The Still Relevant Rock Music of a Decade Ago
By Robert LaRosa
We all get that feeling of accidentally discovering something from our childhood that we totally forgot about. It blasts us with the memory of the sounds, sights, tastes, fears, love, regrets and touch. It takes you back to a place where you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing.
Music has had that effect on me lately but it has taken a little bit of a different twist. Music that was popular ten years ago, while I was growing up, has become fossilized while dance and dub-step control the airwaves.
I’m not taking anything from that genre, in fact, I enjoy that music as well.
I can’t speak for everybody when it comes to music taste but for me the three bands that have changed my view on them are Blink-182, Green Day, and Sum 41.
Many would say that these bands are past their prime, which might be true based on radio play and chart positions but these bands are so much more relevant to our lives now than they were ten years ago.
Granted, these bands have been around for easily over twenty years but their music and its meaning hits home to anybody willing to listen.
Not many bands can have a career defining album twice and Green Day accomplished that with American Idiot. During a first hearing, the song “American Idiot” sounds like a simple punk song that makes you want to mosh around and feel rebellious.
Ten years later, I finally sat down and listened to the entire album and the message literally punched me straight in the face.
“American Idiot” is all about standing up for what you believe in even if you share the less popular opinion. During a time where America was going to war with Iraq and living in the post 9/11 world, it seemed ludicrous to disagree with anything our government was about to do.
Green Day did disagree with the involvement in Iraq and were very open to expressing their constitutional right of freedom of speech.
With an album opening chanting “Don’t wanna be an American Idiot” it definitely grabbed the nation’s attention and while many were quick to label them anti-American, what they were doing was probably the most American thing that they could do.
An even more political song on the album is “Holiday” and they go as far associating George W. Bush with Hitler, “Seig hail to the president Gasman.”
This album screams to its listeners that they need to stand up and take action if they don’t like what is happening around them, even if you share the least popular opinion, your voice still needs to be heard.
Another band from the same time has just the same effect on their listeners, but their topics in song differ drastically from Green Day.
That band is Blink-182 and they are considered to be one of the most influential punk bands in the early 2000s. Blink-182, for much of their early career, wrote catchy and upbeat songs about hanging out, drinking, causing mayhem and girls rejecting you.
It wasn’t until later into their career did their lyrics become a little more serious as the band matured.
Most of Blink’s songs all revolve around growing up in broken homes, staying out with friends, acting immature and getting rejected by a love interest. Everybody has been in at least one of those positions in their lives.
As a kid growing up I heard hits like “All the Small Things” and “What’s My Age Again” but never got into Blink until late in my senior year of high school and boy did I relate to everything they sang about.
Songs like “Dammit” showcase the breakup of a relationship and the awkward aftermath in a time where you need friends and accept that this is life, “It’ll happen once again/you’ll turn to a friend/someone who understands/sees through the master plan.”
Another song like “Feeling This” flips between two sets of extremes in the case of raw, hot and lustful sex “Show me the way to bed/show me the way you move”, then jumps to a more passionate and sensual chorus with “Fate fell short this time/your smile fades in the summer/Place your hand in mine I’ll leave when I wanna.”
That’s the beauty of Blink-182 because their songs can go from immature and hilarious to depressing and beautiful poetic imagery.
All their songs showcase something we as young adults have already or soon will go through in our lives. Now, as our generation gets older we can fully experience what these songs were telling us ten years ago.
Sum 41 is the most unique band of these three because their style of music changes throughout each album but each song, regardless of topic, can make you relate. Their biggest hit “Fat Lip” deals with growing up in a typical suburb town and wanting to become more in life than what society expects Generation X to become. “I don’t wanna waste my time, become another casualty of society.”
“In Too Deep” deals with being in a troubled relationship and wondering when it’s time to call it quits. Anybody who’s been through a break-up can relate to the feeling of wondering when it’s time to end it for your own sanity. “Seems like each time I’m with you I lose my mind because I’m bending over backwards to relate.”
“So Long Goodbye” represents a song of accepting that someone you love is no longer in your life and dealing with your loss respectively.
We have all lost someone dear to us from disagreements, death or growing apart but in the end we just have to accept the fact that this person is no longer with us. “Just look up to the stars and believe who you are cause it’s quite alright and so long goodbye.”
These bands and their songs might have a date on them or might be considered old because they aren’t in fashion now but all these bands have a message and that message is still being heard in 2015.
After ten or so more years after these songs have been recorded, the generation that grew up listening to them and can finally sit down, understand and relate to what our childhood was trying to tell us. “Well I guess this is growing up.”