Rock ‘n’ roll is having a tough time on the pop charts these days. There have been only a few rock-oriented acts that have been performing consistently well on the Hot 100 recently, mostly Fun. and the inexplicably popular Imagine Dragons. Rock’s not even doing that great on rock radio, with alternative stations leaning heavy on the Ye Olde Timey sounds of folksters like the Lumineers and (thanks to some racially suspect decision making on the part of radio programmers) Macklemore’s Atmosphere-lite rap. Depending on your definition of the genre there are maybe a dozen or so rock songs on the Hot 100 at any given time, and probably few of them would appeal to the declining population of listeners holding it down for capital-R Rock Music—the only real guitar-based, fist-pumping anthem charting right now is Fall Out Boy’s “The Phoenix,” and even hard-rock power ballads, formerly an easy way for a band to find a pop audience, aren’t working the way they used to.
But the big, broad, dumb rock anthem isn’t quite extinct yet. Recently it’s even seen a little bit of a comeback thanks to some help from an unlikely savior: dubstep.