Saying that the countries involved in the Second World War went through difficult times in the end is putting it lightly. Economic crises, territorial rearrangements, and tragic loss of life were the daily bread of the survivors that were trying to make sense of a world that had been dragged to the brink of destruction.
Artistic disciplines found ways to convey the chaos of these decades, and so, new trends, ideologies, and currents emerged. Liberal thinking represented the growing working class, women fought for universal suffrage, and the African-American community sought equal human conditions.
Music became a tool to express all these new social movements. The cultural openness of new generations encouraged and inspired new musical manifestations that would end up changing the world. Rock was born under this revolutionary context. Its origins can be traced back to Soul, Blues, R&B, and Country, but later on, musicians incorporated jazz and funk into this equation. Rock and Roll's success soon expanded to the US, where bands incorporated folkloric sounds, creating new sub-genres.
Having exhausted all its resources and trends, by the late eighties Rock experienced a huge crisis. It was then when Krautrock appeared to captivate the American and European audiences. In a time when technology dominated almost every sphere of life, Classic Rock was forced to implement these new tools to survive. From this radical merging, two genres were born: Alternative Rock,which originated in England under the premises of punk, and German Post-Rock, inspired by the industrial vibes of Krautrock that would later on become electronic music.
Both Alternative Rock and Post-Rock have significantly impacted the underground rock scene. Even when they share the same genetic load, there’s still a mystery no one has been able to solve: which of these two hold the essence of Rock and Roll?
In our attempt to figure this out, we present 6 representative bands from these genres, so you can judge for yourself which of these sounds are the rightful heir of the genre that once shook the world.
Talk Talk – “Eden” (1988)
This was the most influential band of this current genre. Their first album is influenced by the ambient genre, but still, they never abandoned the usage of analog instruments.
Ozric Tentacles – “Fast Dots” (1984)
Ozric Tentacles is one of the few bands that has managed to survive without being corralled by a record company. They’re one of the precursors of music genres like Trance and bands like Highlight Tribe and Infected Mushroom.
Seefeel – "Polyfusion" (1993)
This band has constantly tried to maintain the core of Classic Rock and its repetitive structures and psychedelic volatility have turned them into one of the most important Post-Rock bands.
The Cure – “Boys Don’t Cry” (1984)
In this era where technology has become the preferred tool for thousands of musicians, it’s hard to find contemporary bands that stick to the basic structure of Rock music. For many, this band led by Robert Smith has opened the gates to a new musical world far from Rock and Hard Rock.
Pearl Jam – “Porch” (1991)
From all the subgenres that emerged from Alternative Rock, Grunge was the only one that managed to recapture the essence of Rock through wild performances and classic structures. With their album Ten, Pearl Jam managed to share their sound with the world.
Audioslave – “Like a Stone” (2002)
One of the greatest bands of the twenty-first century emerged from the fusion of Hard Rock, Hip-Hop, and Grunge. With Chris Cornell (Sound Garden) as the lead voice and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) on the guitar, Audioslave is the outcome of a mixture of many Alternative Rock subgenres.
Understanding Rock is acknowledging that huge sociocultural path the contemporary world has taken. Great bands, musicians, and songs are the lifeblood of this genre that continues to shake the core of countless audiences and generations.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards