Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Fall of the Rock Gods


As far as the actual rock scene that was going on in the eighties, it generally centered around big ego-based hair bands. That's why it was so refreshing every now and then when a band actually had something meaningful to say. Whitesnake had one of the more meaningful songs about living an independent life with "Here I Go Again." Van Halen actually made a big impact with their song "Right Now," which was a pretty conscious song about the world around us for a wild party band that usually sung about beautiful girls. Aerosmith had fun with cross-dressing on "Dude Looks Like A Lady." The Def Leppard songs "Hysteria" and "Love Bites" had a more somber tone than usual and dealt with relationships on a more realistic level than the typical cookie-cutter macho fantasy themes they were known for.

Guns N' Roses also splashed on the scene with a more raw and honest sound than the staged rehash of most hairbands. The songs "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Paradise City" became loud anthems for the disenfranchised rebellious youth at a time when rock was losing its rebellious nature in favor of a more restrained, learned, clinically-homogenized approach. Their song "Patience" also struck a strong chord with youth, who had always been pressured by the media to just "go for it" and get sex anyway you can instead of trying to build a relationship first. Another more conceptual band in the camp of rock megastars was Metallica, who sang a chilling song called "One" about the mindset of a critically wounded soldier. Even so, the messages crafted for rock culture were narrowing.

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