Quickly Dissecting the Genre
70’s Rock takes those who were around to indulge in it back to a very special time. Though it’s an indicator of getting old to constantly compare the modern ‘bad’ music with the classic ‘good’ music, its easy to see that the sounds of popular music have clearly altered dramatically. Though many bands still have a sound that imitates much of the music that was concocted in the ‘70s, most of today’s artists and indeed modern rock doesn’t quite have the same vibe. But what exactly was it about ‘70s rock that made it so different?
This is something that unless you really pry apart the elements you may not know, in fact if you aren’t really a guitar person you probably won’t really understand what distortion is. Essentially adding a slightly more aggressive sound to the guitars gives them some extra punch and can take them from sounding like strumming harps to powerful spotlight musical tools. The ‘70s musicians only tended to add a touch of this stuff, mainly through the use of effects pedals, when compared to modern day metal it is an entirely different situation.
If you pick a genre today say for example pop-punk, there may already be a young, nasally, slightly sarcastic sounding frontman in your brain singing along before you even hear the track. It stands to reason that some genres require certain vocalists, pop usually a female with lots of range, black metal a male with a growling throat. In ‘70s rock many of the biggest bands stood out because their vocalists sounded so unusual. From the high-pitched capabilities of Steven Tyler to the wailing tones of Ozzy Osbourne, iconic vocalists shone in this era.
Thanks to a new wave of mind-blowing guitarists entering the popular circuit, the blistering finger work and spellbinding effects of psychedelic rock influenced the big names. What this caused is a knock on effect of guitarists really showing off their skills. Whether the guitar licks are part of the main melody or given the spotlight in a two-minute-long solo, the healthy competition here bred a new calibre of axe man. These guitar sounds were very popular in the ‘70s but as rock took a back seat to electro-pop people wanted more synth niceties and less grand guitar-led sounds. Today acoustic guitar seems to have a corner on chart hits, while the guitar solo is reserved for more dedicated rock tracks.
Not only were the lyrics of ‘70s rock fairly catchy in the fact they were often simple and easily remembered (Just like any successful pop song), but their actual subject matter reflected the feel of the era. As the hippie madness of the ‘60s spilled into the era as well as the continued celebration of the ‘rock star’ going to levels never previously seen, many lyricists displayed their lifestyle in song. Hundreds of tracks perpetuate thee ‘sex, drugs and rock n roll’ that people aspired to as well as vocalising their addictions. Though this may seem crass or negatively influential, it cemented the cultural ideas of the time and humanised many of these superstars in ways that modern celebrity culture could learn from.