In many ways, blues music is alive and well. It may not be the most mainstream genre around, but everyone is well aware of it. While the general stereotypes about what exactly constitute blues music will always be there, the traditional aspects of the songs that first formed the style are all still in effect in much of the popular music of today. The blues genre has gone on to shape several different styles that have been prominent over the last few decades, and its lineage shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Of course, the stereotype about blues music is that its lyrical subject matter is generally of a sullen and depressed nature. The traditional songs in the genre generally used each song as a platform to tell their own tale, and the end result was often a harrowing and honest look into some truly difficult lifestyles. That stark, personal reflection is alive and well even in the most popular music of the day. In fact, having lyrics that people can relate to is almost a prerequisite to having a hit.
A catchy melody and beat go a long way, but words people can see themselves in will always go even further towards creating a lasting connection. Many people’s favorite music is something that seems to reflect a personal struggle they might be going through. Just as with traditional blues, any gigantic hit these days with confessional and bravely revealing lyrics gives a voice to the unheard and can be deeply cathartic. Any means of realizing that you aren’t alone in whatever you’re going through is always going to be easily clung to. It may not seem immediately obvious, but any modern song that manages to connect to someone on that level owes a lot to the blues.
Of course, modern pop and rock song structure also stems from the blues in many ways. The way that verses and choruses are broken up largely in fours comes right from the earliest blues traditions. The note choices and scales that comprised early rock music also stem from the blues, and that same framework is still being used as the foundation for endless new songs today. A band like Royal Blood may sound fresh and modern, but whether directly or indirectly, everything they due is based on the blues at its core. That’s true of more music than you can possibly realize. Long story short: the modern state of all music owes a lot to the blues.