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Corporate rock

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Corporate rock

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Corporate rock is a term used primarily by critics to describe rock music which they feel to be derivative, redundant, and lacking in creativity. According to these critics, the primary goal of the corporate rock artist or band in making music is profit rather than artistic creativity. As a result, corporate rock is typified by catchy, mainstream radio-friendly, formulaic songs following a pop music model. The term was first used in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Despite the negative opinions of critics, many corporate rock bands attained a high degree of commercial success, and some still have loyal followings today.


Origins of Corporate Rock

Corporate rock is somewhat unique among musical genres in that it is a term used almost exclusively by critics and musical purists. It is used primarily in a condescending and dismissive way by those who feel that corporate rock has little to add to music. The exact origins of the term are uncertain, but by the early 1980s, it was being applied with frequency to bands such as Journey, Foreigner, Styx, and Boston. Although the term has faded from common usage, some people use it to describe contemporary bands who they feel live up to its definition.

Corporate Rock Bands

As no rock groups identify their music as being "corporate rock," it is obviously difficult to definitively label bands as being a part of this genre. However, one can quite easily list some of the bands which have been vilified by critics (fairly or unfairly) as exemplifying the worst of this genre.

  • As mentioned above, Styx is often given as a prime example of corporate rock. Fans of the band argue that Styx was musically innovative in bringing an operatic style to rock music; critics charge that their melodic hooks and over-the-top style were uncreative and derivative.
  • Journey has often been labelled as corporate rock, especially after their 1981 nine-times platinum album Escape and its three Top 10 singles. The album was obviously a hit with the public, but critics derided the aggressive, repetitive "power ballads".
  • Bon Jovi has also been labelled as corporate rock, for many of the same reasons as Journey. Critics disliked what they felt were trite, empty power ballads with little to say.

Groups or artists which have been labelled "corporate rock" include:

Bon Jovi
Bryan Adams
Def Leppard
Eddie Money
Night Ranger
Peter Frampton
REO Speedwagon

Contemporary Corporate Rock

Although use of the term "corporate rock" as a criticism declined through the 1990s, it is applied to a few contemporary bands such as Nickelback, Creed and 3 Doors Down. Many critics believe that entire genres such as Post-Grunge and Nu-Metal were created by corporate executives. The same criticisms as before apply: the music is derivative, radio-friendly, and profit-motivated. Critics are constantly frustrated that these bands, despite their perceived lack of originality, continue to be successful. The criticism has also been applied to some hard rock bands such as Puddle of Mudd, Staind, and Limp Bizkit.


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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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