Affirmation Rock

5 Oct

You want a catchy tune to rock out to. But you’re tired of writing about love – which is a problem, because that’s the subject of 75% of modern songs. So what subject do you write your lyrics to?

“Affirmation rock” is a term coined by comedian Adam Carolla, but rather rehash his rant on this subject, I’ve realized there’s actually several sub-genres of music subjects that fall under the “not love” category.

1 – Affirmation Rock

This term is used to indicate the music that is specifically designed to appeal to pre-teens who haven’t hit puberty, so talkin’ about love ain’t gonna fly. “I’m gonna rock hard / I’m gonna jump straight / nothin’ standing in my way!” Rhianna’s “Diamonds in the Sky” is the perfect example of this. “You’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky.” There might be more lyrics than this, but that’s really the whole song repeated ad infinitem.

2 – Nonsense Rock

I actually rather like this one. System of a Down does this for almost ALL their songs. For example, I love their song “Chop Suey,” which has the advantage of being one of those songs where the title has nothing to do with the song. But I rock out hard to the chorus:

Trust in my self-righteous suicide /
I cry when angels deserve to die.

It makes no freaking sense! Or the similar beginning to their other popular song, “Song 2:”

I got my head shaved by a jumbo jet /
It wasn’t easy / but nothing is. No.

3 – Liquor Rock

This is the subgenre usually used by country artists. Liquor, and especially beer, plays a big role in this type of music. As the old joke goes, “Alcohol – the cause of and the solution to all life’s problems.” For example, the classic Garth Brooks song is:

Well, I got friends in low places
Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away
And I’ll be okay
Oh, I’m not big on social graces,
Better slip on down to the Oasis.
Oh, I’ve got friends in low places!

4 – God Rock

Now this is a bit of fudge because you can often use the same lyrics to a love song and make it about God. However, there is plenty of Contemporary Christian Rock (CCR) about moral issues that has nothing to do with love. And praise is a close cousin to love, but not in the same nuclear family. I say “god rock” rather than “Christian rock,” because other religions are doin’ it for their peeps as well. There are two great acapella bands in New York called the Maccabeats and 613 which do exclusively Jewish holiday songs, usually parodies of other popular songs. For example, check out this Hamilton parody set to Hanukkah:

5 – Depression Rock

Usually this is the domain of Country and Blues music, but it bleeds into other genres. I know Nickelback gets a lot of shade, but I love the song “Someday:”

Someday, somehow, gonna make all right but not right now
I know you’re wondering when.

SIDEBAR: I also like this because the first time heard it was in a strip club. I don’t even like strip clubs. Sure, I like naked women, but look not touch has limited appeal in a 24/7 porn available world. But what appealed to me was not the stripping, it was A) an unusual song to strip to and B) after the stripping, the woman carefully clutching her clothes and money to her chest, looking very vulnerable… that was FAR more sexy.

What sub-genres did I miss? Should I left out the story about Nickelback? Let me know in the comments section below!

One Response to “Affirmation Rock”

  1. SirNolen October 5, 2020 at 8:39 pm #

    Well, there’s also “Party Rock”, which is about dancing and… well, partying. LMFAO is a good example – hell, they even had a hit song called “Party Rock Anthem”!

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