, its’ sometimes hard to guess what our fellow man or woman is going to like, or do, or believe.

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