I read that quote somewhere. If you know who said that originally, will you let me know?
Rock n roll is a particular kind of music. It demands energy, commitment and intensity. It is a generalization, of course, but a genre isn’t a genre unless there are distinct, defining characteristics. In contrast to folk music, for example, rock n roll tends to have higher energy and intensity. That’s because rock tends to be louder and more dramatic. In contrast to classical music, rock n roll has a greasy and gnarly quality to it. The timbre of distorted electric guitars, a hallmark of rock n roll, is responsible for that impression.
While human emotions have a vast range, rock n roll hit the proverbial chord when it evolved out of blues and country, because it expressed some sentiments better than other kinds of music that existed before. The world started moving faster. There were more information. Conflicts between nations and ethnic groups reached a different kind of grandiosity. We started living longer but also started feeling the gap between staying alive and actually living.
All these growth pains of humanity necessitated that a new musical genre be born. One better suited to express more extreme, intense emotions. Rock n roll doesn’t do things half way. If it’s fun, rock n roll makes it the time of your life. If it’s angst, rock n roll can express the direst of existential crises.
The title quote of this post resonates with me, not because I actually believe that the world is insane, but we perceive that way. We perceive our lives and the world through the tinted, distorted lenses of emotional baggage that can make us interpret things in negative, paranoid ways. We came into the world weighed down by generations and generations of unresolved strife and pain, because thus far humanity has been so focused on its survival that it limited its potential. While we are succeeding on the survival of our bodies, we are yet to learn how to systematically process our stuck emotions, so we can truly be free and whole.
Rock n roll isn’t the key to unlock the secrets to life, but if you are amenable to it, it can help you tap into emotions that are hard to channel elsewhere. I’m mostly talking about emotions that are uncomfortable to tap into in day-to-day life, like sorrow and rage, but that’s not all. The grind of modern life can numb us from more pleasant emotions like joy.
For example, when I listen to Shinedown’s “Adrenaline” I feel the exhilaration, an unabashed, intense euphoria that comes from daring to live true to yourself. I don’t experience this feeling often because I’m still stuck in the safety of conventions and isolation. Why do I deny myself the experience of pure, unadulterated time of my life? I have a playlist called “Inspiring” with songs like these so I can wake up my joy muscle and flex it, so I can feel it more often and easily.
But I also look out and I see a vast sea of desperation in our humanity. As an empath I feel vividly what other people feel. Because we haven’t learned how to process our emotional backlog, each generation is born under heavier and heavier weight of generational backlog. We are literally carrying all the unresolved experiences that stretch the entire existence of humanity. I have not lost hope for humanity — rather, I’m pretty optimistic — but that is a completely separate thing from my tendency to perceive, and make my own, other people’s baggages. So I turn to rock n roll to channel this, as we do in this Minnasia song “Bleeding Redwood.”
So yes, rock n roll is a sane reaction to an insane world. A world we perceive as chaotic and unsettling because we are carrying a long backlog of strife and turmoil. Rock n roll is a great way to transform that into a transcendent and ultimately uplifting experience. I believe in rock n roll.