2017 was another great year for rock with the return of some old favourites, and some new ones, whilst the genre showed it certainly is not dead with bands that helped reignite the fire.
Rock itself conveys many different images to the average music fan, but the list I’ve compiled certainly doesn’t ascertain that particular myth. These are solely a collection of songs this writer felt gives a variety and balance for the listener to check out themselves. This list includes a few recognisable names as well as those who we hope to see more in 2018. Let the countdown begin:
5. Imagine Dragons – ‘Believer’
Imagine Dragons released this track in March via Interscope Records. ‘Believer’ was the Leading single off the band’s third album. The video features frontman Dan Reynolds in a boxing match with Actor Dolph Lundgren. The song reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Billboard Hot Rock Songs, Alternative Songs and Adult Pop Songs charts.
‘Believer’ is the usual pop rock fans love to expect from the band with the steady rhythm of drumbeats pounding in rhythm with the echoes of clapping. The song’s catchy hook and melodic chorus strike the listener with Reynold’s lyrical defiance. It is easy to see why this was such a hit.
4. Foo Fighters – ‘Run’
Dave Grohl returned with his 9th studio release ‘Concrete and Gold’, which was released in June following a stunning headline performance at Glastonbury. ‘Run’ was the critically acclaimed first single topping the Billboard US Mainstream Rock Songs chart and receiving two Grammy Award nominations ‘Best Rock Song’ and ‘Best Rock Performance’, for the 2018 Grammy awards.
The music video features the band as older versions of themselves before inciting a riot in a residential home in a style that Foo fans might recognise. The song belies many different rock stylings that stray from the band’s usual radio-friendly overtones. ‘Run’ begins with a 40 second soft, harmonic intro before bursting into up-tempo, aggressive hard rock with distorted guitar, thunderous drums and alternate melodic vocals and screams from Grohl that is reminiscent of the band’s earlier material.
3. Greta Van Fleet – ‘Highway Tune‘
Greta Van Fleet came onto the scene this year under much anticipation. The young four-piece from Michigan was formed by the Kiszka Brothers: Jake, Sam and Josh. The band have had strong comparisons with Led Zeppelin and this song is no exception. ‘Highway Tune’ comes from the band’s debut EP Black Smoke Rising, that emerged in April. The song reached the top of the Billboard Rock Mainstream charts by breaking many records, including the fastest first single to reach the top of that chart since ‘Ghost’, with a promise of a full-length release next year. ‘Highway Tune’ has all the proponents of a traditional Led Zeppelin track which starts with a slick Bluesy stomp that explodes with the soulful wails of Josh’s vocals and a hazy guitar solo towards the end. Be sure to keep an eye out for these guys in the coming years.
2. Royal Thunder – ‘Sinking Chair’
The Atlanta four-piece released this track off their third studio release ‘Wick’, which was released via Spinefarm records in April. ‘Sinking Chair’ is a dark and hypnotic 70’s – style hard rock track which opens with the impassioned screams of lead vocalist Mlney Parsonz extending over a tight boogie rhythm which culminates in a thunderous breakdown that reflects the true emotion of the song’s message. Parsonz explains, “This song is about feeling stuck in a sinking chair. You can sit there and allow yourself to be consumed by negative or paralysing thoughts – and they will do just that, consume you. You have to get up and ‘break the hand that covers your mouth.’”
Stonesour – ‘Fabuless’
Corey Taylor returned this year with Hydrograd, The band’s sixth studio release by Roadrunner Records in April. The album reached #8 on the US Billboard 200 and won ‘Hard Rock Album’ of the year at the Loudwire Music Awards.
‘Fabuless’ is a typical high-tempo aggressive affair with fuzzy electric guitar and high energy bravado and plenty of fist-pumping gusto from the band with references to the Rolling Stones in the chorus. Fabuless takes a swipe at social media celebrities. As Taylor bemoans, “Are these people who are famous for nothing. I thought it wouldn’t get any worse than reality television people, and then the social media celebrities came … There were whole Vine tours at one point and thousands of screaming girls, and I’m going, ‘What the hell is this?” This was certainly a rollback to old-fashioned heavy metal that has long been expected by the enigmatic frontman.